Small Living in Small Homes is Earth Friendly and Inexpensive

Living in a home the size of a storage shed sounds more like a nightmare than the American dream. But cleverly designed “small dwellings” are becoming common among eco-friendly homeowners. Sometimes smaller than the typical bedroom in the average home, the space-efficient design of these small houses appeal to both conservationists and minimalists.

Unlike the McMansions and postage stamp lawns that dot suburban landscaping, these space-saving houses are often just 150 square feet and rest on enough acreage for a small state park. To maximize living space, the homeowners spend most of their time outdoors, and indoor space is cleverly utilized. Many possess outdoor cooking and entertaining facilities, and the homes’ tiny galley-style kitchens, loft beds and camper-size bathrooms are designed for utmost space efficiency.

As to be expected, the shelters offer a variety of earth and energy preservation benefits. Fewer resources are used in the production and transportation of building materials. The dwellings are energy-efficient, requiring very little cooling or heating expense, and less money and time is needed for maintenance. The small space forces the homeowner to live a minimalist lifestyle with fewer unnecessary possessions, automatically creating a lower level of consumption.

Moreover, the modest price tag of a small dwelling–as little as $8,500 for a 100 square foot home–means the homeowner can allocate more cash toward the purchase of additional land, which can then be sustained through preservation efforts.

Unique versions of these homes are available for the individual with special needs or eclectic tastes. There are dome-shaped houses that resemble cartoon igloos, tree houses for those who prefer to live above ground, and portable homes for the one-the-go traveler. Many small dwelling companies offer do-it-yourself kits or house plans for those who prefer to build their own home. Others specialize in environmentally sound materials and practices.

These diminutive homes may not be practical in every region or for every household. Acreage is required to create a sense of spaciousness that the shelter alone does not provide. Moderate temperatures are necessary to facilitate cooking and dining outdoors. Small living demands a certain lifestyle that does not always suit individual needs and preferences.

Nonetheless, people who hope reduce their environmental impact and levels of consumption may want to examine the sleek, efficient design of these small, space-saving shelters. Even a reduction in dwelling size from 2,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet will make a significant impact on the amount of resources required to build and maintain a home.

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