Modern homes are one of the biggest drains on our natural resources today. As homes have almost doubled in size in the last few decades, the use of lumber, electricity, and water has skyrocketed, as has the production of carbon dioxide (this greenhouse gas traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change). Tiny homes, which can be stationary or mobile, have a positive impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions and the number of resources used.
The average American home today pushes 3,000 square feet, while a typical tiny home is under three hundred. With that reduction in size, the number of resources used drops drastically. Tiny homes, on average, use only 20% of the amount of lumber as a regular home — leaving more of our natural forests intact to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Tiny homes also use less plastic, fiberglass, metal, and other materials and reduce the number of logging trucks on the road.
In addition to using fewer physical resources, tiny homes also use less electricity. Fewer light bulbs and compact, energy-saving appliances can reduce the amount of power used by over 80%. Tiny homes are also cheaper and easier to retrofit for alternative energy sources (solar, wind, biofuel, etc.), and are more able to use recycled and green materials.
Tiny houses also tend to use less water and produce less wastewater than regular homes. The average flush toilet today uses around one gallon of water per flush. Modern tiny homes often have high-efficiency flush toilets, or may even employ composting or incinerate toilets that use no water. Many tiny homes use gray water recycling systems so that water going down the sink is used to flush the toilet (or fill a dishwasher or washing machine); some also employ rainwater collection to drastically reduce or eliminate the need for treated city/well water. Gray water and rainwater systems can save upwards of two hundred gallons of water per year, cutting down on the cost of living while also reducing your home’s contribution to soil erosion, energy use, and chemical contamination.
Overall, the size and modern design of tiny homes can have an exceptionally positive impact on the environment. By reducing the number of resources consumed and allowing homeowners to recycle easier, tiny homes are a significant step towards helping the environment without sacrificing your lifestyle or budget. If you are interested in learning more about green construction or environmentally friendly home remodeling visit Stone Creek Building in Portland.