(We’ve shown off our favorite student writing from last term’s level 1, 2, and 3 students and a level 4 student. Here’s an argument in favor of tiny houses in the United States written by Susana Zamora, a Writing 5 student from Chile. Read more student writing from the January/February term in the latest issue of The Globe.)
As time goes by major cities get more and more crowded, but people still don’t change their perception about how their ideal house has to be. The “American dream,” which refers to having a big house, is now obsolete. There’s no need for a couple or small family to live in a big house. Research has shown that from 1973 to 2013 the average house measure has grown more than 1,000 square feet (Schmill). The average American house has a size of 2,600 square feet, in comparison to an average tiny house which is about one seventh part of this (“What Is”). People have to have a new perspective to what’s important in life and recognize that there is no need in having things you don’t require. If you choose living in a tiny house this will fulfil your requirements and benefit you in three main points: your style of living will become more efficient, you will benefit the environment, and you can customize your house however you want.
The major effect of having a big house is that it is bad for the environment. According to Dirima Cuthbert, researcher from Masters of Environmental Design, University of Western Australia, to construct a big house demands a lot of energy on its process. An example of this is the energy needed to produce the building material, and the energy needed to make the building machines work. Also, people will need to use more energy in their quotidian life. An example of this is the energy needed to light up, to cool or heat the space. And this energy needed will sometimes be a waste because in big houses there are a lot of rooms and spaces that people don’t use. Cuthbert also states that society has made us believe that owning a big house is a sign of success and achievement of life goals (Orr). People also tend to be unhappy and stressed living in big houses because of all the hard work that is needed to maintain a big house, such as paying the mortgage or keeping it clean and organized.
Having a big house is bad for the environment and for people’s mental health. Instead of having a lot of rooms for different purposes, a solution is to have one multifunctional room, or you can say a “Tiny House.” Downsizing to a small house will require developing a new way of living, where all you need can fit in a house of 400 square feet or less. There are 3 benefits of choosing to downsize your home.
One reason why people live in a tiny house is the efficiency. If people have less space to live, they will also have less space to have things. An effect of this will be that they will consume less and own a small amount of physical goods. As the space is smaller and they are consuming less, their bills will also be lower, which means that they will have less debts. In the process of building a small house, the materials needed and land space will also be lower; therefore, the house will be more affordable, not only in the buying price but also in the maintenance and daily living. Also, you have less space housekeeping and space organization becomes an easier task. As people don’t have space for a lot of things, they end up buying less. As a result of all this lower consumption and maintenance, people end up having more time and money for other aspects of life, such as family, health, entertainment and career. When you start spending less, you start having more money and more free time; consequently, you also start having more energy to do the things you may not have had the time or money to do before, such as exercising and traveling (“Living”).
Another important reason is the concern for the environment. As I stated before, there is less energy needed in the construction and the maintenance of a small house; thus, a smaller carbon footprint. Nowadays, with the acknowledge of global warming, people are realizing the real damage that they can cause to the planet, and they have started to have more awareness about the subject. In relation to the previous reason, as people have less possessions, there is also less trash and things to recycle. Another way people help the environment in tiny houses is that they put on solar panels; as the energy required is low, the solar panels can fulfil with no problems the amount needed.
The last reason why they choose to live in a tiny house is that they can customise it however they want according to their needs. If the family has no plans of staying in the same place, they can build their house on a mobile platform, so if they need to move to another place, they can bring their house with them. A small house is cheaper to add all of your preferences than if you were trying to customize a big house. If some people prefer to decorate their house in a luxurious way or in any other specific design way, it will be less affordable in a big house. A solution is that they can move to a tiny house and add all of the details they want. To customize a tiny house the way you want is much more achievable because it is faster to built and cheaper.
To sum up, our planet is suffering from global warming, and as the world becomes more globalized, more people are moving to big cities to work, and with this comes the dream of owning a big house, which harms the environment and the people. It harms the environment because of the growth in the pollution amount. And it harms people as the prices of houses increase, and they have to work more to afford them, ending in being stressed and consuming things they don’t need in order to fulfil social expectations. To end this, people are acquiring the tiny house type of living, mainly for three reasons: the efficiency of owning a tiny house, their concern for the environment and the fact that the house is customizable. I believe that downsizing is a good way to reduce energy waste, but what I think is the best part of tiny houses is the space efficiency. Our ancestors didn’t live in big houses. A big house is a modern belief of what the place you live should look like. There is no need to follow what society says is right. For me, people should only have what they need and not try to demonstrate their success to others.
- “Living the Good Life: How Our Tiny House Allowed Us to Create Our Dream Life.” Tinyhousebuild. 2016. Web. 9 November 2015.
- Orr, Aleisha. “Researcher: Bigger Homes Are a Waste of Space.” Domain. n.d. Web. 1 March 2012.
- Schmill, John. “Why Tiny House Living Isn’t Always the Frugal Choice.” USNews. 2016. Web. 9 October 2015.
- “What Is The Tiny House Movement?” Thetinylife. 2015. Web. n.d.