How Sustainable are tiny houses?
For plenty of different reasons, more and more people are opting for living in a tiny house these days. Most commonly, they like the option of traveling wherever with their home; or simply have a love for the minimalist lifestyle. There’s a combination of factors that go into a decision to live like this – but an oft-repeated one is sustainability. And that’s precisely the aspect of a tiny house lifestyle that we’ll talk about here today!
These days, there’s a lot of talk about the need for sustainable development. There’s no getting around the fact that resources are becoming more scarce, and our spending-oriented economy may not be able to support itself in the future. Thus, people with a passion for sustainability and environmental preservation band together, and forge similar lifestyles and practices.
Among these is the increasingly popular tiny house living. Compared to all of the wasteful things people do and negatively influence climate change, this is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways you can live your life. Plus, as we’ve mentioned above – with a tiny house, you can basically live wherever you want. Once you’re bored with a single place, moving is easy – you can save money on your relocation compared to a normal-sized house.
When you consider building yourself your own eco-friendly tiny dream house, one of the best things about the process is the small number of resources needed. And that’s not just in terms of construction materials either. Over the lifespan of a single household, a smaller house will simply use up fewer resources and energy. However, people don’t seem to realize this or the impact it has on the environment.
You can see this from two relevant stats – while the average family size in the US is decreasing, houses are still growing larger. And this space expansion will cost energy and materials – not just during construction, but long afterward. Conversely, due to their incredibly small square footage, tiny houses consume a lot less energy for power, cooling, and heating. In fact, even a tiny house that has no insulation will take less energy to keep warm in the winter.
On top of that, tiny houses are less intrusive in terms of land disturbance; another resource most people simply take for granted. Indeed, in terms of environmental conservation, you won’t do much better than a tiny house. Bigger houses also leave bigger carbon footprints. And that’s just true no matter what green policies the homeowners subscribe to. Tiny houses can be taken totally off the grid as well, and be powered by your own means – which can mean further benefits for the environment.
Repurposed Building Materials
Another problem that’s endangering the sustainability of our planet is the lack of recycling and reuse. We’ve all seen footage of the trash islands floating through our oceans and polluting the globe. And this is a waste problem that needs to be addressed in all facets of our lives; including the houses we live in.
With that in mind, you can easily find and design tiny houses that don’t contribute to this mounting problem. There are more than enough kits and models that implement reused materials in construction. Of course, there are people who simply have an affinity towards brand new things. And depending on the item in question, we’ve all been there – so that’s understandable. So, brand new tiny houses are also an option if you want that “new car smell”.
Sustainable Economic Growth
We’ve talked about the ways in which tiny houses contribute to the development of a globally sustainable ecosystem. However, that’s not the only thing they’re great for. Besides that, tiny houses are also a fine contribution to a sustainable national economy. These days, around 80% of US citizens have some sort of debt; whether it’s a car payment, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, or all of the above. Plus, with the variety of other expenses that people have to deal with all the time, it can all quickly become overwhelming.
But with a tiny house, you can do away with mortgage payments altogether. Tiny houses provide peace of mind that you won’t find with a bigger home, simply because they’re far more affordable. Instead of being one of the people who spend waking nights thinking about whether buying or renting is the right idea – you shouldn’t be deterred from homeownership due to high prices. If you buy a tiny house, you become a homeowner; just without all that nasty debt. You’ve got far more financial freedom to do what you want with your life.
That way, no expensive vacation or a fancy restaurant is out of reach. Want to afford an extremely prestigious school for your children? All of that is possible if you save money on housing through tiny houses. Plus, with all of that extra money circulating in the economy, other people will benefit as well.
In many cases, people go with the seemingly tried-and-true adage of “bigger is better”. However, happy tiny house owners are more fond of “less is more”. Plus, once you have a taste of both, you’ll find that the latter is far more accurate. Living in a tinier space that’s equally well put together is not just better for sustainability and the environment; in many ways, it’s better for you as well. The financial freedom enabled by saving money via a tiny house is something you could never afford with an average-sized home.
Lastly, we should note that more space is something people wrongly equate with comfort simply because they haven’t experienced it in a smaller house. However, don’t knock a tiny house until you’ve tried it – it’s a uniquely zen experience.
Michael Hanses is a freelance writer with a passion for all things concerning the environment. He focuses on topics that deal with eco-friendliness, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. Deciding to practice what he preaches, Micheal wants to turn his own home into a more sustainable environment in the future.