As climate change affects more and more of the world, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Glacier National Park, people are becoming more aware of the effects of their lifestyles and making changes to try to do their part. For some, that means small steps, such as carrying around a collapsible straw.
Others, meanwhile, are going the extra mile, giving up typical home expectations and living in tiny homes instead – and it’s having a proven positive environmental impact. The great thing is that there are more ways to make tiny homes environmentally friendly, in the building process and beyond.
If you’re a tiny home owner (or soon to be one), here are a few ideas to get you started on the path of green tiny living.
Build With Reusable Materials
If this is your first foray into the tiny lifestyle, you’re probably still planning the design and layout of your perfect tiny home. In that process, consider what materials are being used to construct your tiny home, and opt for those that are the greenest. Maybe that means searching for a builder that is environmentally conscious, maybe it’s Dumpster diving for materials on your own. (Disclaimer: we definitely do not recommend Dumpster diving).
Challenge yourself to see if your tiny home can be entirely made of reusable sources. Even if it can’t, seeking out materials that are recycled and sparing them the fate of ending up in a landfill ensures your tiny home starts out on the right — green! — foot.
Use Renewable Energy
Along with reusable materials, think about how you’re generating energy. Since you won’t be using nearly as much energy to heat and cool your tiny house as you would in a traditional home, renewable sources such as solar panels are a way to not just minimize your home’s CO2 emissions, but remove them entirely! Depending on the environment you’re in, you can also think about adding a wind turbine or utilizing local water sources.
Work With the Environment
One benefit of tiny homes is that they fit essentially everywhere. If you’re building in an area with an abundance of greenery, don’t just level the trees. Instead, find a space that requires minimal adjusting.
Even better, think about how the already-existing plant life can help with your aesthetic and comfort. Maybe that elm tree will provide natural shade from the afternoon sun, or that red twig dogwood shrub will make a perfect Instagram background all year long.
Another way to embrace Mother Nature is to grow your own garden. Whether it’s a few herbs or a multitude of vegetables, tending your own garden can save you money and help the environment.
Bring in the Outdoors
There are plenty of ways bring nature inside, too. Consider purchasing environmentally conscious furniture for your new tiny home. Not ready for a new couch? Think about bringing plants indoors to help with air filtering. This one is a win-win, since you’re improving your health while also supporting the environment.
Take it to the Extreme
If these all feel like baby steps and you’re ready to be a major environmental superhero, your tiny home can help you do that, too. Not only will you get to work for and with the environment, but if you’re a Bear Grylls or TRON fanatic, you might even fulfill a dream. What exactly are we talking about? Going off-grid.
Living off the grid inherently means living with less, which is one thing tiny homes are all about. Finding a renewable energy source and growing your own food, two popular trends in tiny living, are major steps toward this, since you eschew public utilities.
Other elements you’ll need to think about before totally unplugging are what water source you’ll rely on, how you’ll remove waste, and what sort of environment you’ll be living in. Ready to get started? We’ve got one final piece of advice.
Recognizing that you’re in a small space, and adjusting your lifestyle and habits accordingly, is the most important step on the list. Don’t expect to do a complete 180 to tiny, eco-friendly living if you’re used to the comforts of modern amenities.
Whether you install solar panels, start bringing reusable shopping bags with you everywhere you go, or simply rely on the sun to light and warm your space, there are small steps you can take every single day to live a greener life.
Have you got any green living ideas that we missed? Tell us in the comments below, or tag us on Instagram @NewHomeSource!
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.