Are you ready for a tiny house?
Small, sustainable & cheap: tiny houses are a real alternative to living in an apartment complex in the age of gentrification & rent increases. But opinions are mixed. While many can imagine living in a tiny house, for others it seems like living in a garden shed. Does this new concept stand a chance?
We need more & more space
Globalization and digitalization are accelerating our daily lives. We have to optimize & negotiate everything so that it’s higher, quicker, bigger. Many people are looking for some stability & are finding it by owning a house. But even these houses have grown tremendously in size, in a reflexion of our own society & lifestyles. The paradox: innovation in the areas of energy efficiency for buildings evaporates when we continue to increase the square footage per person in our houses.
Our prosperity continues to grow, and with that, our appetite to consume. And that means that we need space to store our goods. How long have you wanted to clean out all the stuff in your attic or cellar?
The Small House Movement
The anti-movement to consumerism, and also against the housing industry has made its way here to Germany from the U.S. The small house movement got started during the financial crisis & is now more than small, ugly shacks or converted, rusty train compartments. Today’s small houses have modern designs, innovative interiors & environmentally friendly technology.
Everything must fit into 40 square meters or less to be considered „tiny“, but most tiny houses are much smaller. That saves a lot of money. But even more important: when you decide to buy a tiny house, you are making a statement that you are ecologically & socially aware. Downsizing becomes the principal. Brands like Apple, Nike or Tesla have shown how this works with their lifestyle products.
Next to the savings that tiny houses bring, they also help to save the environment. And that begins with their production. They are generally built with mostly natural materials & renewable resources. In comparison to the energy needed to build a conventional house, builders can save enough energy with a tiny house to also cover the heating needs for an entire year. If you were to build a one hundred square meter energy efficient house, you could also heat a mini house for a hundred winters with the savings.
And because the energy needs of these little wonders are so small, they can often generate independently without any problems. Electricity can come from solar panels on the roof, which flows into a battery, in case it’s needed later. Barrels can collect rain water, which can be used to run the toilets.
Perfect for Single-Households und Adventurers
In big cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Munich, every second household is a single household. With urbanization, this trend will continue. For singles, the extremely flexible living situation combined with the comparatively small credit that’s needed to pay off a tiny house makes it a good alternative. There are models that start at 20,000 Euro. The more that you do it yourself, the less expensive that it becomes. Another advantage: depending on where you put it, you can even have a garden! And you can forget about stress with your neighbors or landlord.
For everyone who ever dreamed about taking a long roadtrip, tiny houses are the perfect choice. You can mount it onto a trailer and you’re off! The seaside, the forest or a beautiful mountain view could be your new address.
A little bureaucracy
The tiny house trend has made it over to Europe. On Facebook or Youtube are numerous fan pages, creative tips and vloggers who have turned their dream into reality and are documenting their tiny house lives in a video diary.Tiny houses are part of the Zeitgeist. But in Germany, there are a lot of rules that you have to follow, including additional building codes and permits, which cost money and need time to process.
But despite all this, the concept continues to grow in urban areas. Berlin has started a model project with the goal of creating living areas with rents around 100€ per month. For that amount, you could get the tiniest of tiny houses with just seven square meters, but everything you need under one roof. We can look positively into the future to see if this concept will stand the test of time.