Do people in tiny houses live more sustainably?

August 2, 2019 by  
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Minimalist living is as old as time, but the tiny house trend sweeping across North America and Europe has influenced many people to downsize, declutter and live simply. A new investigation into the habits of tiny house residents reveals that living in smaller houses encourages people to adopt more sustainable habits across the board. What are tiny houses? The unofficial definition of a tiny house is typically any single housing unit under 500 square feet. Many tiny houses are on wheels to get around state and federal government laws that limit the minimum habitable dwelling size. Because of this restriction, tiny house owners often own the transportable housing unit but not necessarily the land that it is on. Related: Is a tiny home right for you? The media and tiny house designers market the micro-dwellings as environmentally friendly alternatives to large family homes. Sellers encourage prospective buyers to downsize their possessions and kiss their mortgages goodbye in exchange for experiential riches like travel and financial freedom. Though they take up less space and store less junk, few studies exist that actually prove that living in tiny houses is more sustainable. Little house habits Maria Saxton, an environmental design and planning PhD candidate, studied the impact that downsizing into a tiny house had on inhabitants’ sustainable behaviors. She conducted surveys and in-depth interviews of 80 downsizers who had been living in their new tiny homes for at least a year. She calculated their individual ecological footprints before and after the move and examined which behaviors changed for the better and which changed for the worse. Her research discovered that on average, residents reduced their individual footprints by 45 percent after they settled into a tiny home, which is a huge reduction. She also found that the move and new lifestyle impacted other aspects and behaviors even without the inhabitants realizing it. Ecological footprint is usually calculated by determining the amount of land that it would take every year to support an individual’s consumption. The average American’s footprint is 8.4 hectares per person per year. That’s about the equivalent of eight football fields per person. Among those who downsized to tiny houses, the average footprint was approximately 3.87 hectares per person compared to a per-person average of 7 hectares before the move. How tiny houses encourage sustainable living Remarkably, housing-related behaviors and consumption patterns weren’t the only changes that the residents experienced. Of more than 100 individual behaviors examined, about 86 percent changed to become more environmentally friendly. For example, tiny house residents tended to shop and buy significantly less than the average American and less than they themselves did previously. Without room to store additional items, tiny house inhabitants simply could not support their old consumption habits. While 86 percent of behaviors changed for the better, about 13 percent changed for the worse. For example, tiny house residents tended to eat out more to avoid the frustration of cooking in a cramped kitchen. These residents recycled less because they had limited space for sorting and storing recyclable materials. They also tended to travel more, including both adventure trips and traveling further for basic items, likely because many tiny houses are located in more rural areas than where the owners previously lived. According to a separate investigation into the habits and motivations of tiny house dwellers, the majority of downsizers simply kept a storage unit. So, while they had fewer items within an arm’s reach, they hadn’t really committed to a minimalist lifestyle, and they could still support the overflow of their overconsumption. Smarter designs to support sustainability According to Saxton, the results of this study are critical for tiny house designers as well as to influence archaic laws that restrict tiny houses. If tiny house inhabitants truly do live more sustainably, towns and cities should be encouraging residents to make the move. Related: 7 tips for decorating a tiny home Architects and designers of the little abodes can also use the results of the research to integrate designs that address the prohibitive factors causing that 13 percent shift to less sustainable behaviors. For example — how can the kitchens be larger and more functional? How can trash and recycling storage be expanded to accommodate proper sorting of recyclable materials? Despite the tiny trend, housing is growing in size and destruction In 1973, the average house was 1,660 square feet, but by 2017, the average house sold was 2,631 square feet . This represents a 63 percent increase in the average size of a house in just 45 years. Although the tiny house trend skyrocketed among a niche corner of the population in over-industrialized countries, the majority of people still think bigger is better, which comes at a cost to the environment . The construction of oversized houses means loss of natural habitat and biodiversity , including the fragmentation of ecosystems to clear the way for new housing developments. In addition, the carbon footprint of the materials and construction industry is enormous. Commercial and residential buildings together contribute 39 percent of the U.S.’s total carbon emissions. This includes the transportation and sourcing of the building materials, the energy needed for construction and the environmental cost of maintenance. Maybe they are just another trend, but maybe tiny houses can be a small solution to global warming on an individual and community level. At the very least, the research concludes that cities and towns should re-examine existing laws that discourage tiny house dwellers from owning land or remove the wheels to at least allow residents to feel a sense of permanence. One town, Spur, Texas, adjusted its laws and sells itself as the first tiny home town in America. As the trend continues, other towns and cities would be wise to follow suit. Via The Conversation Images via Paul VanDerWerf , Christoph Scholz and Nicolás Boullosa ( 1 , 2 )

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Do people in tiny houses live more sustainably?

Energy-efficient greenhouses surround the new French Open tennis court

August 2, 2019 by  
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Plants from around the world are flourishing in four curved greenhouses in an unexpected place — directly behind the spectator stands of the new Simonne Mathieu tennis court at Roland-Garros, home of the French Open. Designed by the Paris-based studio Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés , the 5,000-seat sunken tennis court not only offers a strikingly modern space for the annual tournament but also offers a visual extension of the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil botanical garden, where the stadium is located. The steel-and-glass greenhouses were built to reference the historical hothouses of the 19th century but feature a modern, energy-efficient design built to the highest technical specifications. Named after the famous tennis player who played at the Roland-Garros in the 1930s, the Simonne Mathieu tennis court is a new venue for hosting the international tennis championships hosted every year in Paris. Taking inspiration from Auteuil’s greenhouses designed by Jean Camille Formige in 1898, Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés introduced new public space around the partially sunken tennis court in the form of four modern, steel-and-glass greenhouses that are visible from the spectator stands. Related: Solar-powered aquaponic greenhouses grow up to 880 lbs of produce each year “These new greenhouses form a glass backdrop, a case within which plants from four continents can flourish,” the architects explained. “They refer to the design of the nearby hothouses and are inspired by, without imitating, architecture in metal that, since the construction of the Crystal Palace in London in 1851, still stands, with its delicate relationship between light and structure, as the perfect model of airiness and economy.” Sheathed in double-pane glass for superior insulation, these curved greenhouses feature flora from the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. A meandering paved pathway traverses each greenhouse. Because the greenhouses are a new addition of public space, they will be accessible to visitors throughout the year, even outside of the two-week French Open tournament. + Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés Via ArchDaily Photography by Erieta Attali via Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés

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Energy-efficient greenhouses surround the new French Open tennis court

Dutch Designer Upcycles Trash into Funky Functional Furniture That Rival IKEA Hacks

May 8, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Dutch Designer Upcycles Trash into Funky Functional Furniture That Rival IKEA Hacks Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: collectables , DIY furniture , Francois Duquesnoy , funky furniture , furniture trash , overconsumption , recycled furniture , trash , trash furniture , upcycled enterior , upcycled furniture , upcycling

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Dutch Designer Upcycles Trash into Funky Functional Furniture That Rival IKEA Hacks

How Do We End Our “Fast Fashion” Addiction? An Interview With “Overdressed” Author Elizabeth L. Cline

July 1, 2012 by  
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Elizabeth L. Cline has spent over three years researching the American fast-fashion industry. The result?  Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion , the insightful story of how we became dependent on fast fashion and built our disposable wardrobes.   Click ahead to check out our interview with Cline, featuring helpful tips on how to break our overconsumption habit. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco-fashion , Elizabeth L. Cline , Ethical Fashion , fast fashion , green fashion , materialism , overconsumption , Overdressed , Sustainable Fashion , sustainable style

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How Do We End Our “Fast Fashion” Addiction? An Interview With “Overdressed” Author Elizabeth L. Cline

This Dude Only Owns 15 Things (Not Counting Underwear)

January 10, 2012 by  
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If one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is to live the simple life, take a tip from Andrew Hyde, a man who only owns 15 things . If you’re thinking that it’s not that difficult to pare down to fifteen items of stuff, chew on the fact that the average woman owns about 20 pairs of shoes alone . Hyde, a popular blogger, start-up founder and conference organizer sold most of his stuff back in 2010 and now travels from city to city – talk about packing light! To be fair, Hyde doesn’t include socks or undies in his count (frankly, we’re relieved) but we still applaud his extreme minimalism. Read on to see the 15 essential items Hyde can’t live without . READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Andrew Hyde , conscious consumption , eco-fashion , Ethical Fashion , green fashion , overconsumption , Sustainable Fashion , sustainable style , voluntary simplicity

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This Dude Only Owns 15 Things (Not Counting Underwear)

Will Bruder’s Colorful Kimball Art Center Proposal is Powered By the Sun & Wind

January 10, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Will Bruder’s Colorful Kimball Art Center Proposal is Powered By the Sun & Wind Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Daylighting , eco design , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green renovation , kimball art center , kimball art center renovation , kimball art center transformation , park city , Solar Power , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , Utah , will bruder , will bruder + partners , wind turbines

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Will Bruder’s Colorful Kimball Art Center Proposal is Powered By the Sun & Wind

Trick, Or Treat? Here Comes Our 7th Billion Human

September 23, 2011 by  
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Trick, Or Treat? Here Comes Our 7th Billion Human

Do Lectures 2011 – What Can You Uniquely Do?

September 23, 2011 by  
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All images by Leonora Oppenheim. Christiana Wyly doing what she can uniquely do. Yesterday I introduced the Do Lectures 2011 with a flash of party glitter from Steve Edge and the statement, Things are not just the way they are . This first emerging theme from the outward bound ideas conference in West Wales last week, reminded us to keep asking difficult questions, challeng… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Do Lectures 2011 – What Can You Uniquely Do?

Mitch Epstein’s Haunting Photos of “American Power” Win the Prix Pictet

March 31, 2011 by  
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Read the rest of Mitch Epstein’s Haunting Photos of “American Power” Win the Prix Pictet http://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/ohttp://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=better_feedptions-general.php?page=better_feed Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: American Power , Growth , Mitch Epstein , overconsumption , Photography , Prix Pictet , Steidl , strip mining , Sustainability

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Mitch Epstein’s Haunting Photos of “American Power” Win the Prix Pictet

Enchanting Japanese “Secret Garden” is a Soothing Rooftop Oasis

March 31, 2011 by  
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Read the rest of Enchanting Japanese “Secret Garden” is a Soothing Rooftop Oasis http://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/ohttp://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=better_feedptions-general.php?page=better_feed Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: beautiful gardens , Chelsea Flower show , eco design , garden oasis , Gardening , green design , green door , green roof , horticultural design , japanese garden , japanese rooftop garden , Kazuyuki Ishihara , Midori no Tobira , rooftop garden , sustainable design

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Enchanting Japanese “Secret Garden” is a Soothing Rooftop Oasis

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