In our previous blog post we talked a little about what a tiny home is and why someone would want to live in one. Today, we are going to go more in depth on why a tiny home is environmentally friendly. This may not be the main reason, or even a reason at all, why you want a tiny home. Either way, it is a happy byproduct of the tiny home movement.

   When tiny homes first came about, the idea really was to minimize your carbon footprint. It was about removing the unnecessary things in our lives and living with the bare minimum. Tiny homes today have evolved to be much more than that. Many are extremely luxurious. They have full tubs and bathrooms, granite counter tops, fine woods and furnishings throughout. Even these tiny homes though, are environmentally friendly. When compared to a traditional home, tiny homes, no matter how luxurious are going to be much more environmentally friendly. It is a byproduct of their small size.

 Toilets

  There are many features that can be added to a tiny home to make it even more environmentally friendly. One possible feature is a composting toilet.

   The use of a composting toilet can reduce the amount of waste by up to 90%. A great advantage of composting toilets is it allows you to eliminate the need for a black water tank or to be hooked up to a sewer connection. It is also a super environmentally friendly option because it eliminates the need for water. Most toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush. Using a composting toilet totally eliminates any water being used. This saves tons of water.

Composting toilets range from about $950 and up

Units like this can reach into the thousands. This particular one sells for $2,200.

   For most tiny homes on wheels, the self contained version would probably be the best choice. This may seem pricey but in the long run the savings from the water bill can make up the difference. The convenience of not having to have water to the toilet can make it worth the extra cost.
YouTube has several reviews and some good information about composting toilets. This one is a little long but answers most of the common misconceptions about composting toilets.
   If you prefer to read instead of watch a video, check out the FAQ section of Nature’s Head, they are a major manufacturer of composting toilets. You can skip to just the questions you have and it may be quicker than watching a video.

Comparison To A Traditional Home

  Tiny House Build put together a great infographic that shows some of the other areas that make a tiny home so much more environmentally friendly. Due to its small size it just makes sense that a tiny home will consume a lot less resources than a larger home.

Heating 

   Another area that a tiny home can offer significant reduction in its environmental impact is heating and cooling. A Tiny House On Wheel (THOW), that is built on a 28’ trailer is roughly 224 sqft. An average bedroom in a home is around 140 sqft. So the entire THOW is only about 150% of the size of one bedroom in a standard home. This significantly reduces the demand for heating or air conditioning. A small wall or window unit can have sufficient capacity to heat or cool the entire home.

  There are numerous options on how to heat your tiny home; electric, gas, propane, wood, radiant heat and probably a few that I am not mentioning. Regardless of which type you use, the demand on the system will be less than that of a larger home.

 

Cooling 

For cooling, there are either small swamp coolers, window units, or mini splits systems (the equivalent of central air, does both heating and A/C). Due to the small size of the home any of these options would use less energy than a large home would.

One other item to consider when talking about the heating and cooling of a tiny home is how well it is insulated. If a tiny home is properly insulated and the doors and windows are fitted properly, the amount of heat loss can be significantly reduced. Make sure that whether you build your tiny home yourself, or have someone do it for you, that you don’t skimp on the insulation. Put in as much insulation as you can possibly fit in and you won’t regret it.

I will take a whole other blog post and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of heating and cooling options.

Materials

   To build a tiny home the amount of materials for the construction process is significantly less than for a traditional home. A builder usually has to figure on 5-10% waste when building a home. On a
3,000 sqft home, that means roughly enough material to build an additional 300 sqft will be wasted. That is more material than it would take to build an entire THOW! If your tiny home is only 224 sqft then you are only wasting enough material to build an additional 22 ½ sqft.  Less material equates to less waste. The sheer difference is staggering.

Solar 

 Another way that a tiny home can be more environmentally friendly is by implementing solar power. If you add solar as your choice of energy, you are one step closer to making your tiny home completely self sufficient. Depending on your needs you can choose to either go entirely solar or just supplement your usage from the grid. Going solar is a big decision and you should make sure you do your research to make sure you set things up properly if you choose this route. Wholesale Solar receives many good comments and can help you decide what works for you. They sale complete systems or can help you build your own.

You can choose to either mount the panels to your home or have them freestanding. There are advantages to both options.

Conclusion


No matter how you look at it, if you choose to live in a tiny home, your carbon footprint will be reduced. Making a conscious decision to live tiny is the first step. In order to live tiny most people have to give up some “luxuries”. Just making that decision already helps make you more environmentally friendly. You just need to look at what you want from a tiny home and see what you need to get there. There are not any limitations to what you can do with your tiny home. Sometimes the challenge of figuring out how to make something work the way you want brings the greatest satisfaction.

Hopefully, if you are looking at the tiny home movement, one of your concerns is how to be more environmentally friendly and live a simpler life. If that is the case, there are many things that you can do when designing and building your tiny home to reduce your impact on the environment. Future generations will thank you.

 

Dream Big, Live Tiny!

Conclusion  

No matter how you look at it, if you choose to live in a tiny home, your carbon footprint will be reduced. Making a conscious decision to live tiny is the first step. In order to live tiny most people have to give up some “luxuries”. Just making that decision already helps make you more environmentally friendly. You just need to look at what you want from a tiny home and see what you need to get there. There are not any limitations to what you can do with your tiny home. Sometimes the challenge of figuring out how to make something work the way you want brings the greatest satisfaction.

Hopefully, if you are looking at the tiny home movement, one of your concerns is how to be more environmentally friendly and live a simpler life. If that is the case, there are many things that you can do when designing and building your tiny home to reduce your impact on the environment. Future generations will thank you.

 

Dream Big, Live Tiny!

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