The eco-friendly family house that can be built in six days and costs £350,000

The innovative Trivselhus house can be built within a few days, significantly reducing building costs. Plus, it exceeds regulations for insulation, water and energy-saving/carbon emissions, saving on bills.

A full-size, low-cost, five-star, eco-friendly family home that can be built in six days from a Scandinavian kit and costing £350,000 — without the land — is the focal point of this year’s Ideal Home Show in Olympia, opening on Friday (March 20) and running until April 6.
The tongue-twisting Swedish-built Trivselhus — which, roughly translated, means “house of wellbeing” can be seen under the Victorian vaulted glass roof of the halls in West Kensington, where the exhibition has been moved to this year.




The detached four-bedroom house has sleek, modernist good looks with large windows, but the key to the structure’s eco-status is its white façade, or “climate shield”. Essentially, the house is contained in an envelope of insulation built into its walls.
In the Swedish factory, a hefty 240mm of mineral wool insulation is built into the panels of the house, which are made and coded so that they bolt together on site with no gaps.
Doors and triple-glazed argon-filled windows are pre-fitted, so there are no draughts. Also fitted in the factory are the service conduits for electricity and plumbing, so no holes are made in walls or floors on site.


The house shell can be built by two strong people with a crane in just a few days. Finishing it off takes longer, but it still takes a lot less time than a conventional build, which reduces its cost.
The home at Olympia is dubbed The Future-Proof House, meaning it exceeds current regulations for insulation, water and energy-saving/carbon emissions.
The UK Green Building Council reports that about two-thirds of harmful emissions in our atmosphere come from our homes. Given that the UK is committed to reducing emissions by half by 2025 and by 80 per cent by 2050, home design is going to be crucial.

Assessing any home’s eco-credentials can be tricky, however. After its recent housing standards review, the Government is getting rid of its Code for Sustainable Homes, which rated properties one to six on a range of nine green criteria.
Minimum standards for energy and water saving are absorbed into new building regulations, but several other requirements — for example those relating to materials and ecology — have been abandoned. Requirements for carbon-cutting technology to be installed in new homes have been trimmed back.
Sleek: the Swedish-built home uses recycled materials for the décor

A mandatory energy performance certificate is still needed for the sale of most homes. This shows the energy efficiency of a home on an A to G rating scale, similar to the ones on refrigerators and other appliances.
The Trivselhus-designed house comes in at 96, the very top of the A rating for both energy efficiency and environmental impact, or CO2 emissions. The house is timber-framed with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a sauna — totalling nearly 2,700sq ft, including a large first-floor balcony.
On top of its superior insulation, there is a solar thermal system that cuts water heating costs by 50 to 60 per cent. Additional energy comes from photovoltaic solar panels and an air source heat pump. Electricity costs for a family of four are estimated at about £200 a year.

“We exceed current building regulations in all respects,” claims John Harris, Trivselhus UK Self Build director. “Housing standards in Sweden are significantly higher than in the UK. Our parent company there plants three trees for every one they use.”
The house has a state-of-the-art German kitchen with energy-saving appliances and exterior decking made from recycled timber and plastic bags. “We are building homes for life,” adds Harris.

The Trivselhus building system is highly flexible, with many styles and energy options. Generally, a Trivselhus house costs about £140 a square foot. The system is ideal for self-build developments.

Trivselhus, which has constructed commercial buildings in the UK for more than 20 years, has built more than 50 UK homes in the past five years. A development of five houses was recently completed in Kent. The house at the show was built in partnership with Trivselhus by Esh, a developer of homes across the north of England.
Two Trivselhus self-build homes are nearing completion in Cornwall and 12 more are coming at Lakeside Water Park in the Cotswolds, with a show home opening this summer.

‘Home is a breath of fresh air’
Dean and Susan Duffy, with son Harvey, 13, and daughter Grace, 15, live in a four-bedroom, 160sq m detached house in a new development of five Trivselhus homes by Cedar Rydal in Meopham, Kent.

Reducing bills: the Duffy family say they love their eco-friendly Trivselhus home in Meopham. Image: Michael Cockerham

They have been there six months, and are enjoying the energy-saving benefits that come with Trivselhus homes. Heating and hot water come from a high-efficiency gas condensing boiler, with a hot water storage cylinder and radiators. The whole house has mechanical ventilation, with heat recovery for good air quality without wasting warmth. The estimated energy cost is £572 a year.
In theory, bills could be reduced by £284 a year by fitting solar water heating, but that could cost about £20,000 to install. Dean says: “We love the fact that the air is always fresh and there’s no condensation or smells, even with our open-plan kitchen, and we have an even temperature throughout the house.”

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