By Niamh Shackleton
A savvy homeowner is saving £1,000 a month on his bills – after ditching his rented two-bedroom house in favour of a tiny ‘eco home’ which costs just £15 every four weeks to run.
Chris Marsh, 36, moved into the tiny 180 square foot wooden cabin on wheels – which boasts two floors, a kitchen, double bed, washing machine, comfortable living area and large shower room – at the end of March.
He previously rented a two-bedroom house Hexham, Northumberland, for £650 a month and forked out £100 a month on electricity bills and £160 on council tax.
But since spending 11 weeks building the new eco home himself, Chris now lives in the building almost for free after buying the land in Northumberland for £110,000 in January  with the original plan to build a full house there.
Single Chris, who previously worked as a building manufacturer, now sells 30 of the mini homes a year to other buyers across Europe – with each one retailing for £50,000.
He said: “My old house was lovely but it wasn’t remotely economical; it had single glazed windows and oil heating that I’d rarely put on with it being so expensive to run.
“The house was constantly cold and I was tired of paying out so much money each month – it was hard to maintain and keep it up to scratch.
“I then came across these ‘tiny houses’ on an American website and thought I’d give it a try making one myself.
“I’ve now been living in my new house full time since the end of March and completely love it – I won’t be rushing to move back into a proper house any time soon.”
Since moving into the tiny house, Chris now only pays around £15 a month in electricity bills and doesn’t pay for water as it’s retrieved through a rain collection system.
Chris, who lives on his own, has planning permission on the land where his house is located, meaning he is legally able to use it as a permanent form of residence.
He said the money he is saving from living in his eco house – which he only had to sacrifice a few clothes to move into – is being put towards having an easier lifestyle and for future retirement plans.
Chris’ business Tiny Eco Homes UK – which he launched in 2017 – makes the properties bespoke for customers all over Europe and personally delivers them.
Due to the unique materials Chris uses to build the homes, which take two to eight weeks to make depending on specifications, he promises a life time guarantee as the wood won’t rot.
They are suitable for all types of weathers and climates, and are easily towed by car.
Chris, who currently has six builds on the go, said: “I’ve sold the houses to wide range of people – from young families and elderly couples, to first time buyers and people just wanting an accessible holiday home.
“Each house is completely different and I build it the way to customer wants it making.
“People are often shocked with how luxurious they are – many want an easy holiday home, but don’t necessarily want a caravan, so the tiny eco homes are a good in between.”
CHRIS’ BILL BREAKDOWN: BEFORE
WATER – £95
ELECTRICITY – £100+
GAS – N/A
COUNCIL TAX – £160
RENT – £650
ANYTHING ELSE – £50
TOTAL = £970
CHRIS’ BILL BREAKDOWN: NOW
WATER – N/A
ELECTRICITY – £15
GAS – N/A
COUNCIL TAX – N/A
RENT – N/A
ANYTHING ELSE – N/A
TOTAL = £15