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Getting Green with Small and Mini Homes
Many people will exclaim their environmental consciousness by telling you about their Tesla or Prius. They might expound upon their composting, recycling, and double pane windows.
Then you realize that this middle aged couple with no kids living at home ramble around a 2,300 square foot home, running their heat or A/C to keep themselves comfortable. They might even have high vaulted ceilings that they keep nice and toasty in the winter.
A person really interested in reducing their carbon footprint and energy usage needs to consider getting into a smaller house or those truly serious might consider the new wave of mini homes. Smaller homes, and especially mini homes, old or newer, have floor plans and features optimized for their size, much like modern manufactured homes.
Older small homes especially, but also newer homes need to have their efficiency checked just the same. Are they properly insulated, sealed, and have high efficiency double or triple pane glass? Also, are the existing heating and cooling systems efficient? Many small heating systems aren't as efficient as their larger relatives. Where a modern forced air system may be over 95% efficient, modern wall heaters or similar systems can be only 65% or worse, thereby nullifying your valiant attempt to save the planet. Similarly check the cooling and hot water systems, make sure they're high efficiency systems.
For many years the thing to do was “Live Large”, consider living a bit smaller without giving up the comforts of home. Remember, the average person only fills about 24 cubic feet of space, while your 2,300 square foot homes contains almost 20,000 cubic feet. A 400 square foot mini home can be less than 3,200 square feet.