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House inside a greenhouse??

 
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I am looking to downsize and dump my mortgage payments.  I should be able to pull enough cash out of the sale of my house to purchase a small piece of land and place a mobile on it.  I want to place a large greenhouse over the trailer to extend my growing season and create a micro climate to help reduce very high heating bills. What I was wondering is does anyone have experience with this?  I know it’s been done in Sweden, Norway and the arctic but don’t see much in reference to Canada.  I have been growing fruit trees and Veggies and such on my small lot for the last 5 or so years.  But I live in a climate that experiences fairly long winters and I would love to expand my living space into a greenhouse where it’s protected from rain and snow year round
 
pollinator
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I have no idea why more people don't do it.

You have to watch for CO and humidity buildup.  
 
pollinator
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Hi Sue. Welcome to Permies!

When you say "mobile" and "trailer" can you specify what you mean? It makes a big difference.

I love the idea of tucking a trailer on wheels inside a greenhouse because of the milder, windbreak-protected envelope in winter. However, ventilation and CO/CO2 come into it, and possibly fire safety as well. A greenhouse will be a very hot place in summer (that's the idea, right?). Not great as sleeping quarters.

I would also start asking questions of the municipalities you are looking at. Out this way, some are being impossible about allowing permanent structures without a house. I think it boils down to a revenue thing -- a house on an acreage is heavily taxed, vs. outbuildings that are not. So watch your back on that.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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R Scott makes a good point about humidity. In winter, this will form sheets of frost on the greenhouse interior. Frost is sort of insulation, but if it builds up and starts crashing down in sheets of ice it could be dangerous or damaging.
 
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It also depends on what type of greenhouse.  A hoop will act differently from a more substantial greenhouse.  The temperature swings in a greenhouse can be pretty severe and the summer could be a challenge.
 
Sue Cooper
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R Scott wrote:I have no idea why more people don't do it.

You have to watch for CO and humidity buildup.  


That makes sense. I would want a greenhouse with vents. Funny, CO2 never even occurred to me! I was thinking of vents that open and a dehumidifier for moisture control and air circulation. Thanks for the tip!
 
Sue Cooper
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Hi Sue. Welcome to Permies!

When you say "mobile" and "trailer" can you specify what you mean? It makes a big difference.

I love the idea of tucking a trailer on wheels inside a greenhouse because of the milder, windbreak-protected envelope in winter. However, ventilation and CO/CO2 come into it, and possibly fire safety as well. A greenhouse will be a very hot place in summer (that's the idea, right?). Not great as sleeping quarters.

I would also start asking questions of the municipalities you are looking at. Out this way, some are being impossible about allowing permanent structures without a house. I think it boils down to a revenue thing -- a house on an acreage is heavily taxed, vs. outbuildings that are not. So watch your back on that.



I was thinking a mobile. A permanent structure. But you make a compelling argument for a trailer.  You are definitely right about the taxes!! I hadn’t even considered. As you can probably tell, I’m very early in the process and I am aware that municipality may not approve the design...the area I was considering is rural and sort a mixed bag in terms of architecture. There are some shacks, some average houses and some higher end custom builds.
 
Sue Cooper
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Mike Haasl wrote:It also depends on what type of greenhouse.  A hoop will act differently from a more substantial greenhouse.  The temperature swings in a greenhouse can be pretty severe and the summer could be a challenge.



I’d be looking at something more substantial than a hoop house.  I’m hoping with ventilation and good design, I can eliminate some of the potential issues before they arise.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Even though I like the idea, I suspect it will be quite a process to get a municipality to approve a permanent mobile home inside a greenhouse. To meet code, all the roof venting and chimneys are designed to be in open air. Exterior gas connections also, if you are going that route. It would not be hard to have a greenhouse fully wrapped around the outside walls of the structure, though: that would be brilliant.

That said, I saw a newspaper article a while ago that saw people do pretty much the same thing. I think it was a Canadian locale, probably Ontario. So there may be a precedent?

In some jursdictions, if your parcel of land is big enough to be considered farmland/agricultural, you may have free rein for basic outbuildings (but not for the permanent residence).
 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jbLZxwWudk here's an interesting video about someone who did something similar with munincipal challenges
 
gardener
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Love this idea.
I wish I could find where I read about a couple who did this,  I believe it was with a 5th wheel and a hoop house.
They had a woodstove in the hoop house,  along with a couch,  rug, and coffee table.

Summer time they rolled up the sides,opened the ends and covered the top with shade cloth.
I'm not sure if it was screened.

Maybe you should separate the  living greenhouse from the  growing greenhouse,  just because of humidity.
Perhaps an inner bubble and an outer one, and grow the food in between.
In the greenhouse I'm building now, there will be a set of  clear curtains a foot from the glass, and cold hardy greens inbetween.

On the other hand,  any home that could survive the humidity of the tropics should be ok in a greenhouse,right?
An air-to-earth geothermal system could cool and dehumidify the greenhouse during the daytime , while storing heat for the night.


 
pollinator
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If you can become mortgage free, and get an acre or two to produce your own nuts, fruits, berries, vegetables, herbs, mushroom, honey, chicken, maybe a pond with fish/milking goat; I recommend doing it.
Even if you will have to pay an extra $500 per year (aka $40/month) due to an increased winter heating bill.

I understand the desire to use the heat twice, once for human comfort and then again to heat the greenhouse, before it ultimately makes it outside.

Lets imagine that you put your 700sqft mobile house inside a 1000sqft to 2000sqft greenhouse, how much will that greenhouse cost you? How much of the greenhouse will still be usable. Could you have used the money that you would have used to build the greenhouse and instead insulate the roof and seal the house?

Maybe you could have the greenhouse on just one wall, as in a lean to greenhouse.

It's also entirely possible that you will build a cheap custom house later and just rent out your mobile home, then using it as a source of income/help during your retirement.
 
pollinator
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Would you consider a large RV garage to park a motorhome or large travel trailer, and build a greenhouse off the south side?  If allowed you could install a septic system so you can dump the RV tank whenever needed.  If you don't have a community water source you may need to consider a well for water.  Depending on local requirements you may be able to build a garage with little or no permits or inspections.  Consider, maybe, something like this or similar.
https://www.alansfactoryoutlet.com/hs-fs/hubfs/rv-metal-garages-cover.jpg?width=800&name=rv-metal-garages-cover.jpg

Start with the RV garage, then make a lean to off the south side.  When you enclose the greenhouse you could plan a patio or picnic area inside to give you a sort of outdoor area area to relax or work on crafts.

They might be able to spray foam insulation inside the metal garage to help control the temperature.  If you can have electric heat you wont need to worry (as much) about CO or CO2.

If you would have access to plenty of firewood you might be able to use a wood boiler to heat the barn and the greenhouse.  You could plumb pipes inside the concrete floor of the garage, and maybe run some under ground or to heat a pond inside the greenhouse.  My brother uses one or hot water and for his central furnace.  They do take a lot of wood, but if you have access to natural gas you can probably get one that uses wood and gas, as needed.

https://centralboiler.com/

 
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