With some motivated by environmental concerns, tiny homes gaining buzz

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A 2010 study finds cutting a home's square footage in half reduces carbon emissions by 36 percent.

March 28, 2014

Tiny houses—as small as 120 square feet—have been featured in The New York Times, The Independent, and Fox News in the past two months. Many of these miniature dwelling owners mention sustainability along with low costs as motivators. It’s logical that a small house would use fewer resources than a large one, but the size of that margin hasn’t been extensively measured. However, a 2010 study of small homes by the Oregon Department of Environmental Equality (DEQ) found that among 30 different green construction practices, reducing house size had the greatest environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas reduction. According to the study, a 50 percent reduction in a house’s square footage corresponds to a 36 percent reduction in carbon emissions over its lifetime.

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