Living Greener Through the Tiny Home Trend
Adjust Your Lifestyle to Help the Environment
In recent years, tiny homes have been popping up all over the United States. People are drawn to these homes for their affordability and their sustainability. Because they're so small they use less energy. Their small size contributes to a decreased carbon footprint for their owner because living in a tiny home requires less consumption. That means less purchasing of meaningless items that are manufactured by the billions every year. It also means living a minimalist lifestyle.
But even with all of these wonderful benefits of owning and living in a tiny home, there are some features that can be added to make them even more eco-friendly. Here are a few.
1. Solar Power
Just like any home, a tiny home can be powered by solar energy. Because the home is so small, the homeowner's investment to buy solar panels is much less, in some cases making them affordable as an outright purchase rather than the needed financial backing of a bank by owners of larger homes.
If you're concerned about roof size for solar panels, there is no requirement that solar panels be located on a roof. They can also be located in a sunny spot in the yard. Once you've added the solar panels, not only is your mortgage payment tiny, but your utility bill has also become tiny, if not non-existent.
2. Repurposed Materials
Your tiny home doesn't have to be created using new construction materials. There's no reason you shouldn't use reclaimed materials, especially if your goal is to build as green a home as can possibly be built. Things that can be reclaimed include wood, windows, fixtures, appliances, and steel. The cost of a tiny home is already small, but by utilizing reclaimed materials it becomes much more so.
3. Living Roof
Living roofs, or green roofs, are gaining some traction with homeowners. They especially make sense for tiny home owners who may also have small yards. A green roof provides a sunny area to grow a garden. A green roof can be as extravagant or as simple as the homeowner needs. Things that are optional include irrigation systems and drainage systems.
However you choose to design your living roof, it's a roof that requires less maintenance than a traditional roof. Other benefits of living roofs include adding insulation to your home and blocking out exterior noise.
4. Rainwater Harvesting
Harvesting rainwater runoff from your home is the ultimate in sustainable functionality. Starting out, the rainwater can be used to water your outdoor gardens. Because rainwater is generally clean water, it can also be used to wash your dishes and laundry. It's also suitable for bathing. If you add a filtration system into your plumbing, you can also use the rainwater for all your drinking and cooking needs. With a rainwater harvesting system, there's almost no need at all for utilities.
5. Sewage Options
Some tiny homes are moveable and can be equipped with RV hookups so waste can be pumped out. If you're purchasing a tiny home to stay put, it can also be equipped with a small septic tank. If you're truly serious about green living, you could also opt for a composting toilet, and with the other features mentioned above, you become truly off-grid.
A composting toilet isn't for everyone. It requires some work to keep it clean. Another drawback is it does attract flies. It also requires manual disposal of waste, which is simply placed in a biodegradable bag and tossed in the garbage.
Green living really is a way of life. People who adapt to this lifestyle don't necessarily have the ease of functionality of some things like city utilities for their water and sewage, but the rewards may outweigh that small fact. Knowing that you are leaving as minimal a carbon footprint as you possibly can and still have shelter is no small feat, and anyone choosing this route of living deserves a huge thank you from the rest of consumers who continue to contribute to the world's waste problems.