Creating something new from scratch can be so exciting. If you are considering adding an element of sustainability to your tiny home, it’s important to know what you can do on your own and what you should outsource. Whether you are building your tiny home from the ground up or working to renovate your existing structure into a more eco-friendly and sustainable one, the following nine materials will help you complete the job:
Featured Photo credit: Manfred Antranias Zimmer via Pixabay
Solar Roof Tiles
Tesla has been teasing the world with the promise of solar roof tiles for about a year now. Unlike most solar panels that are attached to the roof of a home, solar tiles will allow you to integrate them into the entire building, generating power while it protects from the weather. This would be a great way to add a solar energy to your tiny home without large traditional solar panels.
Since it technically hasn’t been released to the market yet, it’s impossible to get your hands on it at this time. The longevity of the tiles has been tested, according to Tesla, but the true test is mother nature herself, and only time will tell how well this material will work in the future of tiny home building.
Having a low-emissions coating applied to the window of your choice can help prevent heat loss. A clear coating of metallic oxide is sprayed onto windows, helping to keep the heat outside the house in the summer and inside the house in the winter. In addition to this, low-emissivity coatings are applied to the inside panels of the glass, further preventing heat from escaping. This material comes in a soft coating or a hard coating. You can choose to have a soft coating applied between the layers of multi-paned glass, or you can apply the high coating on the outside.
Cellulose insulation, or paper insulation, is generally made of recycled office paper, newspaper, and cardboard. This insulation is applied using an insulation blower. The machine blows pellets of cellulose into attics or in walls, filling cavities and settling in over time. Cellulose insulation is a great alternative to chemical foams.
If you use raw sourced paper, it will be combustible. Any paper insulation will (and should) be treated with borax, boric acid, and/or calcium carbonate. All three of these materials are natural and have no correlating health problems. So opt for a smart and safe insulation solution.
Hemcrete is a material made from the woody inside of the hemp plant. Bound together with lime, the mixture is used to create concrete-like blocks that are strong but lightweight. Due to its weight (or lack of weight), shipping this renewable product costs far less than traditional building materials while also reducing the carbon emissions needed for it to migrate to your new home. This material is waterproof, fireproof, and insulates well while being completely recyclable. The makers claim that Hemcrete walls can be used as fertilizer after demolition. Use it for roof insulation, flooring, and anywhere in between.
This is going to sound crazy because of everything we know about what happens when the sun beats down on metal, but aluminum decking is a great option if you’re looking for a durable and sustainable material to complete your home. Metals like aluminum are good conductors of heat, so they absorb it very quickly. This material is made from infinitely recyclable aluminum scraps. Aluminum is completely water-resistant and stays cool in the summertime. Best of all, this decking material is light-weight, making it great for the patio of your tiny house.
If you’re not looking for a total remodel, or you’re not building from scratch, consider switching out your current furniture with eco-friendly versions. Sure it’s easy to find sustainable tables and chairs, but how about a mattress? Organic mattresses use a mix of certified natural materials without compromising comfortability. The stuffing in these mattresses is free of harsh chemicals like flame retardant, making it safe to sleep on without harmful health side effects.
These are amazing for a multitude of reasons. Not only does it allow the recycling of corks, it also looks beautiful and is lightweight all at the same time. Companies like Jelinek Cork Group make these floors with the hundreds of thousands of used wine corks they collect each year through their own recycling initiatives. Cork floors are hypoallergenic, insulating, and fully water resistant. They can even help reduce aching hips, feet, and back by offering a comfortable and buoyant surface to stand on.
A U.K. company offers a product called a Fire Board, which is a fire-resistant board made from materials like magnesium, cloth fibers, and sawdust. These boards can replace timber in home projects like roof and wall lining. The Fire Board supposedly won’t warp over time if it gets wet or is exposed to humidity. Because the boards are manufactured by a natural drying and curing process, they don’t contribute to any extra carbon emissions. The surfaces of these boards are strong and work well for all kinds of paints and emulsions without the need for further preparation. Not only are you saving the environment with your sustainable walls, you’re also making your life easier by avoiding extra prep work.
Recycled Glass Tile
Glass tile is recycled, often local, and VOC free. This can give you a beautiful glass tile design for your kitchen, bathroom, floor (or wherever), while keeping the eco-friendly vibe you are trying to maintain. Fireclay Tile handmakes their glass tiles in California from 100 percent recycled glass from windows, solar panels, and old television sets. The majority of the color options mimic sea glass, giving your home an ocean vibe no matter where you are!
Don’t have the resources or time to build this type of tiny home on your own? Reclaimed Space can help get you into an eco-friendly and sustainable tiny home without having to lift a finger. ?Whether you are building it yourself or having someone else complete the project, a tiny homemade from sustainable resources ensures that your home is going to be the most eco-friendly pod on the block!