Self-Sufficient House / Pieter Brink

  • 18 Jun 2013
  • Houses Selected Works
Courtesy of

Architects: Pieter Brink
Location: Het Holtien, Dwingeloo, Nederland
Area: 250.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Pieter Brink

Courtesy of Pieter Brink

In the landscape of Holtien, near Dwingeloo in Drenthe, a self-sufficient house has been built on the banks of a former sand quarry. At least it is almost self-sufficient – it is intended that in the (near) future the house will exist completely off-grid with no connection to any pipe or cable network. Currently there is a temporary electricity connection in place, however it is anticipated that a good way to store the electricity will be adopted in the future. Once a sustainable solution to this problem is worked out, the house will be disconnected from the main power grid. The rest of the house has no connection to any outside system. It has its own private water plant. The wastewater is cleaned in a constructed wetland and then transported to the fishpond.

Courtesy of Pieter Brink

The application of sustainable technologies allows for the house to be very energy efficient. In addition, both the inside and outside are finished with many (unusual) recycled materials, highlighting how through re-use they can be of high value. A relatively small amount of new materials are used and therefore the house has a very small carbon footprint.

Courtesy of Pieter Brink

The house is heated with the help of 6 solar collectors, a heat pump (for cold and heat storage 150 meters underground) and a high-efficiency wood-burning fireplace that provides 1000 liters of water heating and comfort in the colder months of the year. 32 solar panels provide electricity for the house and an induction cooker is used in the kitchen. To save electricity in the winter months, there is also a high-efficiency wood-burning stove in the kitchen.

Courtesy of Pieter Brink

The timber frame wall is 35cm thick and completely insulated. The roof construction is up to 40cm thick and is also fully insulated. The façade consists of re-used concrete tiles and the frames are finished on the outside with re-used wood sawn from scaffolding that was removed from the fish pond in front of the house. For the paving, re-used synthetic stone panels have been placed.

Courtesy of Pieter Brink

The interior also consists of recycled materials. The kitchen unit is clad with used traffic signs and the bathroom walls are partly clad with the material from a truck curtainsider. The wooden 1st floor and stairs are also made of recycled timber panels.

First Floor Plan
Cite: "Self-Sufficient House / Pieter Brink" 18 Jun 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 31 Aug 2014. <>

1 comment

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    Inspiring and a great example of what is possible if you are creative with design

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