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Less is More! The New Coming Era of Small-er

With the current trend toward protesting greed, an interesting movement is afoot, a movement towards smaller homes and using less stuff. Humanity has a way of curing its own excesses if you wait long enough, and it seems that the pendulum is swinging back toward a more responsible mindset when it comes to how much we “need”.

 Tiny Houses

 While some may view this as going to extremes, one movement in building is exploring just how much living you can fit neatly into a space less than 10-by-12 feet. These so called “tiny houses” can be built in most municipalities without a permit and are small enough to be built successfully even by a novice carpenter. Here are some great examples. http://www.designboom.com/contemporary/tiny_houses.html

 Smaller New Homes

 As we mentioned last week on the Hail and Wind Facebook page, there is a trend in traditional building toward smaller structures. New homes are predicted to shrink by as much as 20% with the space being divided differently and layouts being tweaked to fit modern lifestyles. This trend is appearing for two main reasons: number one, people need less expensive homes; number two, these smaller homes are more sustainable, requiring less energy and maintenance.http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/a-look-ahead-at-new-homes-of-2015.html

 Recycled Building Materials

 Reduce, reuse, recycle has gone from green movement mantra to mainstream thinking for many Americans. In the not so distant past, not everything was seen as disposable. Currently many cities have large building supply vendors that deal in reclaimed building materials. This is a great way to incorporate vintage craftsmanship into your construction projects. Even more exciting is research being done into using garbage for sustainable, practical building materials. Here is one example, block made from landfill: http://inhabitat.com/plastic-concrete-repurposes-landfill-waste-into-building-bricks/

 Renovating

 Whether you use old pieces for a new project, or refit an old home with new fixtures, the move toward more renovation is a good thing. While issues like mold remediation make it necessary to tear down some old houses, many can be made better than new with today’s technology. Here is a great site with a large list of books and articles on reusing what past generations have discarded. http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/recyclematerials.htm

Getting Off the “Grid”

 Renewable energy sources now make up 8% of the energy used in the US and Uncle Sam wants this to go up. With new technology it is becoming more practical for individual home owners to seek renewable energy sources as a way to heat, cool, light and power their own homes. Currently the move is toward large scale sources that keep people dependent on local government and large corporations, but the newest tech may soon allow anyone with a little know how to get themselves off the grid. http://www.eia.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=renewable_home-basics

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