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The Best Sustainable Tiny House Innovations In 2017

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Nov. 19 2020, Updated 9:40 p.m. ET

The world is obsessed with tiny houses, but in 2017 they really rose above their simple aesthetic delights and became sustainable living alternatives. Architects and designers came up with so many new technologies that will meld your fantasy of living in a tiny house with your goal of living in a home that considers the health of the planet we all live on.

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Prefabricated Homes

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Many companies unveiled prefabricated home designs in 2017, updating an old model for producing cheap living spaces by adding features that fit a modern sensibility for sustainable living. New prefabricated homes were created from recycled materials, focused on use of space, and sold themselves for features that are a problem in a regular house—like not having foundations. And at least one of them can be bought directly on Amazon.

Green Walls

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Source: NAAVA

The Naava green wall isn't designed specifically for tiny houses, but it does provide a service that would be welcome in any small space—monitoring air quality. Not only are the plants beautiful, they can quickly clean the very air you breath. In a tiny house, that's very appreciated.

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Building To The Site

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The award-winning Half-Tree House is a great example of architects considering how their work becomes part of the landscape rather than destroying it. It minimizes the need for outside materials, like concrete, to be pumped onsite, and doesn't require a deep, eroding foundation.

Use Of Urban Space

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The pressure for tiny houses isn't just coming from the internet's sense of whimsy. Overcrowding in urban areas and housing shortages are a serious problem. This prefab comments on how cars are taking up space that could be used for human habitation, and also suggests and innovative use for parking lots. Make them into villages.

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Solar Everything

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Solar power certainly isn't new, but it's gone from being a bonus to a necessity. Improved solar technology has also made it possible to incorporate solar design in more powerful, functional ways. This entire RV is run on solar power, so it's not just the home that runs on clean energy, it's the home's wheels.

New Materials

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Like solar power, building materials made from recycled materials isn't new. But there has been a lot of focus on materials that can be used in modern architecture because of the beneficial environmental factors. From companies turning food waste into a form of plywood to self-cleaning tiles, you might eventually be able to build a tiny home that actually benefits the Earth just by being built.

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Accounting For Climate Change

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Source: Arkup
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With the number of weather events associated with climate change in 2017, it's no surprise that designers are advertising their work based on how it could survive in a storm. These floating houses by Arkup are extremely luxurious, but their ability to survive a storm might be something seen in less high-end houses soon.

Planning For The Future

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Source: VALENTINA SUMINI / MIT REDWOOD FOREST TEAM

There are also the architects who suggested we just plan for life on another planet. Will the most innovative tiny house of all be in space? Not quite yet, but dreaming about your space pod is the new frontier in fantasy living.

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