The Effects of Tiny Home Downsizing

People living in tiny homes drastically reduce their ecological footprints and make more sustainable lifestyle choices, research shows.
April 22, 2019, 9am PDT | Camille Fink
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Tammy Strobel

Maria Saxton reports on her dissertation research about the environmental impacts of people downsizing to tiny houses. She compares the ecological footprints of people before and after they moved into tiny houses by calculating the spatial area needed to support their needs for a year. "I found that among 80 tiny home downsizers located across the United States, ecological footprints were reduced by about 45 percent on average," says Saxton.

In addition, she finds that people’s behaviors became more sustainable in a number of ways after moving into tiny homes:

As a whole, I found that after downsizing people were more likely to eat less energy-intensive food products and adopt more environmentally conscious eating habits, such as eating more locally and growing more of their own food. Participants traveled less by car, motorcycle, bus, train and airplane, and drove more fuel-efficient cars than they did before downsizing.

Based on her survey and interview findings, Saxton also estimates that 366 million acres of resources could be saved if 10 percent of the population downsized to tiny homes. She hopes that this evidence will help support local rezoning efforts to allow tiny homes and the development of sustainable housing.

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Published on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 in CityLab
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