The tiny house movement is, well, huge, and a resurgence of simple living is sweeping the nation. So, what’s the big deal about living in a house the size of a shed? Above being the biggest home trend since industrial kitchens, tiny homes are energy efficiency superheroes. Even if you aren’t looking to downsize to tiny house living, there are many energy-efficient secrets contained in the world of living small.
What is a tiny house?
The typical American home is 2,600 square feet, 1,000 more square feet than the average home 50 years ago. In a complete 180-degree flip, tiny houses are on average around 186 square feet, and are all the rage.
Energy-efficient houses are not just for off-the-grid nonconformists or TV dream homes anymore. More and more, the dream of green, tiny house living has become a reality in the mainstream housing market.
Tiny house enthusiasts give inspirational credit to Henry David Thoreau, who spent more than two months in a 150 square foot cabin in 1854 journaling his time in “Walden.” Skip ahead to 1987, when Lest Walker published a book called “Tiny Houses: Or How to Get Away From It All.” Different authors continue to publish books featuring tiny living spaces as interest grows with blogs, TV shows and even an American Tiny House Association popping up.
At Constellation, we love a good trend, but home energy savings is what we’re after! Making a tiny house energy efficient isn’t too hard — the consensus among those searching for the energy saving secrets of a living small lifestyle is that smaller spaces usually correlate with a reduction in energy use.
How do tiny houses reduce environmental impact and energy consumption?
Though it may seem obvious, many people tend to forget the energy use and products that go into the construction of a home, not just the energy-consuming appliances inside. Building a tiny house is usually both cost and energy efficient!
Consider this: it takes seven logging trucks to hold enough lumber for an average American home. In contrast, the lumber usage in tiny homes takes only half of one logging truck.
There are three main elements of how you light your home that affect your electric bill at the end of the month.
Small spaces mean smaller areas to warm or cool.
Let’s be clear: tiny houses aren’t inexpensive. They usually cost somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000. If you find a tiny home that is cheaper (in price) than usual, you’ve either gotten very lucky or are getting a tiny house that uses cheaper (in quality) and less sustainable materials.
Affordability. The initial investment in a green, tiny house can look pretty steep, but the biggest point of living in an energy efficient tiny house isn’t saving money on building a home, it’s saving money in the long run with building a sustainable home. These energy efficient house ideas and decisions mean buying a $900 compost toilet with the expectation of saving 100,000 liters of flushed water per year, or installing solar panels to reduce your monthly electricity cost.
Minimalism. Living in a green tiny house does not leave much room for extra belongings that you don’t need. Though buying things that you enjoy is a nice treat every now and then, many feel that living with fewer things brings a more relaxed and organized life. Here is a list from Becoming Minimalist of different areas of life that tiny house living can contribute to including clothes, toys, cooking utensils and televisions.
Mobility and Flexibility. What’s better than waking up in a new place still in the comfort of your home? Most tiny homes are built on wheels, completely capable of being towed wherever the owner is allowed to set up. With the surge of remote work (telecommuting and work from home jobs), tiny homes easily complement a transient lifestyle. When most work days feel like vacation days, you’ll realize that mobile houses equal maximum fun.
Now that you know what a tiny house is and how to embrace the living small movement, you can decide whether it’s right for you or just fun to observe! In the meantime, the energy saving secrets of tiny house living are worth adopting knowing they can help reduce the cost of energy, organize your space and declutter your home. Who knew a house so tiny could make such a big impact in our lives and save so much energy?
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