The circular homestead

Most of the energy used in a Swedish home is for heating: 50% heating the house and 25% for warm water. Electricity need not be generated for this task.

Maybe if we start from the idea of the green, circular, sustainable home we can create a new vision for the future?

I hope the diagram stimulates your thoughts! If you’d like the Swedish version it’s here.

Here are the main elements of a circular house:

  1. Insulation: Keeps house cool in summer and warm in winter reducing heating costs, which are 50% (Sweden) of total energy use.
  2. Energy capture: the circular house collects energy from the sun, wind, earth to make it resilient to power outages and part of a smart national grid.
  3. Kitchen garden: The loop food>humanure(toilet waste)>compost> kitchen garden>food reduces the burden on municipal waste services, reduces the overshoot on planetary boundary phosphorus and nitrogen and provides resilience against food shortages. It also has better carbon capture than a lawn. Any kitchen garden is better than none, so get started today!
  4. Compost: see (3) Kitchen Garden. Composting recycles bio-nutrients on the spot.
  5. Grey water: Capturing grey water and recycling it through the garden helps ensure the essential nutrient cycles of P and N do not go into overshoot.
  6. Nutrient capture: The toilet is the place to collect phosphorous and nitrogen. There are various systems that will recycle these nutrients back into the garden, or even to local farmers.
  7. Root cellar: a place to store food that requires no energy at all. Resilient if there is an energy shortage. And you’ll need a place to put all that food you grow in the kitchen garden!
  8. Greenhouse: good to have to prolong the seasons, and grow food not possible otherwise in the climate.
  9. Rainwater capture: rainwater needs no cleaning to be used for watering the garden, washing clothes, showering etc. Recycle water directly!
  10. Long-life products: The longer an object lives, the less material burden on the earth. Repairing and upgrading is a great way to ensure once material is extracted, it stays useful as long as possible.
  11. Neighbours. No circular house is complete without being in a circular neighbourhood. Sharing instead of buying is a great way to reduce material in use.