There’s been an increased movement toward environmentalism in recent years. Thanks to outspoken advocates such as Greta Thunberg, it’s becoming more popular for young people to be involved in activism.
One thing youth like is a good trend. Tiny houses emerged in 2008 as a viable alternative to traditional housing and have grown in popularity since thanks to their ingenuity and efficiency.
Are Tiny Houses Good for the Environment?
The concept the drives people to live in tiny houses is minimalism. As we learn to live with less consumption, we need less space to live. This can reduce our carbon footprint as we consume fewer resources and produce less waste. If you’re not sure what a carbon footprint is, Western Elite goes into it HERE.
Benefits of Tiny Houses
Once upon a time, a man named Henry David Thoreau went to the woods. He built a tiny cabin in order to “live deliberately,” and possibly continue to successfully evade paying taxes. Other writers who have lived and worked in small huts include:
- Roald Dahl
- Mark Twain
- George Bernard Shaw
- Virginia Woolf
For them, the benefits of having a simple, uncluttered workspace allowed them to write without distraction. It’s true that working in a tiny house is different than living in a tiny house, but there are lots of benefits to downsizing your living space.
The housing market these days is insane. Hardly anyone can afford to purchase a home without having equity from an existing home. Tiny houses, however, are much more affordable. With even modest savings, a tiny house can be purchased outright, freeing a homeowner from having a mortgage or a rental agreement. Other bills are smaller as well, such as utilities, taxes, and exterior upkeep.
Obviously, with less square footage, cleaning your tiny home won’t set you back an entire weekend. However, it does mean you have to learn to pick up after yourself whenever you finish a task so there’s room for your to move on to the next thing. If your dining space folds out to your sleeping quarters, it means you have to put away all your work in order to retire at night.
Live with Less
Living in a small space helps you curate your life to include only the necessities. You can break free from the cycle of consumerism and learn to live with less stuff. Instead of giving physical gifts for special occasions, you’ll likely opt to give experiences instead; your family can enjoy season passes to nearby museums, amusement parks, or play places so you can spend time together making memories instead of messes.
Freedom to Travel
Another benefit of tiny houses is their portability. Hooked up to a vehicle, you can take your home on the road and explore without worrying about a place to stay.
A well-built tiny home can be a shining example of sustainability. Using large windows to aid in heating and cooling can have a big impact when you’re working with just 400 square feet. Tiny homes usually have compact, instant water heaters, LED lighting, slow-flow appliances, and other energy-efficient components that make them eco-friendly.
Cons of Tiny Houses
In general, occupants of tiny houses reduced their carbon footprint significantly. However, there are some cons to living in a small space.
Petit Prep Space
Some people who live in a tiny house actually eat out more since their tiny kitchens may lack amenities that make preparing food at home enjoyable and convenient.
While the tiny home itself may reduce energy consumption, some tiny house dwellers have to live far from where they work or attend school. Since some tiny homes are portable, owners have to find a place where they can legally park (similar to a recreational vehicle). These locations aren’t always convenient and can result in the need to log a lot of miles every day to get into and out of a nearby city.
Ironically, some environmentally-conscious tiny house owners recycle less when they downsize. Since space is at a premium, it can’t always be sacrificed for a recycling or compost bin.
If you live alone in a tiny house, you can easily get the solitude you need to recharge. But what if you’re sharing 300 square feet with a partner, sibling, or kids? It can mean there’s nowhere to go when you need some time to yourself, and that can be a drawback of living in a small space. If you work remotely, you’ll either have to make arrangements for doing so outside your tiny home or send your housemates elsewhere.
Where You Can Park a Tiny House
Some tiny houses are permanent structures while others are on trailers for ease of travel. So where can you park a tiny house, either long-term or temporarily?
According to The Tiny Life blog, if you choose the more nomadic lifestyle with your tiny house, you can typically park for the following length of time at these locations:
- Campgrounds – 14 to 30 days at a time
- Bureau of Land Management land (BLM) – 14 days in a 28-day period
- Federal Parks – 14 to 30 days at a time
- Overnight parking – Walmart, Bass Pros, some residential neighborhoods parking lot
Accessory Dwelling Unit
If your tiny home has a foundation, it can be classified as an accessory dwelling unit on someone’s property. Maybe it’s your own land or the land of a friend or relative. A permanent tiny house will be subject to housing regulations and permits, so do your research before committing to anything.
Recreational Vehicle Lots/Parks
Mobile houses are usually classified as recreational vehicles. This means they can legally park anywhere an RV can. This includes RV parks or campgrounds. You can take advantage of hookups such as water, and electricity and safely dispose of garbage.
Did you know it’s legal to park a tiny home in a National Park or campground? For short-term options, there might not be anything more beautiful.
Tiny House Communities
Similar to a trailer park, tiny house communities are becoming more common across the nation. It may be an individual who rents their land on a short-term basis or a more established community that lobbies for legislation permitting long-term use.
Things to Consider When Building a Tiny Home
The layout is going to be crucial to your success living in a tiny home. But what else do you need to know before building or buying a tiny home?
Whether you’re going to permanently park your house or roam the country, is your tiny house a legal dwelling? Is how you plan to transport it legal? Do your homework before you begin the build.
Consider the Weight
Always be mindful of the materials your use, and how they will affect the weight of your tiny home (if it’s portable). When you can get creative with materials, fixtures, and appliances so your home works smarter, not harder.
Don’t Just Make Things Smaller
You may think shrinking things will make tiny living work but, in reality, what you need is for items in your tiny home to have multiple functions. Instead of making your bed smaller, make it open up so there’s storage underneath. Don’t shrink your table if it’s got to serve double-duty as a prep space, dining space, and workspace. Work with a knowledgeable tiny home designer to get maximum efficiency in your home.
It’s a big commitment to live in 400 square feet or less, so take time to talk to other tiny home dwellers and shop around when it comes to designers and builders.