With rent, gas prices and eco-awareness on the rise, there’s never been a better time to seek out alternative accommodations in London. We’ve pulled together a list of some quirky homes in the capital that are as innovative as they are environmentally-friendly.


Cube HouseImage credit: Cube Project

The Cube House was a joint project, developed by the University of Hertfordshire and Bolton Buildings. The revolutionary design takes inspiration from the TARDIS with an unexpectedly spacious interior; three levels are stacked upwards to allow for both storage and living space.

Its impressive sustainability efforts include an inductive stove, an extra-efficient refrigerator and a combination oven and microwave, as well as air-to-air split-system heat pumps that power the hot water and heating. The real showstopper, however, is the solar panelled roof, which provides more energy than the home itself consumes.


sanitov studio house boat

Image credit: Sarah Gelbard

Traditional houseboats have come a long way, and none more so than the solar-powered houseboat created by think tank Sanitov Studios. Comissioned by the Urdaimonia Project – which aims to reinvigorate the UK’s neglected waterways as part of urban infrastructure – it first played host to the Danish Olympic team during the 2012 games.

The average house uses 3,300kWh of electricity a year, but Sanitov Studio’s floating home is estimated to consume just 1,000. What’s more, the in-built solar panels are predicted to produce around 1,716kWh a year – outweighing the boat’s consumption and offsetting CO2 in the process.


Trinity Buoy Wharf Image credit: Trinity Buoy Wharf

Container City is an innovative community based in Trinity Buoy Wharf, that’s as economically sustainable as it is environmentally so. Diners and cafés accompany accommodation and studios in this unique London neighbourhood.

The focus on sustainability started with the construction phase, with the use of lightweight, recycled materials that require little concrete substructure. The finished product is a host of air-tight, energy-efficient homes boasting a number of eco-friendly assets. Solar collectors provide renewable energy for heating, wind turbines deliver power and rainwater harvesting and green roofs are employed throughout the design. And because it’s so easily assembled, the entire structure can be unbolted and reused as and where it’s needed.

Garden Huts

bateman mews ecohome

 Image credit: Anne Thorne Architects

Okay, they’re not actual huts – but that’s the aura emulated by the beautiful family homes constructed by Anne Thorne Architects. The Bateman Mews development in Lambeth comprises five timber-frame homes, nested amongst sycamore and willow trees.

The project was awarded an Ecohomes ‘Excellent’ standard, a Building for Life Silver Standard and took home a 2010 award from the Royal Institute of British Architects – and all for good reason. Well-insulated FSC-certified wood houses are topped with green roofs. The buildings boast simple structures and lightweight constructions that aid energy-efficiency.

_To find out more about green buildings in London, check out our Sustainable Architecture tour. Those looking to keep on top of the latest innovation should also join our Sustainable London Tour