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Aug 19, 2015 BY arielle

Tiny Homes: The Future of Green Building?

The small or tiny house movement has been gaining steam for the past few decades. While the typical American home is about 2,600 square feet, the typical tiny home is only 100 to 400 square feet. Most people who join the moment cite environmental concerns, fiscal responsibility, and freedom. So are smaller footprints the future of green building?

Environmental Concerns:

Tiny homes, by definition, are much smaller – that’s obvious! Thus, they require fewer resources to construct and use less energy once built. They don’t use as much electricity, gas, or water as a traditional home because there is less space to heat, light, and provide water. The smaller footprint also means that during construction, fewer materials are used – which means less of an impact on the environment.

Small homes also force inhabitants to reduce their carbon footprint through downsized living. Reducing square footage creates a need to reduce the number of possessions and the accumulation of unnecessary items – again, helping do away with less-than-eco-friendly consumerist culture.

Finances:

Environmental concerns aren’t the only reasons for the blossoming tiny home movement – financial concerns play a major factor in many people’s decisions. The majority of Americas spend 1/3 to 1/2 of their income on housing – that is a huge amount that isn’t sustainable for many.

Tiny homes show there is a different, less expensive way to live. The numbers speak for themselves: 

  • 68% of tiny homeowners have no mortgage, compared to 29.3% of American homeowners
  • 55% of tiny homeowners have more savings than the average American
  • 78% of tiny homeowners own their own home, compared to 65% of traditional homeowners

Small houses are often less expensive to build and keep than tiny homes – leaving owners with more money to spend on other things. 

Freedom:

Many tiny homes are built on wheels to get around zoning restrictions. Zoning regulations across the country typically mandate a minimum square footage for construction on a foundation – a square footage much larger than most tiny homes. 

But the wheels are often a plus for homeowners – no matter where a tiny homeowner wants to live, they can take their home!

The Takeaway: 

Tiny homes aren’t for everyone. 100 square feet might not work for a family and can feel cramped for people use to much larger spaces.

However, the entire eco-friendly construction movement can benefit from the thought processes behind the tiny home movement. Smaller spaces save on construction materials, energy consumption, and help promote smarter design, as every inch of a small home must serve a purpose. 

Let us know how you feel about the tiny house movement in the comments below.

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