Simply by living in substantially less square footage, you’re earning an impressive amount of eco cred. Buildings alone account for 39 percent of all of the carbon pollution in the United States. But by following this earth-friendly advice, you might eventually erase your tiny home’s carbon footprint entirely.
Dodge Those Drafts
Even if your space is much smaller than the average home, you can still waste tons of energy (and money) by allowing your air conditioning and heating to escape through cracks around your windows and doors. Go to town with weather stripping to seal your house up tight. Even better: install energy-efficient windows.
Think About Your Toilet
Standard toilets use 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Upgrade to a model with the EPA’s WaterSense label, and you can cut that by up to 60 percent. But if you want to be really green (and brave), buy or DIY a composting toilet, which uses no water at all — and produces nutrient-rich soil to boot.
Not only is it less expensive to install solar panels on a tiny house than on a full-size one, you have a much better shot of generating all the energy you need. To soak up the most payoff with those rays, check for available federal and local rebates and try to install the panels facing south and unobstructed by shade.
Use Recycled Building Materials
Most communities have warehouses that sell remnants of other people’s renovation projects. (ReStore by Habitat for Humanity, for example, has locations nationwide.) If you’re in need of a 5-square-foot slab of countertop for your tiny kitchen or just a few tiles for your tiny bathroom, you’ll have tons of options. Plus these scraps are way less expensive than trying to order from a regular showroom.
Get a Prefab Kit
Homes constructed mostly in a factory are typically designed with optimal efficiency in mind, so they eliminate a staggering amount of construction waste. Choose a company that takes sustainability seriously, and the home might also come with planet-loving perks like a green roof or a Zero energy design.
Buy Efficient Appliances
Sure, you’re likely not going to have room for a six-burner oven. Or even a microwave for that matter. But even the tiny appliances that do fit in your home could still be energy hogs. As you should when shopping for a regular-size appliance, make sure you look for that Energy Star label. It means that the product you’re debating has met a set of strict energy performance criteria set by the EPA.