Urbanization and desire to dwell in the city, close to all amenities have led to the outcome of shrinking houses. The study shows average UK home has almost reduced to half the size it used to be in previous centuries. Builders are opting for creating small living spaces so more and more people can afford and own a house in the capital cities.
Yes, the water stream & the surrounding woods near these abodes are missing but this new age space efficient living is designed so that we can protect our forest areas with minimal invasion to the natural resources.
Here is an Infographic from Flexispace, which divulges some incredibly small homes developed in the bare minimum area as well as the pros & cons of living in the petite homes.
There’s been some really interesting coverage lately of ‘tiny homes’. They’re frugal, sustainable and use fewer natural resources than their larger equivalents. Nevertheless, most of us at some stage in our lives want more space – an overspill area for children, hobbies, or a home business; a few more square meters of space that can make all the difference to family harmony, career aspirations or general well being.
House extension versus timber garden room
Building a traditional extension is expensive and time-consuming. And if you’re using concrete, cement and other new materials, it’s not particularly eco-friendly.
An alternative that’s easier on your wallet and the environment is a timber garden room. DIY titans may be able to build their own with recycled and salvaged materials. The rest of us, with less time, skills and DIY self-confidence, have a huge choice of flatpack garden rooms and summer houses.
If you can’t use reclaimed materials for your garden room, buy it from a company that uses wood from sustainably managed forests. Online suppliers such as GardenLife Log Cabins have a wide choice of garden buildings using sustainable timber, to suit all budgets and plot sizes.
You should also look out for businesses and products with the FSC certification, as these comply with high environmental standards for growing and harvesting forests and woodlands, ensuring they are not cut faster than they are replaced. FSC certification also requires companies to meet social and economic standards, designed to maintain local communities’ rights of ownership and long-term economic well-being.
As well as choosing a garden room over a bricks and mortar extension, there are othergreen choices you can make when constructing and maintaining a timber garden building:
What about environmentally friendly foundations?
Rather than using a concrete base, consider an eco-friendly gravel grid system. These use recycled plastic grids for the base of the building, with gravel providing extra stability and drainage. They allow excellent ventilation and water drainage, so they’re very low-maintenance as well as green.
Using FSC-certified timber decking for the base of your garden room is also a green solution. However, decking may not be suitable for larger buildings, and, even when pressure-treated, requires regular maintenance and wood treatment.
Are eco-friendly wood treatments available?
All timber buildings need wood preservative treatment to protect against insects, UV rays and water. However, there are concerns about the possible side-effects of conventional solvent and oil-based wood treatments, including harm to bees and other wildlife, and contamination of plants. Whilst there are a number of suggestions for natural wood protection, including linseed oil, salt, soy and alcohol, there is much debate about their efficacy – for example, they may protect against insect attack, but not mildew.
There are however commercial water-based wood treatments, which are friendlier to plants and animals than petroleum- and metals-based preservatives. Hannants and Valhalla Wood Preservatives, for example, both market non-toxic water-based wood treatments online (which are available in ready to mix powder form).
What about heating a garden room?
The traditional British summer house can be damp and draughty in winter time. But that’s the traditional version. Many garden rooms are nowadays intended for all-year-round use. Look for the following features, which will greatly reduce the need to heat the building, and therefore keep down energy usage:
- timber walls with a log thickness of 44mm (or more) offer excellent insulation against heat loss and draughts.
- slow-grown Nordic timber offers greater insulation and durability than fast-grown timber because the wood is denser.
- double-glazed windows greatly reduce heat loss and draughts
- positioning the cabin to catch the low rays of the winter sun will also make it warmer all year-year-round.
The perfect finishing touch
A timber garden room is a clear winner when it comes to adding space and value to your own, and it's definitely a much greener alternative (not to mention considerably cheaper) that a traditional house extension. For the perfect finish, you should consider a sedum, or living roof. A living green roof can reduce heat loss, take CO2 out of the air, and provide a habitat for insects. It can look amazing too, however, please do check with the supplier whether your chosen garden building would be strong enough to support one.
Tiny home real estate is a progressive form of green real estate that is making some serious progress here in 2013. Not only is it a viable option financially in many cases, but this real estate sector is proving to be extremely earth-friendly.
The decreased environmental footprint, coupled with the uniqueness and endless possibilities of these homes make them an interesting option for people from all communities. They’re not for everyone, but neither is anything else.
Below are a few unique styles of tiny homes and why they’re an interesting idea to read about, if not actually to explore for a living situation.
1. Shipping container design
A really progressive and increasingly popular design for a tiny home is based around the use of shipping containers. Often seen by the average person in large export and import locations, the containers are becoming a staple in this niche of real estate. The benefit is that they are simple and easy to manipulate for the sake of expansion or downsize. They are relatively easy to alter directly to the owner’s needs.
Another reason that this form of tiny home is highly popular right now is because they are very inexpensive. Some find them for $1,000, and it’s assumed that lower prices could be negotiated because of their simplicity.
Why it’s an idea to consider:
Tiny homes, specifically ones constructed from shipping containers, are extremely efficient and available. There are so many shipping containers around the world that are bound to end up in landfill or recycled for future use. It’s a serious opportunity to consider. One downfall of this particular design is that it would clearly require insulation for climates out of the “mild” category.
2. Cobb design
Cobb homes have been in our society for a long time but are often under recognized, particularly within the modern real estate world. However, they are an extremely viable option when it comes to building a small dwelling. There are many advantages of this structure design:
– Extremely cheap
– Entirely sustainable minus doors and windows
– Can be built by hand without an architecture degree
– Foster creative designs as ninety degree angles aren’t necessary
Why it’s an idea to consider:
Cobb-style tiny homes are a very, very sustainable option for real estate that doesn't have any major disadvantages where small properties are concerned. Similar to most other tiny homes, meeting zoning and property requirements is the toughest obstacle.
3. Tree fort style
Many people have the urge to live out in the forest or even up in a tree, and it’s actually possible to build real estate that’s lofted above the ground. Admittedly a little bit less practical than the first two examples, this form of tiny home is also more difficult when zoning is concerned. However, it’s still viable and many people have carried the project out with much success.
Building a tiny home in a lofted way within a forest or some other environment is a way for people to feel at peace with their surroundings, with no major disadvantages other than possible accessibility issues.
Why it’s an idea to consider:
Tree fort style tiny homes are a unique option to consider for real estate. They won’t be as cheap as a cobb or shipping container design and would be slightly less practical, but they definitely don’t lack in creative potential. This model would most likely be best suited for a second home.
The tiny home revolution is in full force right now. People are challenging the socially constructed view of ideal real estate and flocking to smaller, more sustainable properties. Again, tiny homes are not for everyone. They serve a specific purpose while simultaneously limiting our environmental impact. If nothing else, this sector of real estate is worth reading about.