Sustainability is gaining recognition all over the world because it is becoming abundantly clear that living sustainable lives is something we must do to preserve our qualities of life and of all the lives on this planet.
Are Tiny Houses Sustainable?
The tiny house movement makes homeownership possible for people who couldn't otherwise afford it. It also gets major points for sustainability. Here's why tiny homes and small homes contribute to sustainable living:
- They reduce the need to fill your space with waste. The amount a person consumes, be it physical products or other, is reduced. You’ve only got so much space to work with after all.
- Small houses use fewer building materials. An ordinary house requires about seven truckloads of timber, whereas a tiny house requires half of one truckload (if timber framed, even less with SIPs). This means fewer trees cut down for timber, less fuel used in transporting materials, and other associated benefits.
- More potential for environmentally friendly supplies. Because less material is needed, it's easier to build using recycled materials which are not always available in enough quantity for larger homes. By the same principle, it's more feasible to use more expensive, environmentally friendly materials instead of cheaper, conventional ones.
- The physical footprint of the foundation is also a lot smaller (trailer or concrete foundation) reducing the volume of earth that must be disturbed and possibly the amount of machinery used to create it.
- They can be incorporated into subdivisions. Tiny home subdivisions can be used to revive urban spaces and declining rural communities.
- Reduced heating and cooling requirements. Smaller space = less energy required to maintain that nice cozy or cool temperature.
- Typically, small and tiny house owners have a reduced electrical usage. Often their entire electrical needs can be met using solar panels, further reducing environmental impact. An article from Colby College reports that the average sized (241sqm/2,598 sq. ft.) house consumes about 12,773 kilowatt hours of energy per year. A tiny (17sqm/186 sq. ft.) house, on the other hand, consumes only 914 kilowatt hours annually. Carbon dioxide emissions follow a similar pattern. Tiny houses averaging a yearly 907kg/2,000 pounds, while an average-sized house tops off at a whopping 12,700kg/28,000 pounds.
- They can be fitted for life "off the grid." Some homes have the typical amenities of a "habitable structure," like running water, flushing toilets, and electricity. Others take advantage of composting toilets and solar panels for electricity generation.
- The lifespan and replacement cost of materials is also important to consider, as well as the impact the replacement of these materials has on the planet. For instance, a tiny house may have a single bathroom instead of four bathrooms, meaning fewer fixtures to repair and replace over the years.
Keep an eye for the part 2 of this blog post coming out in 2 weeks time on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/ParkHomesNZLtd/