Have you heard of the Tiny House Movement? Miniature, mobile dwellings are gaining popularity with those who wish to live a more environmentally and socially conscious lifestyle.
The average American house is now over 2,000 square feet in size, but how much of that space is actually needed (or efficiently utilized)? Compact living comes with freedom from the financial burdens associated with the large mortgages and high energy costs of the traditional American home – and oftentimes, the freedom to take your home with you when you wish to relocate.
My sister Sarah, a Junior studying Architecture and Environmental Studies at Mount Holyoke College, is taking the concept one step further. As part of her Senior thesis project next year, Sarah will construct the “Tiny Trail”, a mobile Tiny House made with 100% locally sourced materials and powered by sustainable and efficient energy sources.
Elecricity will be provided through rooftop solar panels, and an efficient propane stove will heat the home for $30/month in the dead of a New England winter. All building materials will be sourced within 200 miles of the construction site, and each mile will be logged and each material traced to its source. Secondhand or salvaged items will be used wherever possible – including beams from dismantled barns in Central Massachusetts, and a space-saving “Hoosier Cabinet” from the 1920’s, found on Craigslist.
The Tiny Trail design will be brought to life through a credit course offered to students within the Five Colleges Consortium, calling upon those with the various skills necessary to complete its construction. The Five Colleges include Mount Holyoke, UMass Amherst, Smith College, Amherst College and Hampshire College.
Sarah’s Tiny House will be of the mobile variety, to be constructed on a 20 x 24’ flatbed trailer. Wherever life takes Sarah after her undergraduate studies, Tiny Trail will follow!