Many people are gravitating towards the tiny house movement. Advocates of the movement claim that living in these tiny (or micro) houses can have a lot of benefits, from affordability to the ability to travel with your home.
However, there are also a lot of environmental benefits, and research has proven tiny houses to be eco friendly. This is pretty much the dream of any environmentalist, because there is less space requiring less energy. The difference in energy supply can be large when it is added up over time.
In tinier homes, renewable energy is often the source. The houses themselves are commonly built with wood and rainwater is reused. With some of these factors, there is minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
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Environmental Benefits of Tiny Houses
There are many environmental benefits of tiny houses. To start off, they are much more friendlier to the environment in terms of building. Building a micro house requires fewer materials than a conventional house. With ordinary houses, truckloads of supplies will probably be required. A tiny house, on the other hand, often require no more than half a truckload worth of materials. This results in fewer trees needing to be cut down, and less fuel being required to transport these materials.
In addition, there will be fewer materials that are needed to replace those that are present in a tiny house. Micro houses often have only a singular bathroom. With that, there will be aa lot fewer fixtures to replace and repair when compared to a conventional home. In fact, a study conducted by The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University estimates that the life cycle cost of an average house would be reduced by 36% if the size of the house were halved.
Tiny homes don’t need as much energy because there is not as much space needed to either heat or cool the environment. With less space, there are less materials required, meaning less electrical appliances.
The decline in energy usage is also another major reason why tiny houses are friendly to the environment. Naturally, a bigger home will have a much larger energy demand, resulting in higher consumption. In fact, according to Colby College, an average sized house can use over 12,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year when compared to 194 kilowatt hours for a micro house.
There is also the fact of greenhouse gases incorporated into the mix. An average sized house can easily produce up to around 28,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. A tiny house is often around the 2,000 pound range. Owning a tinier house would reduce your personal carbon footprint exponentially, and can have tremendous impact on your circulating environment.
With tinier houses also come the potential with more environmentally friendly supplies. Less material is needed to build tiny houses, and using recycled materials to build a house can prove to be a great alternative.
You may also want to consider the fact that with a tiny house, there will be less time spent indoors because of the roomier accommodations. People who occupy tiny homes will be more likely to spend more time outside because their living environment essentially demands an outdoor lifestyle. Essentially, living in a tinier house means that the use of outdoors can be used as a secondary living space in a way. This can be compared to how someone who lives in a small apartment in New York City will spend the majority of their day in nearby workspaces, parks and cafes.
Another reason why living in tiny houses can benefit the environment is because living in a tiny house means that you will have fewer possessions. This has to do more with the psychology of the human mind, but when people live tiny, the space that they occupy is valued much more. There will be less emphasis on things that they do not necessarily mean such as toys or gaming consoles. Instead, those who live in tiny houses tend to focus more of their spending on the bare essentials that they need to survive. Using resources that only benefit their life can mean less energy demand and less waste. As consumption of energy drops, the environmental impact will drop along with it in a direct relationship.
Finally, living in a tiny house can inspire a greater appreciation for nature because you are more likely to constantly interact with it much more. Research conducted by Carleton College’s Undergraduate Journal of Humanistic Studies shows that those who interact with nature more will have an increased awareness of their impact on nature. Living in tiny houses allows for a more direct connection with an environment, unlike those who live in suburbs and the cities.
Eco Friendly Materials For Tiny Houses
For tiny houses to be considered environmentally friendly, the choice in materials are very important.
One such popular environmentally friendly material found in many tiny homes is hemcrete. Hemcrete is a material that’s made from woody found inside of a hemp plant. It is mixed with lime, and this can create blocks that mimic concrete to make for a strong, but lightweight combination. Due to the weight, this renewable product tends to cost less than traditional building materials. This can also be effective in reducing carbon emissions that may be needed to transfer it to a tiny home. Hemcrete has proven itself to be fireproof, waterproof and well insulated. To top it off, it can be recycled. It is also claimed that Hemcrete may be used as a fertilizer post-demolition, making it a very versatile material.
Paper insulation, also known as cellulose insulation, is made of cardboard, newspaper and recycled office paper. This form of insulation works by using an insulation blower to blow cellulose pellets inside walls or into attics. This can fill many empty cavities and settles in over time. This is much more friendlier to the environment as opposed to many chemical foams that are often used.
Paper insulation can be combustible if raw sourced paper is used. Paper insulation should be treated with calcium carbonate, borax and boric acid, as all three of those materials are not only environmentally friendly, but has no health hazards. A safe and smart insulation solution should always be looked after, as the materials used can be delicate.
Cork floors have proven to be very popular in tiny homes, and they are amazing for a variety of reasons. It allows for recycling of corks while providing a beautiful aesthetic look simultaneously. There are many companies such as Jelinek Cork Group who makes these kinds of floors with all of the wine corks that are used annually through their own recycling agenda. Cork floors have a variety of attributes that make them used often, such as their hypoallergenic nature and water resistance.
There is also recycled glass tile that can provide any tiny home with a unique design for any floor, bathroom or kitchen. Some of the recycled items used to make recycled glass tiles include old television sets, windows and solar panels. This material has also been known to give off an ocean vibe because of its shape and color.
There are also more traditional materials that can be used for building a tiny home such as wood. Wood is considered the most sustainable kind of building material, as it requires little processing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, any wood that is used must be certified by a recognized accrediting agency.
Bamboo is another alternative for those looking for an environmentally sound material to build a home with. The various color options with the cheap flooring prices makes it something that can be very useful to make things such as furniture and cabinets.
Palm boards and panels are also materials that are made from sugar palm stems after the tree is no longer able to bear fruit. Even if trees are as old as 100 years, they can be used and according to Home Building, palm is an ideal material used for paneling.
One of the most popular materials used for tiny house projects happens to be paper. It is fragile, but there are many applications for it. Made from cellulose pulp, it can be recycled and used in a variety of ways. One way that it can be used is for internal and external walls. This is a highly popular practice in Japan. Paper can also be used to make wallpaper in lieu of paint.
The materials that are chosen to make a tiny house is imperative in terms of helping to preserve the surrounding environment. There are a litany of renewable items that can be used and they should be utilized whenever available.