In the era of overconsumption and wastefulness of gargantuan proportions, many people have become blinded and desensitized to the disastrous effects our actions are having on the planet. And while there are virtually countless ways to make your home and lifestyle more sustainable as a whole, one major action that’s quickly growing in popularity is the construction of tiny and modular homes. With Waste Focus, you can have your home much greener than ever, they´ll help you solve the problem you have with solid waste and other trash you have by recycling it.
Stacey Wiggall of West Berkeley, California, for example, recently moved into a tiny 490-square-foot, three-room home. She says it may appear small on the outside, but it “looks much bigger” on the inside.
For Wiggall, one of the biggest advantages of modular homes are their eco-friendliness. Produced in one-fifth the time and at about half the cost of site-built homes, manufactured housing assembled in a controlled, factory environment uses fewer materials and generates 35% to 40% less waste than comparable site-built units.
And modular homes are just one facet of the green housing boom: Of the 93% of homeowners who are updating countertops during their kitchen renovation, the majority are choosing natural and eco-friendly stone materials. Wiggall’s kitchen, however, features countertops created with some of the last eco-friendly materials one would ever expect.
“What I really like is the eco-friendly construction,” Wiggall told Berkeleyside. “[The countertops] are crushed, recycled traffic lights. There’s oyster shells in there too.”
Even though modular homes are small, they can also make a great living space for those with limited mobility, which is the most common type of disability. Wiggall said her father lives with her when he comes to visit, and with the constructional freedom of modular homes, it’s easy to install handicap-accessible features such as entry ramps and bathroom grab bars.
Wiggall’s home was built by Bay Area construction firm Aviva, but a number of similar companies have surfaced in recent years, including MicroPAD and New Avenue Homes.
“This approach minimizes waste,” said environmental scientist Darlene McCray of Oakland, who recently attended an open house at Wiggall’s residence. “Because they have a set product, when they order materials, they know how much they need and don’t order too much.”
But California isn’t the only state where the modular construction business is booming. Apex Homes, a modular construction company based in Pennsylvania, has reported an increased demand for its services as well.
“Our market is Maine to North Carolina,” said Apex President Lynn Kuhns. “There’s an increase in demand.”
Apex employs about 120 workers, and after a bit of a slowdown earlier this year, they’re now undergoing a hiring spree as a result of the skyrocketing demand.
“Now we’re trying to fill production spots in order to meet increased demands,” Kuhns said. “We’d like to bring on another 40 people.”
While the tiny home trend has certainly gotten a lot of press in recent years, these homes aren’t practical choices for everyone. If you’ve tuned into any of the TV shows about tiny home living, you may have noticed that many of the couples celebrating this lifestyle are childless. For parents, the eco-friendly benefits of a tiny, modular home may not outweigh the benefits of having enough space for the kids to run around.
Fortunately, there are many other ways to green your decor this fall. As always, stay tuned for more green living tips.