How Tiny Homes are Helping Save the Environment

By Lynn Pearcey, MBA, Copywriter, AIA Contract Documents

May 6, 2024

A tiny house is defined as a dwelling with a maximum of 500 square feet of living space. Tiny Homes are versatile and can be built on a mobile platform or a foundation, similar to that of a more traditional home. The concept challenges the residential norms that many Americans grew up ascribing to, including the spacious two-story home, the sprawling yards, pool, and all the other amenities that for so long have been a part of the homeowner dream.

But as the movement becomes embedded into the consciousness of the culture, more prospective homebuyers, and builders are jumping onboard for one reason: the environment.

What are the Environmental Benefits of a Tiny Home?

 When it comes to the environmental benefits derived from tiny homes, the list is long and includes the following.

  • Fewer materials used: The average size of the American home is 2,299 square feet, almost five times the size of a tiny home. The difference in size means there’s also a disparity in the volume of materials involved, with tiny homes using only a fraction of what’s needed to build a traditional dwelling. The limited number of materials has a ripple effect as there is less transport from trucks using diesel engines that emit harmful pollutants into the air. Home repairs are a part of any homeowner’s journey, but with a tiny home, the scope of the repair job is less extensive. This decline in repairs also leads to decreased strain on the environment.
  • Tiny Homes Require Less Energy: Energy needs for a tiny home are considerably less than those of a traditional home. The reduction in carbon emissions can be as large as 72%. The space is smaller, but so are the appliances needed to power the home, and all of this combines to make the dwelling more pliable from an environmental perspective.
  • Slows climate change: Contrary to popular belief, there’s still time to slow the pace of climate change, and tiny homes can help. Tiny homes reduce emissions and lessen the carbon footprint. Although tiny homes are small dwellings, they have the potential to play a large part in the race to slow the damage consumers all over the world are doing to the climate and allow the planet to be functional for future generations.
  • Mindset shifts: Choosing to live in a tiny home is the byproduct of a mindset shift, and it’s about more than where a person chooses to live. The dwelling is the macro decision, but underneath, a series of micro-decisions typically align the two. These micro-decisions include food, transportation, travel, and even the foods they consume, which point to their larger goal of prolonging the planet’s life.
  • Creating a lineage of sustainability: The world is behind when it comes to sustainability, and to catch up, save the planet, or reverse the course, it will take this and other generations being willing to commit to doing the heavy lifting. Sustainability and climate change have a history of cursory appearances in classrooms, and this in and of itself has proven to be problematic. To stem this tide, it’s going to take a united front and families with children can extol the virtues of tiny homes and infuse their children with the need to be responsible stewards of the planet.


Tiny homes were once viewed as a fad, a trend, and a building phase that would eventually pass. The truth is tiny homes may be one of this generation’s most important construction innovations, and their impact is projected to continue growing. Baby boomers, millennials, and women are the groups that will propel this growth. This collection of consumers bodes well for the planet, especially since millennials, representatives of the future, are factored into the equation. There’s so much work to do when it comes to preserving and protecting the planet, and while they may only be a small part of the saving equation, tiny homes will continue playing a major role in the ongoing battle.

Learn more about AIA Contract Documents Residential Construction Contracts

Save time and minimize risk with the most trusted contracts in the construction industry – powered by AIA Contract Documents’ next-generation platform, Catina. Request a Demo Here.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.