How to Make a Tiny Home More Efficient with Window Utilization and Design

by John Tenuto

Tiny homes are already much more environmentally friendly than the common McMansions sprawling across America, but everything can always get more efficient in an age when human motives are being questioned and energy-yielding natural resources continue to dwindle. Any progress is positive.

The tiny home movement is significant, as the direct sidestepping of traditional American real estate beliefs challenged societal norms where housing is considered. People are starting to realize that bigger isn’t always better, especially at home. Those in this movement are always making progress, and today I want to add one more thing for them to focus on: windows.

Fencl windows

Just as they are within traditional properties, windows are a critical component when the entire efficiency of the tiny home dwelling is considered. Windows need to be positioned, designed and utilized in the correct way for energy performance to reach its potential. If you have a tiny home or are just curious about this form of real estate, these are some quick ways to mold the windows around green thinking:

1. Install and utilize curtains or blinds

While most people already have them, some don’t. One way to make sure the window areas of your tiny home aren’t taking away from your energy efficiency is to utilize blinds or curtains. This can make a legitimate difference in the way your tiny home loses or gains heat. Over time, this could end up saving you some serious money on any energy costs you have and also reduces the strain on the environment. Plus, blinds can add character without taking up
space (space is hard to come by!).

Femcl window 2

2. Apply fresh caulking around your windows

Windows are often sealed with caulking, and like most other substances, it wears down and dissipates as a working material over time. If you’re a tiny home owner, consider applying fresh caulking as frequently as every 4-6 months. Any deficiency in insulation involving one of your very few windows can be really noticeable in such a small place. This is increasingly important to make a note of if you live in a location with extreme seasons. You don’t have to be professional and it shouldn’t take long to reapply caulking before and after the four major seasons.

3. Replace weather stripping

Whether stripping is a common component of home windows. One way to directly increase the efficiency of climate control in your tiny home is to replace the weather stripping. For one, it’s easy to do. Secondly, it will be affordable because you won’t have many windows to update. Regardless of how you produce and store energy within your tiny home, doing this can help your efforts.

4. Install window films

Not only do window films protect furniture and enhance privacy, but they also fall within the environmentally friendly argument. Window films can slow down the transfer of energy from inside to outside and vice versa, thus naturally decreasing the strain on your climate control system. Whether it’s a wood fire or a minimized custom HVAC in your tiny home, its efforts will be aided with the addition of these films.

5. Use windows effectively

There’s only so much you can do to make your windows more efficient, especially if you don’t use them properly. For one, only open them when you see the decision aiding your comfort or energy efficiency in a meaningful way. If you need a breath of fresh air, so be it, but do your best to try and avoid situations like leaving them open when you head to work. This type of action can quickly become detrimental to your energy use.

Gifford window

Tiny homes are very sustainable relative to the other real estate options within our society. However, everything can get better. While there are plenty of ways to make progress within your tiny home, designing and utilizing you windows effectively is a nice place to start.

John Tenuto writes about sustainable home building and design.

Feng Shui and Tiny Houses

Guest Post

Decorating a tiny house can be a challenge. Colors that would bring drama into a normal sized room can overwhelm a small space, making it seem even smaller than it already is. Many décor items take up to much valuable floor and wall space—space that would be better utilized for storage. However, these concerns should not reduce tiny house dwellers into living in an austere, prison, or nunnery like environments. Using the tenets of Feng Shui, small space owners can easily maximize their space and bring in a cohesive design sense to the home. Feng Shui focuses on the movement of energy through each room—minimizing clutter and carefully arranging the furniture not only improves the flow of energy, but these actions also improve the use of the limited space. Feng Shui also puts a lot of emphasis on light and mirrors, both of which can help make small areas seem more spacious.

Discover more Feng Shui-friendly decorating ideas to help improve your tiny house interiors by following this infographic from It shows you colors and design elements best suited to each space, and how each décor element impacts the Feng Shui of your house. Try implementing a few of these tips for a more harmonious dwelling.

Tiny Green Building

If you’re reading this article (or any article on Tiny House Blog) it means that you’re more than likely a fan of tiny houses. It also means you’re probably aware of how energy efficient and eco-friendly most tiny homes are. Simply due to their size, tiny homes are much more “green” than standard or traditional housing. The goal of this article is to present some techniques and ideas to help maximize the efficiency and overall “green-ness” of any tiny house you may already have or are planning to build.

Energy Efficiency

As you can imagine, since tiny homes are so small they do not require a lot of energy in the first place. However, there are some ideas that can be implemented to reduce that energy usage even further.

Water Usage

Water usage is an area that can be improved in almost all houses, big or small. One simple thing you can do is to redirect water from rainfall to nearby gardens or plants. This will save on watering these plants and is an easy way to make sure that rainwater is not wasted. Regarding plants and gardens it is important to keep in mind that planting native plants will help save on water as well because they are more accustomed to the climate and habitat and do not require as much care.


Utilizing natural rainfall can be taken a step further by using this water within your tiny home. It is possible to harvest the water from rainfall to use for showers and other uses inside of your tiny house. There are a variety of way this can be done but if you would like a precise step-by-step description of how to build a rainwater harvesting system along with ways to treat that water, the Texas Water Development Board has provided a free downloadable PDF that explains the entire process in great detail. Continue reading

Acting Green Vs. Buying Green

by Jaclyn Nicholson

Have you ever considered the difference between acting green and buying green? A lot of energy is wasted in homes on showering, lighting, cooling, using the bathroom and doing laundry.

So, in order to preserve, you can change how you do things or you can purchase energy-efficient appliances.

For example, you can keep the light on in your room for just 49 minutes or you can get an energy efficient LED bulb, and keep your light on for 6 hours and use the same amount of energy. Which do you prefer? Weigh the differences here.

Acting Green vs. Buying Green


Liveaboard life: Self-sufficient with Solar

In last weeks video series I introduced you to Teresa Carey and her home on her sailboat. This week is a followup on Teresa and how she manages off the grid using solar as her power.

When Teresa Carey is sailing she knows just where all her energy comes from and where it’s going. “My solar panel charges my battery monitor and I have to keep an eye on that battery monitor because when it reaches a certain point I have to start shutting things off.”

She has just a 130 watt solar panel – about 30 times less wattage than the average household- so she keeps electronics to a minimum: a VHF radio (for communication), an icebox (no freezer), a computer, a GPS and a boombox (for sunny days only). Besides solar and her sails, she uses some non-renewable energy: diesel for a small engine and propane for her stove.

She pumps her own water for use (and it’s cold). She takes overboard, or bucket, baths (in the video she washes her hair for the first time in 16 days). She fixes things when they break. But she doesn’t complain, in fact, she prefers it this way. “It’s more authentic.”

In this video, Teresa shows us how she meets her basic needs: water, energy and reading the elements (tides, wind, storms) in order to stay alive and reach her destinations (in this case, the Bahamas).

Video via