The Green Home in Vrads (Det Grønne Hjem i Vrads)

Det Grønne Hjem
St.Bredlundvej 10, Vrads
8654 Bryrup

Area: 5100 m2
Started: 1992
Land center accreditation: 2017

Experience the natural cycle run through our old house with rainwater in all taps, compost toilet, green waste water management, solar panels, passive greenhouse warming and solar cells, facade planting, mass heater, stone stove, winter fridge, straw-bale annex, chicken yard, vegetable garden for self-sufficiency, vegetable storage, outdoor sleeping mezzanine, which is also used for drying clothes and crops.

See the whole design: Agner og Hannes Permakultur design 26. dec 17

Visit: We offer guided tours for groups of up to 25 people.
Agner Thulesen
Phone: 27641421

Hanne Gustavussen
Phone: 26256764/Fastnet: 64632905


Permaculture design

Hanne Gustavussen and Agner Thulesen 2017
Category: site development


In 1992, we bought an old house, that we have worked on in order to make it a place of permaculture with integration of the natural cycle.  For many years, we have lived with the solutions we have made. In this permaculture design, describe these solutions and our experiences with them.

We live in the village Vrads in between Silkeborg and Nr. Snede on the eastern side of the ridge hærvejshøjderyggen. It has about 200 inhabitants. When we moved there, we were 4 in the family but our 2 children have now moved out. So now we are two: Hanne (1964), trained teacher, and Agner (1954), engineer and oven constructor.


The goal was and is to get the natural cycle to run through our household, so that we can become a positive part of the natural cycle. That means designing sustainable circuits for our lifestyle in such a way that waste and emissions as far as possible are included as a resource in our daily consumption.

A permaculture principle: Observation – Use attentive and thought through observation rather than thoughtless action. Observe the area and its elements in all seasons. Use observations as background for adjustments of your design for the place, the users, the culture and the ecosystem.

Hereunder, follow the implementations in chronological order:

– Purchase of property with around one acre of land. Renovation of main house and installation of new chimney. Establishment of greenhouse on the southern side of the house and reconstruction of existing porch/conservatory. Connection is build between greenhouse and conservatory. Set-up of solar panels. Installation of stone oven. Establishment of herb garden in raised beds.

1993 – Rainwater collection system with rainwater in all taps. Root zone waste water treatment is established. Very big spruce trees are cut down to the North and West. Construction of woodshed. Planting of evergreen ivy to cover the houses. Construction of connecting annex between main house and outhouse. Construction of winter fridge/pantry in the connecting annex. We start a long-lasting practice with guided tours of our green solutions to folk high schools/free academies, associations and so forth. Agner takes certificate in permaculture design at Kolding Højskole (folk high school/free academy).

1994 Establishment of compost toilet.

A permaculture principle: Collect and store energy and materials. Explore the streams of energy and reuse the energy. Here, the nutrients from the compost toilet directly back to the soil and fertilizes the plants and improves the soil quality.

1995 – Installation of mass heater. Construction of chicken/goat house. We get chickens and dairy goats. Establishment of compost system in the chicken yard.

1996 – We make and install new box windows for the main house. Renovation and afterisolation of the attic floor with paper isolation.

1997   Reconstruction of the attic floor in the main house with balcony.

1998 – Establishment of spa with racket heater
in the outhouse.  Isolation of outhouse with sheep wool and straw.

1999 – Establishment of root clamp for storage of root vegetables in outhouse.

2004 – Start on construction of straw-bale house. Construction of new woodshed and carport.

2009 – The straw-bale house is finished. Making of a powerpointshow about our household for our stand on Cop 15.

A permaculture principle: Use biological and renewable resources. Renewable resources are resources that can reproduce themselves. Here, the guiding principle was to see to how big a degree it is possible to build with natural, reusable and recycled materials as locally sourced as possible.

2010 – Afterisolation of attic floor with excelsior isolation and isolation of underground crawl space with recycled flamingo granulat. Establishment of small forest garden.

2011 – Expansion of waste sorting system in the outhouse.

2012 – Extension of outhouse with sleeping mezzanine and drying area for clothes and crops. Installation of solar cells on outhouse.

Permaculture design: let every element have several functions. Choose and place every element so that it can have as many functions as possible.

Area, placement and  light

The property is 5100 m2 big. To the north, is a strip of forest with old, tall beach trees. The land has a slope down to the east with terraced orchard and small forest towards the street. Here, runs a little stream. To the south, is the neighbors’ old vicarage parc with big trees. To the west, we have a windbreak with big trees and a thicket towards the fields. The house and the garden is well-situated in a pocket of sun and shelter from the wind. The western wind goes over the tree tops and house and leaves the area with a lukewarm micro-climate. This is essential as the property is situated in Vrads in Mid-Jutland, just a few kilometers from the coldest areas in Denmark.

The history of the property

The property was plotted from the neighboring farm Damgård in 1924. The same yea r, the house was build. From 1924 to 1965, a family member from Damgård lived here with her husband Niels Madsen. Mainly, they lived from apple production and chicken husbandry. It was also Niels Madsen who established the terraced apple orchard to the east. From 1965 to we took over the place in 1992, a small family of mother and grown son lived here.

The picture above is taken from the east and show the terraced apple orchard in front of the house.


We have divided our property into zones according to permaculture principles.

Zone 0: House and greenhouse

Zone 1: Vegetable beds, outhouse, chicken yard.

Zone 2: Chicken yard with compost. Forest garden, wood stack, straw-bale house.

Zone 3: Apple terrace.

Zone 4: Forest

Circuit- and zone overview

Zone 0: House and greenhouse

Heating of the house and warm water comes from mass heater and mass heater stove. Active sun heating comes from solar panels and makes warm water. Passive sun heating comes from the greenhouse and warms up the entire southern part of the house and the warmth is let in to the living room by the veranda door.

The mass heater’s build-in heath exchanger provides us with warm water and floor heating in the bathroom during winter.

In order to read the rest of Agner and Hanne’s design, download the PDF document.


Welcome to the Permaculture Association of Denmark!