Next to mortgage payments and building costs, maintenance costs are another expensive aspect of owning a home. Even if your home is as sustainable as possible, these costs still apply and get worse with age. Enter the Maintenance-Free House, designed by developers Realdania BYG and Arkitema Architects of Denmark, in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute.

The home is very experimental, but according to the designers, it is built so that it shouldn’t need any significant maintenance for at least 50 years. The home’s lifetime expectancy is also projected to be an amazing 150 years.


The maintenance-free characteristic of this home is achieved by adding a glass shield which protects the house from the elements. This glass layer was added, because the house is built mainly of plywood, which cannot withstand the elements for long without requiring maintenance. The glass shield is made of toughened recycled glass sheets, which provide an unbroken surface.

There is a small gap between the plywood and the glass exterior, which creates a natural chimney effect, drawing in air from beneath the home and pushing it upwards through the gap. This air is then pushed out at the top of the roof, thereby eliminating the need for any type of complicated mechanical ventilation system.


The design of the home itself is based on the traditional Danish longhouse and has a total floor space of 1,679 square feet (156 square meters). The house is also raised 1.64 feet (0.5 meters) off the ground by stilts. Inside, the home features a large central space made up of a living, dining and kitchen area. Off to the side of this, there is a bathroom and a technical room. The home also features a mezzanine level, accessible via a staircase. In this area there are four bedrooms and one bathroom. Skylights in the room allow plenty of natural daylight to enter the home.