Tiny Houses


Theresa Bichler


Tiny Houses

The idea behind it:

To fully utilize housing space with compact, intuitive design principles, cutting down on overall space and building materials needed for a home.

The idea comes from Henry David Thoreau who wrote the book Walden in 1854 which is about simple living. Jay Shafer also played an important role; he was the first one who built a tiny house on wheels. He wrote The Small House Book in 1999 and founded the Tiny House company.

Advantages of tiny houses:

  • Needs less material to build
  • Uses less energy than regular houses (only 20 – 30 %)
  • Energy can be sourced by solar panels or wind power
  • Can be easier located close to nature because they are small

Chris March established the company Tiny Eco Homes in the UK and he also lives in one of his own designed houses. He says that building a normal house would cost an estimated £200,000 whereas building a Tiny House only costs £60,000 which is a big difference.

Why do people want to live in a tiny house?

There are quite a lot of reasons why some people prefer living in a small house than in a normal one. One substantial reason is preserving nature – living in a tiny house leaves a much smaller carbon footprint. Another reason is that people simply like the diminutive design of tiny houses. Many choose this kind of dwelling because they want to get out of the city. These houses are often situated in nature, so that makes a perfect escape for them.

According to estimates, only 200 people in the UK live in tiny houses which is not a big number.

It is really difficult being permitted to live full time in a tiny house and site it on a permanent basis, says March. The way people get around it is by locating their house on land that belongs to friends or family. Another opportunity is to by land from a farmer and site the house there.

Statistic on thetinylife.com

On the website thetinylife.com I found an interesting statistic where people who live in tiny houses are compared to people who live in regular houses. You can see many differences, for example that a person living in a tiny house has on average more savings and has less credit card debts. Also there are more women owning tiny houses than men.

Solar and wind energy for tiny houses

Solar panels:

Solar Panelling is installed on a roof or the ground to convert sunlight into energy. Solar energy is a renewable resource so it´s better for the environment than fossil fuels. Another interesting fact is that solar energy is the cheapest source of energy on our planet. It can be used for many things, such as cooking and heating water and buildings.

Wind energy:

Wind energy is created by using a wind turbine which converts the power of wind to electricity. The generated energy can then be used directly or stored for the future. Wind farms can generate a lot more energy than a single turbine and this energy can power thousands of homes.

Energy for tiny houses:

The great thing is that solar panels can be assembled on the roof of tiny houses or on the ground next to them and generate electricity. It is also possible to power your tiny home with a wind turbine which is installed on the roof. This is a sustainable way of producing your own energy and living independently.

Another opportunity to generate heat is to use “air-to-water heaters”. You could describe this device as a fridge that works backwards. It sucks heat from outside and then directs it into your house.

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