While I may have a Tiny Lifestyle blog, I have always been trying to really hone in on what the Tiny Lifestyle truly is. It is more than just owning a tiny house; it is a culmination of many things which leads us to a life which addresses human needs that we find are absent in our lives. It’s seeking more time, discovering ourselves and loved ones. It’s getting back in touch with nature; I would even go as far as saying there is a spiritual side to it as well.
I feel that the course we are going on as humans isn’t sustainable in both ecological and psychological terms. With so many humans on this earth we are feeling cramped, we lack room to roam, time to be and other needs of the human condition. What does this all have to do with Urbanism?
Like I said the way we live today isn’t sustainable in many ways, we must rethink, reengineer and adjust our behaviors. With 6.5+ billion people on this world urbanism will happen and we have to be smart about it.
So today I want to share these a few videos (if you only watch one, take time for the first it’s phenomenal) about building better. There are many people who are part of the Tiny House Movement that do so in an urban setting. For those of you whom are a bit more remote, while these things talk about cities and urban area, there are undoubtedly gems we can gleam. Whether these ideas are used to develop your community, your own tract of land or a small community of tiny houses, these ideas are invaluable for the backwoods or cities alike.
While this isn’t a traditional Tiny Home, I really loved the modern feel and of course the insane water catchment potential and look of this roof. This house is still about 1,200 square feet smaller than a typical American home. You can see several large tanks off the back of the house which is used to collect rain water from the roof. One square foot of roof can yield ½ a gallon of water from 1 inch of rain. So roughly estimating for this roof, one inch of rain yields over 1200 gallons of water!
The house is also cleverly designed to have an upper roof as primary shelter and sun shade and then there is a roof on the actually home’s structure. This is brilliant because the main roof is topped with highly reflective metal, reducing heat absorption. Then there is an air space between the main roof and the home’s roof to prevent any transference of heat to the home itself. The space allows wind to cool both sides of the upper roof and keeps you cool below.
Jeff and Arlene have been sharing some great info about how they are approaching their tiny house in terms of wiring.
Before we get into it, a quick lesson:
Volt is the measurement for “force” behind a electrical current
Amp is the amount of energy in a electrical current
Watt is the amount of energy something uses (Volts x Amps)
They first determined what they use:
Its always good to design your electrical system to handle more than you think you will need for two reasons. First is that if you do need a lil extra umph, you have it. The second is a safety concern. A system that is strained is a potential danger for fire, overload and other really really bad things.
I would always recommend installing a small circuit breaker between your power source and your home, this is a bit overkill, but it protects your investment and the things and people you care about. Of course make sure you use electrical plugs with a breaker built into them in near the sink and in the bathroom.
Another interesting idea that I have found address the issue of the limitation of wall sockets / electrical plugs. Namely there is only two sockets. A Japanese (which I couldn’t figure out their company name) had came up with a design to address this, its called Node. I could ramble on about it but a picture is worth a thousand words and its brilliant!
The Tiny Lifestyle affords us to living in the moment, to enjoy life unburdened by not having to vacuum 6000 square feet, to have to get a second job to make the mortgage payment this month. You are able to focus on the two most important things: your relationship with others and yourself. Its about being able to take time for important things in your life, to do what matters most and pursue your passions.
For some time now I have been aware of “The Slow Movement” which touts taking time to savor whatever you are doing. The two main groups that have really jumped on board with this are travel and food.
The Slow Food movement and the Slow Travel Movement are all about taking the time to really enjoy, living in the moment and developing connections with others. Slow food movement was obviously a response to Fast Food. In the US 1/3 of Americans eat Fast Food every single day. The main reason is because its convenient and easy. For those of you who don’t know I am 25, and I can easily say that 90% of everyone my age that I know don’t know how to cook a simple meal. A friend of mine who had been living for several years on their own, I had to teach how to boil pasta…. No…..I’m not even kidding.
There is obviously a strong case for having small house, its affordable, its simple, its well…allot of things. But one thing that hadn’t occurred to me as of yet was that a Tiny home is ethical. How so? In a world of finite resources, we are using more and more of natural resources, well beyond our fair share and not accounting for generations to come. In the past 10 years, Americans have consumed conservatively 25% of the world’s natural resources! Now do that math which means in 30 more years, we will be out of wood, coal, oil, minerals and folks, that’s something we are going to see in our lifetime.
So living Tiny means we use much less resources, thus reducing our impact on the world. While I don’t expect so many people to selling off their mansions and living in 100 square feet, I foresee a strong trend to downsizing.
Tree Huger has a great article on this saying
When I hear the question, “Can large homes be green?,” I think the questioner is really asking, “Is it right for some people use more resources — live in big homes — when they could live in smaller homes like the rest of us?” That question is not really about green building; it’s more about moral or social equity