Our Rating: ⅖ (See: How Leaf Score is calculated)
Made through a collaboration of two companies based in London, UK, Bert’s Boxes are delightful tiny homes that combine a cabin-like feel with contemporary modernist architecture. Whether they’re truly eco-friendly remains to be seen.
If you like the look and feel of a cabin, I recommend the company Allwood Eagle Point. Scoring 5 out of 5 leaves, Allwood specialize in providing basic, eco-friendly prefabricated cabin kits made primarily in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. I specifically like the three-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1108 sq. ft. cabin kit model (View Price on Amazon). Extra wall insulation packages are also available (View Price on Amazon). You can read my full review here.
What makes them green?
Depending on the options you choose, Bert’s Boxes can be made with reclaimed wood flooring and exterior and have a green roof planted with wildflowers. The green roof adds and extra layer of insulation and promotes biodiversity.
Bert’s Boxes are equipped with Crittal windows and doors, double-glazed steel facades, and insulated panels, as well as radiant heating throughout. These can help keep your energy costs down by reducing the need for heating and cooling. You can also add on a basic photovoltaic set-up to cover about 25% of your energy needs, or upgrade to a 3.8 kWp system that will meet around 50% of most similarly-sized homes’ energy needs. In the UK, these systems qualify for government subsidies which could provide a pretty decent return on investment every year.
Many of the fixtures and fittings used in these boxes are reclaimed, including the standard black and white encaustic tiles and handcrafted lead-free brassware.
The main downside of going with this company, if you’re in the U.S. or Canada, is the mileage your new home will have to travel to reach you. You may want to buy closer to home to reduce transport costs and fossil fuel use.
Other potential downsides include the lack of information on insulation materials and other building materials. The company’s focus seems to be mainly on aesthetics, so if you have multiple chemical sensitivity or just care about what goes into making a tiny home where poor indoor air quality can quickly become a health hazard, be sure to press the company for information on everything that goes into the Bert’s Box. I’ve contacted the company with such questions but am yet to get a response.
What else is great about Bert’s Boxes?
The process of buying a Bert’s Box is pretty simple: choose your basic design, pick your personalized options from their curated list of fixtures and fittings, and select any add-ons such as renewable energy products to make your Box even more eco-friendly.
The Boxes are made in the UK and boxes are typically completed within 14 weeks from order. You can usually move into your Box just a few days after it arrives at your site, making this one of the fastest turnarounds for prefabricated design (depending on where you live).
What kind of eco-friendly prefab homes do they build?
Bert’s Boxes offer studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom ‘boxes’, including a 525 sq. ft. box-style home with one bedroom and one bathroom. Prices start at around $217,000 for this model.
Modern touches include smart-device controlled entertainment, lighting, and heating, ceiling speakers, a Nest thermostat, underfloor heating, industrial light fixtures (with LED lights), and handmade encaustic tiles and kitchen system. You can also add in a wood burning stove, choose traditional iron mongery and reclaimed oak cladding, add on a pergola, and pick other features to really make your home stand out and work on your lot.
The two-bedroom prefab home includes a spacious master suite with an ensuite bathroom. There’s also the option of a fully retractable wall, in case you want to shower in nature.
Who are Bert’s Boxes and why should you trust them?
Bert and May are a lifestyle brand first and foremost, and they partnered with a variety of companies to create Bert’s Boxes. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any testimonials or third-party reviews of these boxes, so it’s best to contact the company and get a feel for their process before committing to buying.