Self-Sufficiency: How a Tiny Home Could Be the Key to Your Independence
Also called an autonomous home, self-sufficient properties seem to be all the rage these days. With the emergence of the pandemic COVID-19, homeowners have started to look for ways to rely entirely on themselves. It includes their housing, and it is exactly what a tiny home is perfect for.
Tiny homes have become an alternative to expensive and destructive buildings. They do not utilise as many natural resources as a traditional home. It is just one of the ways these smaller houses help in battling climate change. Most tiny homes are ideal for living off-the-grid, and therefore, self-sufficient.
What Makes a Home Self-Sufficient?
Over the years, homeowners have become more aware of how we all impact the environment. From our driving to waste disposal to even the most mundane activities – they all have an effect. Often, these effects result in significant damage that many of us do not even know about.
While technology has become a part of the destruction, it has also helped in discovering ways to promote sustainable living. Eventually, people discovered that designing and building a self-sufficient house is among the ways to minimise our ecological impact.
As the name implies, a self-sufficient home is one that can stand on its own. Therefore, it supplies its own energy and water, among other things. In short, a home is considered self-sufficient when it does not depend on other entities for its other requirements.
At first glance, self-sufficiency means shelling out a large amount of money. Sure, you have to invest some cash, but it will pay off in the end. Also, you do not have to be too concerned about the costs, particularly with a tiny home. It is a much more affordable solution. You can even have the house completed quicker than a traditional dwelling.
How is a Tiny Home Self-Sufficient?
Tiny homes are the ultimate choice when it comes to living a simple and green lifestyle. However, because of the recent changes, particularly with lockdowns and quarantine restrictions, people had to find ways to cope. Thankfully, tiny homes are built for this way of living.
Tiny houses are designed by considering the goals and requirements of the homeowners. At the same time, they should also be configured based on the location and climate of the area. These houses may be small, but they are smart and self-sustaining.
Usually, these dwellings have one room with a pull-out bed or a complete loft. They would have hidden storage and amenities that have been condensed to fit the entire space. Kitchens and bathrooms are a part of the plan, but their sizes are limited to maximise the living area.
But making the house self-sufficient is more than just about the size. If you aim to have an autonomous tiny home, be sure to communicate your plans with the builder. A reliable builder will create a design that can incorporate self-sufficiency with your preferences.
Having an autonomous house means using different systems that work well together. For example, if you want to take advantage of geothermal cooling and heating, you can combine the system with the following:
Solar power is one of the best sources for off-the-grid heating. It involves the use of solar panels and an efficient inverter. The roof of your tiny home, however, should be free from any obstructions. This way, the panels work excellently to capture the sun’s rays and warmth for energy conversion.
The tiny house should also be positioned at the correct angle. It is essential during colder or rainy months where the sun does not make a regular appearance.
Solar heating is used with other methods, including appropriate window positioning for catching the sun during winter. Conduction may also be used as a distribution mechanism. It allows the transfer of heat throughout the entire house. Because of the size, this dwelling does not require a ton of panels and high capacity inverter, as well as other heating sources.
Many homeowners forget about the benefits of insulation. Autonomous houses require heavy insulation, which works well with an airtight surrounding. This design enables it to transfer air both inside and outside, leading to a much more comfortable temperature in the house.
Passive heating works when windows are positioned correctly. The house should be heavily insulated as well to keep it warm during winter. Your builder will ensure the awnings are well-placed, which will allow the sun to bounce off the house during the summer. Additionally, it will get the right amount of light and air.
Many tiny homes have passive lighting, too. Lights can, of course, be generated through electricity. However, passive lighting is all about positioning once again. The windows should catch ample daylight while the sun is in the sky. This way, the house will not require energy during the daytime.
When light is required, solar-powered LED lights are the best options. Wind and hydro are also great power sources for the lights. LEDs emit less heat, which lowers the temperature indoors.
Tiny homes can be surrounded by a garden, too. Instead of relying on local water companies, a hydroponic garden seems to be a great option. The houses can also rely on other methods to help tend to other needs that do not require potable water. One example is through collecting rainwater for flushing the toilet.
The site location also plays a vital role in the success of a tiny home’s self-sufficiency. It is nearly as important as the other systems, especially if you plan to use solar. In this case, the house should be positioned correctly so it can capture the sun’s power as efficiently as possible. Meanwhile, houses that will utilise wind power or those with a passive design should consider the climate in the area.
Another is through the layout of the home’s interiors. Passive homes, for example, rely on the occupants’ body heat as they walk up and down the stairs.
Two Main Options for a Self-Sufficient Tiny Home
Living in a tiny home does not mean you have to sacrifice your comfort and preferred style. It is a balancing act between your housing goals and living a sustainable lifestyle. There are two primary ways to obtain a self-sufficient tiny house:
Choose a ready-made solution.
The key here is communication. Simply talk to the builder about having a self-sufficient home. The good news is that it is easy to customise a tiny home that you like if it is not designed for autonomous living yet.
The roofs are already sturdy to accommodate solar panels and perhaps a rainwater collection system as well. Plus, the windows have the correct sizing and positioning. Therefore, the road to self-sufficiency is easier to achieve with a tiny dwelling than with a traditional home.
Your builder can have design options ready for you, which is a house created to be entirely off the grid. For instance, the floor plan can have a spacious layout with insulated walls and ceiling. LED lights and reverse cycle air conditioning may be included as well.
Despite being predesigned, you can still customise the house to your heart’s content. You still get to decide the outcome of the design.
Opt for DIY.
For homeowners who want to take over the design process, a pre-made shell is the best option. It includes the necessities to build a home, including exterior walls, siding, and roof. However, you get to choose the path it will take to achieve the result you want.
Even better, you can get assistance from professionals, mainly when living with off-the-grid power. Your options will depend on where you want the tiny house to be. In Perth, where sunshine is available 147 days a year, solar seems to be the most accessible power source.
The best part is that you do not have to worry about approvals from the state and city authorities. The house is more durable as well because design issues are addressed early on.
Tiny homes and self-sufficiency go hand in hand. These dwellings have a lower carbon footprint than traditional houses and have reduced energy costs. You can even live a bill-free lifestyle if you wish, creating the financial freedom that many other homeowners desire.