Five Small Homes to Reduce Carbon Footprint

A family of four spends 10 days camping in a tent that is about 5 m2 (54 ft2) and yet lives in a home that is roughly 110 m2 (1180 ft2).  Would we be happier in a smaller home?

All around the world there is a growing movement of people embracing the idea that for them less home might mean more life. Their motivations may be financial, environmental or even spiritual, but they are all testing the benefits of the same principle: less.

People are pioneering living with less, in particular how less space and less stuff can create more freedom and more time.

While average house size continues to swell in most countries around the world, some folk are bucking the trend by living in small and even tiny homes. For each of these people that journey started with inspiration, so in today’s post I though I’d list 5 small homes that make me wonder . . . could small be beautiful for me?

1) The Life Edited Apartment: 39 m2 (420 ft2)

When you think about a small home it easy to default to gable roofed wooden homes on wheels.  But there is perhaps more serious potential for epic small apartments that make the most of limited city spaces.  That is the philosophy behind Graham Hill’s Life Edited Apartment.  The idea got so much traction it launched a business.

Read more at The Life Edited Apartment

2) Broadhurst’s The Crib 23 m2 (250 ft2)

This design concept is by Broadhurst Architects.  It is obviously designed as a type of weekend shack and in that sense feels decadent.  But one could do worse than live in something like this.

Read more at The Crib

3) Macy Miller’s Minimotives 22 m2 (230 ft2)

The real heart of the tiny house movement isn’t populated by famous architects and developers, it’s about DIY dreamers.  Some of these dreamers are great bloggers too, invite you in to understand the guts of their life project.  Macy Miller’s Minimotives blog has a TinyHousers resource.

Read more at Minimotives

4) ÁBATON’s Portable House: 27 m2 (290 ft2)

This small home sticks on the back of the truck by Spanish Architect’s ÁBATON speaks volumes.  It doesn’t use vertical space that much, nor is it rocking ingenious storage.  It is just beautiful design embodying the best of simplicity.  

Read more at ÁBATON

5) Renzo Piano’s Diogene: 7.5 m2 (81 ft2)

Vitra Campus Renzo Piano Pavillion

Architects are a peculiar breed.  Many of them seem to have an almost monastic calling to reduce a form down to its simplest block.  Even though his office designs some of the most iconic buildings in the world Renzo Piano has found time to realize a student dream that tests the limits of minimal.  Diogene is a remarkable little off grid building that includes a pull-out sofa; folding table, shower, toilet and kitchen.

Tiny, small or just smaller?

The bigger your house the more it costs, the more time it takes to clean and the more stuff you get to fill it.  Tiny living does not yet have much broad appeal.  Yet people could benefit from experimenting with less on some level. If these still look crazy tiny to you check these Passive Houses.

Lindsay Wilson
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I founded Shrink That Footprint in November 2012, after a long period of research. For many years I have calculated, studied and worked with carbon footprints, and Shrink That Footprint is that interest come to life.

I have an Economics degree from UCL, have previously worked as an energy efficiency analyst at BNEF and continue to work as a strategy consultant at Maneas.  I have consulted to numerous clients in energy and finance, as well as the World Economic Forum.

When I’m not crunching carbon footprints you’ll often find me helping my two year old son tend to the tomatoes, salad and peppers growing in our upcycled greenhouse.

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