Life in Arctic is a constant battle with extreme weather conditions, but one family managed to beat all the odds and actually has a cozy living in a three-story cob house wrapped in a solar geodesic dome. It is the most self-sustaining property you’d ever want to live in.
The Hjertefølger family has been living on Norway’s Sandhornøya island, where they started their journey into sustainable living, since 2013. The Hertefølgers knew they wanted to live in an eco-home made of only natural materials – cob (a mixture of sand, clay and straw), wood and glass – but also that it had to withstand the harsh weather conditions of the Arctic Circle. Aware of the robust properties of geodesic domes, they contacted Solardome Industries about a bespoke dome to cover their new house. It had to withstand the heavy snowfalls common to Northern Norway, maintain a uniform temperature throughout the year, reduce ultraviolet radiation, minimise maintenance and act as a greenhouse for the family’s organic vegetable and fruit garden.
Now the dome is put around the five-bedroom, two-bathroom home gave the six-person family protection from strong winds and heavy snow loads, as well as cutting down on heating costs. The dome also covers the garden, where family grows apples, cherries, plums, apricots, kiwis, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, squash, and melons managing to grow it in the area that is without sunlight for three months a year.
And the spectacular views of nature and the Northern Lights certainly provide unique entertainment for the family on cold winter nights. “We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house,” Ingrid Hjertefølger told . “The process changed us, shaped us.”
Hertefølger – Norwegian for “heart followers” – wasn’t always their family name, but they changed it few years ago to reflect their life philosophy. “We built what we wanted to build,” Ingrid said in a recently released documentary aptly named “the heart followers”.“We have only listened to ourselves and what we wanted to do, we went all in.”
Images© Hjertefølger family