Chances are you’ve heard of the tiny house trend. It’s gone mainstream with TV shows, design ideas and decor tips dedicated to this fun-sized fad. What about it is so popular, though? And what types of people are really interested in cramming their entire lives into a micro-home? Let’s break it down a bit.
While you may not be able to envision yourself living in a space the size of a backyard tool shed, a tiny house is exactly what some people are looking for. Tiny houses run about 100 to 400 square feet, whereas the average American home being built is about 2,600 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s quite the size discrepancy. If you ask tiny-home lovers why they desire such a small abode, they may tell you one of the following:
Often, the tiny house trend appeals to young people — students, singles, couples without children — and middle-aged empty-nesters as a way to save money while contributing to a more sustainable environment. Tiny homes may not be well-suited for families and the elderly, simply due to the small size and the fact that tiny homes may not be handicap-accessible, if that is a needed feature.
There are many benefits outside of the monetary savings when adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. For one, energy output is drastically less in a tiny home than it would be in the average American home, with typically 93 percent fewer kWh used per year to power the building. There’s less space to heat and cool, fewer lights and smaller appliances. Tiny houses may even be built from recycled materials. If your mental image is that of a hobbit, you’ve gone too far in this concept.
Also, there are certainly benefits to taking the solar energy path when it comes to powering tiny homes. For one, energy consumption is already lessened by way of a smaller living space. In fact, most utility bills for electric use in tiny homes run $10 to $35 — a small price in comparison to the triple digits traditional homeowners may pay.
By installing solar power, the energy bill may be almost nothing if you decide to run everything off the grid. Also, the money saved by building a tiny home affords you the ability to actually build a solar power system that meets your needs.
When it comes to actually using solar energy, keep in mind the setup might be a bit different than it would be on a larger home. After all, with such limited roof space on a tiny home, installing overhead panels is sometimes impractical. Instead, panels may be installed to wood mounts sitting on the ground with the panels facing the sun.
Not sure if solar energy is the right option for you in a tiny home? You might want to invest in an energy meter to measure your usage before pulling the trigger. In some cases, the cost isn’t worth the benefit. Of course, if you feel the biggest benefit is the sustainability of solar power, it may be a wise decision regardless of the price tag.
When downsizing and sustainability are important to you, consider the tiny house trend. With so many benefits, you’re bound to find a few reasons to adopt this fun-sized but super-smart lifestyle.
If you had to choose, what would be your top reason for embracing the tiny house trend? Share it with us in the comments below.