Nov 9, 2014: The benefits of a small home.

A few days ago my darling sister sent me the following link to an article about the arrival of the Tiny House Movement in Australia.

I’d known about the Tiny House Movement from my time living in the states. In fact I met a guy from Seattle whose entire house and office measured just 75 square feet (about 7.5 sq m). I never saw it but obviously that’s a bit extreme. The article above states that “tiny houses are generally smaller than 40 sq m” so the Greeny Flat, at 57 sq m doesn’t qualify as a Tiny House, but given that the average new house size in Australia is now 214 sq m, we are pretty small.

The interesting thing for Cintia and I is that this feels like PLENTY of room for the two of us. The image below shows the basic floor plan of the Greeny Flat. We use the bedroom in the NW corner as our “Master” bedroom and the other one as our dressing room. We also keep a futon sofa bed in the SW bedroom so we can use it as a guest bedroom when we have friends to stay. The small alcove to the south of the living room is our office and the rest is pretty self explanatory.

The room layout of the Greeny Flat.

The room layout of the Greeny Flat.

It definitely took as a little while to adjust to the smaller space and we had to decide which possessions to put away in the garage (or give away). But now that we’ve been in here for six months we’re really starting to appreciate the benefits of a small house. Below are a few quotes from the article mentioned above which summarise some of the advantages. And while they’re talking specifically about “Tiny” houses the same holds true for small ones like the Greeny Flat.

Primarily there is the sustainability point…the major factors that determine a house’s greenhouse gas emissions are its size and location; the bigger and more isolated the house, the larger its emissions“.

“The benefits of tiny houses include overall sustainability, reduced energy and water use (tiny houses are often “off the grid”) and, of course, affordability. Some tiny houses can cost less than A$10,000. Moreover, they use significantly less resources to build, and are often constructed from salvaged materials or sustainably sourced products.

To this list I would add that a small house is much easier and less expensive to heat and cool; much easier and quicker to clean and maintain; and cosier to live in.

All of which adds up to a “Triple Bottom Line” benefit, i.e. a small house is more affordable, better to live in and better for the planet.

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