When you live in a society of extreme excess it can be easy to find yourself overindulging. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, we do not need much. Teaching ourselves and our children to live on a less perverse carbon footprint is one of the most important lessons. Choosing a tiny home is one of the best places to start. It is not a step down in status, it is a step up in sustainability. Below are a few examples of homes and products that make tiny living a big deal.
Prefabricated homes come in many shapes, sizes, and price ranges. More and more of these “drop down” abodes are featuring recycled, reusable materials to make their encroachment less invading and more inviting. The best part is that they can come tiny. As the population grows so might resource overuse unless people learn to live with less. In 2009, according to Popular Mechanics, the average square footage of an American home was 2,343 (beyond double from 1950 standards). That’s a lot of space and a lot of water, coal, oil, gas, etc. A tiny prefab home is set on its foundation via crane; can be plugged into the grid (or otherwise, see below), and is ready to go. People are living in 200, 300, 400+ square feet prefab homes with full amenities and space satisfaction.
Home on Wheels
One obstacle to creating a small living space may be the community in which you set down your roots. Many zoning laws stipulate how large or small you can build your home to drive up property taxes and keep undesirables out. Building your eco-friendly home on a trailer chassis just may keep you off the Big Energy grid. It becomes a “recreational vehicle” and therefore slides below any pesky, expensive ordinances. Eco-designer Mariah Pastell revamped an old Avalon trailer she bought for $500 by adding sustainably sourced, re-purposed, non-toxic materials such as denim insulation, a 555-watt solar photo-voltaic array, and a compost toilet.
Shake Hands With Nature
Because of their intimate size, many tiny homes are able to thrive without plugging into the grid but instead, seamlessly into nature. Using additions such as natural lighting (like a flexible sun tunnel or diffusing glass windows), solar panels, and thermal mass concrete an entire tiny home can integrate with its surroundings (especially if optimally positioned for sun, wind, and water) without relying on Big Energy. The more people that are able to do this, the more it could lead to self-sustainment communities that, little by little, could change the face of our energy infrastructure.
Tiny homes invariably create less of a carbon footprint, add in eco-friendly additions and you can just about disappear into the wilderness while using it to live at the same time. Some great thinkers weigh-in:
“Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” – Socrates
“Live simply so that others may simply live.” – Elizabeth Ann Seton