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Tiny Home Movement
There is an estimated 10,000 people living in Tiny Homes in the US alone. Their reach has grown rapidly amongst downsizing retirees, starter home-seeking couples and minimalist young people. Tiny homes are great for those looking to get out of the bustling and congested cities and get back in touch with nature and more rural areas.
Additionally, the sustainable living homes are beneficial for their lower price points, lower construction material waste production, reduction of carbon footprint, and a significant reduced energy consumption. With an estimated 40% of harmful emissions coming from buildings, these sustainable living spaces are just what the world needs right now.
The 2013 Netflix documentary Tiny and the subsequent 2014 series Tiny House Nation spread awareness of these small dwellings and the positive environmental impact they can have. It gave people insight on the benefits of the tiny house lifestyle and how downsizing and decluttering can possibly lead to a happier life, while ultimately leading to a better environment. However, even further back we’ve had media and cultural outlets discussing Tiny Homes, such as Jay Shafer (The Godfather of Tiny Houses)’s 1999 book The Small House Book. Shafer would later go on to found the Tumbleweed Tiny House company and focus on social justice and housing rights. Even earlier, some trace the idea of the Tiny House back to 19th Century US naturalist and essayist Henry David Thoreau’s 1854 book Walden, which was a meditation on simple living in natural surroundings.
With the Tiny House movement’s popularity on the rise, it has been championed by the likes of Tesla chief and multi-billionaire, Elon Musk, when he rented one in Boca Chica, Texas while working on his SpaceX Venture. This is just one example of the many sustainable lifestyles birthed from the Tiny Home movement.
Living large comes at a big price. Despite efforts made to recycle scraps and materials, building a traditional home is just an unfeasible detriment to the environment. Construction waste contributes to 40% of the solid waste found in the US, according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Extra materials are ordered, weathered materials are thrown out, plans change and construction has to adapt and completely change a fixture that was already built. An immeasurable number of factors contribute to construction costs rising and the amount of waste growing.
A study by the National Association of Home Builders has found that an estimated 8,000lbs of waste material can be sent to a landfill from building a single 2,000 square foot home. Construction of the home is already a dauntingly time-consuming task, and recycling, while necessary, can be impractical and time consuming considering the number of materials that would need to be sifted through and disposed of properly.
So how do we cut these costs and do better by our world? How do we diminish our carbon footprint to live a more sustainable lifestyle?
Sustainability is the idea that everything we need for survival and our well-being depends, in some way, shape or form, on our natural environment. We live on this planet as extensions of it, yet have been treating it as if it is a renewable entity that can be hard reset anytime we like. Instead, we have a planet that is rapidly decaying by the actions we take to live comfortably. What we really need is to create an environment where humans and nature can exist in harmony and be preserved for future generations to come.
On January 1st, 1970, the National Environmental Policy Act was signed. Under this new law, federal agencies would be required to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. This national policy was declared, “to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”
NEPA and sustainable efforts are spearheaded by citizens of sustainable communities across the US, as well as stakeholders in the fight for sustainability and energy consciousness.
A sustainable lifestyle is a necessary element of our progression forward because of energy, food and man-made resources we utilize every day. This, combined with rapid population growth is leading to the steady decline of the environment.
Economic Sustainability and Environmental Sustainability
When looking at sustainability, we are able to break down this idea into factions, two of which are economic sustainability and environmental sustainably.
Economic sustainability is the practice of developing long-term economic growth, that won’t negatively impact social, environmental and cultural aspects of society. This includes economic growth that doesn’t negatively impact cultural elements. Some ways businesses contribute to climate change and bars them from reaching economic sustainability is by burning fossil fuels, creating food waste or by leveraging harmful manufacturing methods.
A lot of businesses attempt to make things easier for the consumer and fulfill product demands by making the production of goods cheaper; which in turn is actually a worse environmental impact. This is why material selection is so crucial in the process of fabricating homes.
Environmental sustainability is about creating a more equal and harmonized way of life for humans as well as the environment. This sustainable lifestyle requires of us to live without unnecessarily depleting natural resources, and that starts at home.
The Modular Home
The architecture industry has been working profusely to combat the environmental effects of home construction with a prefabricated home called a modular system. This cheaper, more environmentally friendly solution is built in a factory, and assembled at the construction site. The packaged home is ready to assemble with walls, panels, doors, windows and flooring, all constructed onto a pre-built foundation.
In addition to their cost-efficient production, modular homes are highly customizable, allowing a homeowner to use similar styled blocks of home to add in multiple configurations, crafting their own unique abode.
Some benefits of constructing a modular home:
- Because the home is built in a factory, the process is significantly faster due to construction never having to halt due to poor weather.
- Limits amount of waste by constructing multiple projects at once, therefore any excess waste from one project can easily be applied to another.
- Due to indoor labor, factory fabricated homes can be worked on around the clock, unlike onsite construction that must halt after dark or due to inclement weather.
Not That Kind of Pi
Where an energy efficient solution meets a sleek, luxurious and space saving design—you’ll find the Pi Home. Mexican Modern architecture professor, Miguel Angel Aragonés, and Taller Aragonés debuted the prototype of a luxury modular home in the wooded hillside of Mexico City, called “Casa Pi”. The translated acronym is short for “Intelligent Prefabricated”. The goal was to transform the housing model in search of a more pro-active home solution with a greater concentration on its environmental impact. The design stems from the idea of creating a modular constructive system that was sustainable, high in quality, would accelerate construction times and improve acoustic and thermal performance as well as reducing construction costs and waste.
The Pi home, while taking up a small amount of space is great for single family home. The consolidated building combines the structure with the furniture and is a “piece of furniture you can live in—a livable object”.
The Pi home is fabricated from lightweight extrusion-die aluminum framing. Aluminum rapidly gained popularity when it showed up at the beginning of the 20th century. It is one of the most widely recyclable metals and chosen for its lightness and durability; and this Swiss patented design has been praised for the first-of-its-kind aluminum structure.
The home’s walls and joists thermal and waffle insulation system meets California’s high R22 sustainability standard, offering complete thermal break to prevent leakage of heat through the structure. The walls and floors are fabricated from MDF (medium density fiberboard) and the insulation between the exterior cladding and interior walls ensures a high energy efficient rating. The Thermal-acoustic system reduces energy consumption to achieve your desired comfort level, whether or not a central AC is used.
At the exterior of the structure is a rear curtain wall system that opens to an outdoor patio raised above the surrounding landscape—a perfect place to install a Panda HSW system or TS.X0 for an uninterrupted view of the nature you’ve been looking to get in touch with.
This ultralight, adjustable, innovative, low maintenance build has comprehensive quality and is perfect for your next home away from home, or forever home. These units start at about $30,000 for a 55 sqm house.
Whether designing a dream home, constructing a commercial enterprise, or refurbishing an older building, steel windows and doors offer durability and elegance that is simply unmatched. Unlike the more conventional wood, fiberglass, or vinyl alternatives, the sleek, crisp lines of steel make a bold statement that inspires warmth, creativity, and innovation.
NEWS: Panda Windows & Doors to Distribute Tuval Minimal Premium Steel Windows and Doors in North America
“Tuval Minimal has been internationally known as the finest designer and supplier of premium steel-framed windows and doors for over 20 years, and we’re excited to introduce them in North America”.
The outdoor patio door trends of 2022 are focusing on oversized sliding and folding patio doors. Oversized patio doors have myriad benefits. They allow in expansive amounts of daylight, fresh air, access to sweeping views, and flexibility for moving in and out with large pieces of furniture, crowds, or food.