by Vivienne Burges
As the human race becomes increasingly conscious of its negative impact on planet Earth, so have the efforts to reduce said impact manifested in increasingly wonderful ways. For example, the miniature “Castle-truck” built and inhabited by New Zealand couple, Jola and Justin, whose eco-ingenuity reflects the wider movement of homeowners seeking alternatives to large, expensive, and energy intensive housing.
So, first, let’s define “large”. Australia currently holds the record for largest average house size at an impressive 214m2, with Jola and Justin’s home country, New Zealand, nipping at its tail with close to 200m2. Individually, these harmless figures might represent a healthily sized living space; enough room to swing a cat, or thirty, depending on your pet situation. However, looking at the total area of land covered by real-estate in a single country, the figures are more alarming. In the United States alone, the total area of land taken over by real-estate comes to a whopping 6,901,891,200 m2. Now, that’s room for a lot of cats.
Despite this, surveys have actually found the average house size increasing over recent decades. The Census Bureau calculates new homes in the US were 304.8m2 larger in 2013 than they were in the 1970’s, a trend that indicates people are thinking they need more and more space to live simple, comfortable lives. But not Jola and Justin.
As apparent from the photo, Jola and Justin have combined the functional and practical with other adjectives, like quirky and fun, to construct a three level, road-worthy house truck, complete with castle turrets! The dwelling is a tiny 40m2 and fitted with bi-fold doors, a loft, a washing machine, a large food hydrator, and a fully decked out kitchen with an oven and refrigerator. Jola and Justin’s bathroom facilities include a shower (inside turret A) and composting toilet (inside turret B). And there’s also a rooftop bath tub – but who doesn’t have one of those?
As members of the small house movement, it is clear Jola and Justin are passionate about reducing their environmental imprint. By living in a smaller house… or truck-castle thing… the couple spend less money on heating and air-conditioning, and less time and energy on cleaning, maintenance, and repairs, than a family responsible for 200 square metres of house. Solar panels on the outer walls of the structure use sunlight to power the miniature home, and most of the internal furniture is fashioned from recycled materials. All in all, in terms of carbon-emissions, smaller is proving to be better.
See for yourself what the team over at Living Big in a Tiny House has done to showcase this tremendous engineering achievement.
Perhaps in another few decades, each of us will find ourselves living in quirkily repurposed, energy efficient dwellings, and all of the cats we used to swing about will be ruling over us in benevolent amusement.
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