Small Is Beautiful

What these pint-sized sustainable homes lack in size, they make up for in design ingenuity.

Everything has grown over the past century, from cars to roads to waistlines. But most of all, our homes have reached cartoonish proportions, despite the fact that the number of people per house has fallen. Think of the “McMansions” that have paved over the countryside. Yet building, heating and maintaining our homes accounts for anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of our energy and materials usage.

Do we really need such big houses? What is the point in spending up to two-thirds of our income on homes we never get to spend much time in because we’re working (and commuting to work) to pay for them? Wouldn’t it be nice to free up some of our time, energy, and creativity—and use fewer of the planet’s precious resources at the same time—by living small? The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimates that for each reduction of 100 square feet in home size, we would save 590 kg of CO2 per year.

A new generation of designers and architects are thinking small and proving that size doesn’t always matter. Instead, with sleek, original, quirky and comfy designs, they’re showing that it’s really what you do with it that counts.

Photo Credit: Ivan Brodey