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Tiny little houses - A growing green trend

Tiny houses can be plain like this one or as elaborate as you wish.
Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Tiny houses are popping up everywhere. Camper-size homes are the latest trend in housing. These small homes are inexpensive, environmentally conservative, transportable, and just plain cute.

The owners of small homes say they like them because they require very little in the way of cleaning and maintenance. The small space costs very little in heat and electricity. You also need only a tiny lot to put your tiny little house on.

The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company was founded by Jay Shafer. This gentleman not only builds small houses, he lives in them. He's lived in three tiny houses so far. The one he lives in now is less than 100 square feet!

Even though Jay is no longer affiliated with Tumbleweed, he still lives in a tiny house. His current tiny house has a loft bedroom, mini kitchen, living area and a bathroom the size of a tiny closet with a shower in front of the toilet.

Tumbleweed has tiny house plans that range from 65-774 square feet. There are 20 plans for tiny houses that can be used as camps, cottages, mother-in-law apartments, or as your main dwelling. The cost for most of these is comparable to that of a new car.

The Cusato Cottages were originally built as alternatives to the FEMA trailer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. These tiny little homes are now being seen as an inexpensive alternative to conventional home ownership.

The original Katrina cottage was quite small, just 308 square feet. Cusato Cottages, in partnership with Lowes, now offers tiny house plans and materials for small homes from 308-1800 square feet. Some of the tiny homes are built in such a way that they're easily expandable in the future for growing families.

The average materials price per square foot on these small homes is $55.00. That makes the cost of the materials and plans for the smallest house just under $18,000. In today's market that price is unheard of.

The Tiny Texas Houses Project uses reclaimed materials to build 95% recycled tiny homes. Their homes have many "green" options such as gray and black water plumbing systems, low voltage wiring, solar power and even modern out-houses.

The homes are constructed of quality wood which is guaranteed to last beyond the owner's lifetime. They can be fitted with vintage tubs and other items. They can even be constructed as a small duplicate of Grandma and Grandpa's house if the owner likes.

Tiny Texas Houses are priced at $45,000. and up including construction. They're individually planned according to the customers needs. Customers have a wide variety of options to choose from. No two of these little homes are alike.

The new small house trend is not restricted to America. In Japan, where land is scarce, several companies have started specializing in homes that can be built on plots of less than 400 square feet. The homes are built upward rather than outward. They often encompass several stories, each with a different use.

Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.