Upcycle House Reduces Carbon Emissions Through Reuse and Passive Design

This project, dubbed Upcycle House, aims to reduce potential carbon emissions through the use of recycled and upcycled materials. The project is essentially a big experiment, which, according to the designer’s analysis, resulted in 86% less carbon emissions when compared to a benchmark house.

Danish architecture firm, Lendager Arkitekter were actively involved throughout the design and construction process. The result is a beautiful home, composed of unusual and striking materials.


Project Details
Architect Lendager Arkitekter
Area 129-square-meters
Photos Jesper Ray, Polfoto
Location Nyborg, Denmark
Budget $240,700
Year 2013

Upcycle House, which was completed back in 2013, can be found in the region of Nyborg, Denmark. It’s set on a single level and covers and area of 1,389-square-feet (129-square-meters). The inventive use of materials and passive design techniques are evident from the outset.

The house is framed by two shipping containers that are sheltered by a roof and wall cladding system made from recycled aluminium cans. Some of the exterior cladding panels are also made from recycled granulated paper.


The use of recycled materials continues on the inside. The kitchen floor has been created with champagne corks, while the bathroom features tiles created from glass. OSB panels, that were a bi-product of other projects, coat other floors and walls. The OSB isn’t going to be to everyone’s liking, but it makes for an interesting contrast in texture and color when set against the white walls.

Aside from the recycled materials, passive design techniques have been implemented in an attempt to reduce the buildings in-use carbon emissions. Lendager Architects accounted for the building’s orientation, local temperature fluctuations, and daylight hours. Given these variables, they were able to produce a shading and ventilation strategy.


From the designers: “The CO2 emission from Upcycle House is 0.7 KG CO2/M2/YR compared to 5.0 KG CO2/M2/YR for a benchmark house. In Denmark 10,000 single family homes are built every year. With a reduction of 4.3 KG CO2/M2/YR and an average floor area well over 130-square-meters this makes for a potential reduction of 5590 tons of CO2 – per year.”

The house contains large spacious L-shaped living room, dining area and kitchen. Four bedrooms flank the main living space, with a bathroom and closet found in the corners. The project budget was approximately 1.7 million DKR, or $240,765.

Photos © Jesper Ray, Polfoto

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