The average house size has increased substantially in recent decades, and in response, there is a growing movement of people seeking alternatives to large, expensive, and energy-intensive housing. Australia currently holds the record for the country with the largest homes; the average size of a new Australian house increased from 162.2 square metres (1,742 sq feet) in 1984 to 227.6 square metres (2,444 sq feet) in 2003. The average new Australian home is now 10% bigger than even its U.S. equivalent.(1) Australia is closely followed by the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand for having homes either over or just under 200 metres squared (2,200 sq feet). In contrast, there are a number of countries with significantly smaller homes as the standard, such as: Germany (109 m2), Japan (95 m2), Sweden (83 m2), UK (76 m2), China (60 m2) and Hong Kong (45 m2).
While the trend over the last decade has been for larger homes, the tiny house movement is becoming popular among those wishing to be more sustainable and wanting to live simpler, less consumerist lifestyles. The small house movement is about reducing the overall size of dwellings to less than 1,000 square feet, or approximately 93 square metres. Following the Global Financial Crisis and Hurricane Katrina, both of which helped spark interest in the small home movement, there is a small but growing younger demographic moving towards living with less. While still a relatively minor sector, the tiny house market is set to see more interest over the coming decades. As housing affordability deteriorates in tandem with economic conditions, people will seek alternative ways of living. (2)
One such couple who have embraced the tiny house movement with their passion and skills are Jola and Justin from New Zealand. They have combined the functional and practical with quirky and fun, creating a three level road-worthy house truck replete with its own turrets! The 40 square meter “Castle” truck is an engineering masterpiece. It includes biofold doors, a loft, a rooftop bathtub, a large food dehydrator, and a full working kitchen complete with oven cook top and refrigerator. The bathroom facilities include a shower (within one of the turrets) and composting toilet (in the other turret) and a washing machine. Solar panels pull out to provide power for the family and recycled materials have been used throughout the vehicle. (3)
Don’t just take my word for it – see for yourself what the team over at Living Big in a Tiny House has done to showcase this tremendous engineering achievement.
Excerpts from Rethink…Your world, Your future.
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