What is a “tiny house”, you ask? Well, in some ways, it’s just that. A home that is a lot smaller – 5 to 10 times smaller – than an average house or apartment. Lars built his on wheels, so it’s a bit like a very big caravan. But it’s also a real house, with a shower room, proper kitchen and a “bedroom” tucked away above his living area.
Many people are choosing tiny houses because it costs a lot less. But for many, like Lars, they also want to reduce their “carbon footprint” and all the ways in which we humans are making life harder and harder for our home planet.
There’s no better time to understand how that works than now, in the middle of winter, when most our families are burning lots of gas or using electricity to keep lots of rooms warm in our homes.
So how is Lars helping the planet?
- First, to build a tiny house needs a lot less material, like wood and concrete, than a normal house. So fewer trees chopped down. And making concrete gives off lots of carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the greenhouse gases which is causing global warming.
- Second, to heat a tiny house, you burn almost nothing, so again you make less CO2. Lars built thick windows, and walls lined with plant fibres like flax and hemp, so heat doesn’t escape. And the heat which he does add comes free from the Sun, via a solar panel. (Water’s free, too – he collects rain!)
- And third, of course, there’s not a lot of room for stuff, Lars has clever hidden cupboards for his clothes. But living in a tiny house means he thinks hard before buying new things and only gets what he really needs. So, he doesn’t use up the Earth’s resources for pointless stuff that he can easily do without.