The environmental benefits of tiny houses

environmental benefits of tiny houses

The tiny house movement is the architectural and social movement that promotes living in small houses. Advocates emphasise that there are many benefits to living in tiny houses (or micro houses, as they are also called), including the ability to travel with your home and affordability (especially when compared to the cost of a mortgage). You can actually own and travel with a fully functional home for under $10,000.

There are also many environmental benefits to owning a micro house.


They’re more environmentally-friendly to build

Firstly, building a micro house obviously requires fewer materials. While an ordinary house may need several truckloads of lumber, a tiny house will only need half a truckload. As a result, fewer trees need to be cut down and less fuel will be used in transporting the materials.

Moreover, fewer materials will be needed to replace those in a tiny house. For example, a micro house will usually have only one bathroom, meaning there will be fewer fixtures to repair and replace compared to a standard home. The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University estimates that if you were to halve the size of a house, this would reduce this ‘life cycle’ cost by 36%.


They use less energy 

A bigger home will also use more energy than a smaller home. According to Colby College, the average sized house uses around 12,773 kilowatt hours of energy per year; whereas a micro house consumes 914 kilowatt hours annually.

In addition, an average sized house will produce 28,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year, while a tiny house will emit 2,000 pounds. Thus, owning a tiny house could go a long way to reducing your personal carbon emissions to a more acceptable level.

The primary reason why tiny homes use less energy is that there is simply less space to heat and cool. Another reason is that fewer electrical appliances are needed.


Other ways tiny houses contribute to sustainable living

Micro houses, unlike standard homes, can be built in other ways that make them well-suited to sustainable living. Since less material is needed, it is easier to build them using recyclable materials, which are usually not available in the quantity needed to construct an average sized house.

Some people have built their micro houses out of material collected from dumps. And many people fit their homes with compost toilets and solar panels for electricity generation.

You can also buy your micro house from companies that use recycled or sustainably-sourced materials. For example, Tiny Green Cabins constructs micro houses using materials such as recycled jeans, recycled steel and locally sourced lumber.

Green Built aims to build their micro houses using hempcrete, a sustainable building material. As UK Hempcrete highlights:


Hempcrete is a “carbon-negative” or ”better-than-zero-carbon” material; more carbon is taken out of the atmosphere by the growth of the hemp plant than is emitted as a result of its production and application on site.


Living in a tiny house can also mean having fewer possessions and, in turn, producing less waste and increased connection to the environment. A paper published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that people who spend more time outdoors are more likely to make sustainable choices.

In conclusion, if you want to live a cheaper, more sustainable and more travel-oriented life, then investing in a tiny house could certainly be a step in the right direction.


About the author: Sam Woolfe @samwoolfe

Sam is a writer who is especially interested in space exploration, sustainability, animal agriculture, nutrition, wellbeing and smart drugs.


  1. Wow, I have to admit that I had no idea there were so many environmental advantages to living in a tiny home. However, a lot of them do make sense, especially the one about them using less energy. After all, they will likely us a ton less energy just based on the fact that they aren’t nearly as big as other houses.


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