Live in a big house now, and looking for a way to live a more sustainable life? Consider moving into a tiny house.
Tiny houses offer many enticing benefits, among them, the chance to scale down and leave less of an environmental footprint on the planet.
In this list, I will showcase 30 of the best sustainable tiny houses. But first, let’s explore the benefits of living in a sustainable tiny house, and also talk about the features which make a tiny home an eco-friendly one.
What are the Benefits of Living in a Sustainable Tiny House?
Here are a few reasons to consider sustainable tiny living:
- Reduce your environmental footprint. Perhaps the greatest value of living in a sustainable tiny house is that you can reduce your negative impact on our planet. There has never been a time in history when there has been a more urgent need to protect our environment. If you are living in an eco-friendly tiny house, then you are contributing to that cause.
- Decrease your energy expenses. From a purely self-serving standpoint, a home with sustainable features offers financial benefits. Although there is an initial investment in the solutions you need to reduce your dependency on the grid, over the long term, these solutions pay for themselves by reducing your expenditures on water and power.
- Stop relying on the grid. Depending on where you live, brief power outages may be commonplace. Longer outages are less likely, but can still happen because of natural disasters or other issues. If you have a sustainable home that includes off-the-grid features, you will still have power even if the homes around you do not.
- Become more mobile. When your home is fully off-the-grid ready, you can move it to just about any location, even if it is in a remote region. That means that you have the maximum amount of freedom when it comes to deciding where you want to live. It also means that you can move around frequently with minimum interruptions or inconveniences.
- A home built for comfort. If you have an eco-friendly home designed to minimize your reliance on heating and air conditioning, it may be more comfortable during all seasons than a house that was not designed for that purpose.
- Be a part of the future. We are at a point with a climate crisis where we need to make a decision to live differently, or our world is going to lose its habitability. By choosing to live in an eco-friendly tiny house, you are making a decision to move into a more hopeful future.
What Features Make a Tiny House Sustainable?
Now that we have discussed some of the advantages of a sustainable tiny home, let’s talk about some of the features that can make a home more eco-friendly.
- LED lights. Energy-efficient LED lights can retain their brightness for much longer than some other types of lights. Additionally, LED lights do not burn hot like incandescent lights. As such, they will not add to the overheating of your home during the summer, reducing your need for cooling.
- Energy-efficient appliances. Along with energy-efficient LED lights, a tiny house can incorporate other energy-efficient appliances as well that are designed to draw the minimum necessary power.
- Ventilation, materials, and structural options that help regulate airflow and temperature. For example, large windows that you can open on either side of your tiny house can help you to facilitate a cross breeze. You can then rely less on air-conditioning to stay cool and comfortable.
- Solar panels. One of the best features of sustainability for a tiny house is solar panels. With sufficient solar panels, you do not need to be hooked up to the energy grid at all for power.
- Other natural energy solutions. While the sun is an excellent source of renewable energy, it is not the only one. A tiny house might also include a wind turbine, for example.
- Water catchments or wells. These systems can help you to get drinkable water without needing to rely on plumbing.
- Gardening solutions. Some tiny houses include built-in systems for vertical gardening, gardening on a rooftop, or so forth. By growing your own food, you reduce your environmental footprint. You also may have a healthier lifestyle since you can grow your food organically.
- Recycled and recyclable materials. It isn’t just the finished result that determines how sustainable a house is, but also the materials and process of its construction. An eco-friendly tiny house can be built out of recycled and reclaimed materials to save money and spare the environment. Likewise, it can be made of materials that can be recycled again in the future. That way, if the home is ever dismantled, nothing needs to go to waste.
- What Features Allow You to Live Off-the-Grid in a Tiny House?
- Off-the-grid and sustainable are related concepts, but they are not interchangeable. Living sustainably is about living in harmony with nature and without unnecessary waste. Living off-the-grid means literally being able to live off the power grid in as self-contained a manner as possible.
So, what do you need for truly off-the-grid living in a tiny house?
The power and water solutions discussed above. You need to be able to live without being connected to conventional sources of energy and water. That means incorporating features like the solar panels and water catchments discussed already.
Internet. You will want a way to stay connected to the internet while you are living off-the-grid. That means getting a satellite plan.
A composting toilet. Finally, you will need a way to deal with waste. A composting toilet is an answer here.
Being able to grow your own food may also help you live off the grid if you want to be somewhere that is really remote. Otherwise, you can probably just drive to town to get groceries.
30 Best Off-the-Grid and Eco-Friendly Tiny Houses
You now know what features to look for in off-the-grid and sustainable tiny houses. Let’s check out some of the coolest eco-friendly and off-the-grid tiny houses that are out there.
1. Brian And Teri’s Off-The-Grid Tiny House
This rustic tiny house was built by Brian and Terk, a couple who dreamed of starting their own homestead.
I am just loving the solar panels! They are raised up above the porch of the house and double as an awning.
Not only is this a smart design decision from a practical point of view, but it also is smart from an aesthetic angle. The rustic framing for the panels helps them to blend in with the design of the rest of the home and not look like they are out of place.
Teri has provided a lot of useful information on her website about building a sustainable tiny house like this one, as well as what the tiny lifestyle is like.
You can see more photos of the house and find the link to the blog in the original post.
2. The Green Living Tiny House
The Green Living Tiny House is a design from Incredible Tiny Homes.
It is every bit as tiny as it looks, amounting to just 128 ft.² of surprisingly comfortable living space.
On the rooftop, there are solar panels.
You can see many additional photos of this cozy little house at the original post.
Source: The Green Living Tiny House
3. Cody Lundin’s Off-the-Grid Earthen Tiny House
One particularly impressive example of an off-the-grid tiny house is this one, built by professional survivalist Cody Lundin, who runs the “Aboriginal Living Skills” school.
As you can see, the house blends right into the environment. It features solar panels for power as well as an incredible living green roof.
The design and materials of the home were selected for their cooling effects, and the plants inside the house help to clean the air and keep it fresh.
A great deal of thought was put into every aspect of this eco-friendly tiny house. It is worth visiting the original post to learn more about it.
Source: Cody Lundin’s Off-the-Grid Earthen Tiny House
4. The Ecocapsule
Now for something completely different … the Ecocapsule! This futuristic tiny house is the work of Nice Architects, a Slovakia-based design firm.
You can see right off why this tiny pod-shaped house is called the “Ecocapsule.” The eco-friendly features are plainly visible. The home has its own wind turbine along with solar panels. The wind turbine can be retracted when it is not in use. The high-capacity batteries in the Ecocapsule can retain more energy for longer, which can help ensure an uninterrupted power supply come rain or shine, wind or calm.
But … you might be missing something. There is another eco-friendly feature that is visible from the exterior, but you might not guess what it is. It is the shape of the house itself. Apparently the capsule shape allows for the collection of rainwater and condensation. An automatic filtering system ensures that it is safe for you to drink.
Even with just 86 square feet of space, this little home has everything you need to live in complete comfort.
The designers write, “, “We love to produce surprising ideas, optimistic visions, lifeful strategies and innovative projects. We combine beauty, functionality and humanity into one complex entity.”
You can view a floor plan at the source link along with additional information about the house and many more photos.
Source: The Ecocapsule
5. Terra Perma Eco Community Tiny House
This tiny house is located in the Terra Perma eco community, which is in Quebec.
Tires, wood, cob and bottle were used to build this tiny house, all of which were upcycled.
Instead of a bathroom, there is an outhouse. Also, while it was not there yet as of the time that we found this house originally, the builders were planning to add a catchment for rainwater. If you want to check out more photos and features, you can visit the original post.
Source: Terra Perma Eco Community Tiny House
6. Off-the-Grid Montana Tiny House
This tiny house measures 280 square feet and is located in Montana.
As you can see, there are four 250 watt solar panels that are included with the house.
Other eco-friendly features in the home include a composting toilet and a wood-burning stove.
It’s a lovely home inside and out, so be sure and check out more photos of it at the original post.
7. New York Off-the-Grid Rustic Home
This beautiful house is located in Sullivan County, NY. It is surrounded by stunning forest, and is built out of reclaimed barn wood that is over a century old.
The house does not include water or plumbing. But that doesn’t mean it does not have what you need. There is an outhouse you can reach using a walkway. You also can take a warm bath with the help of a water heater powered by wood burning.
As far as I know, the house does not feature electricity. Still, one could easily enough add some solar panels and harness some power for appliances and devices.
Source: New York Off-the-Grid Rustic Home
8. New Zealand Off-the-Grid Tiny House
Another tiny house that is ready for off-the-grid living is this one measuring 258 square feet located in New Zealand.
Builder Jeff Hobbs used recycled wood and SIPs to create a home that would be as eco-friendly and energy-efficient as possible. It is equipped with solar panels, and cost him $87,100 to build. Each of the panels is 300w.
Behind the house is a tank for collecting rainwater. Inside, there is also a wood-burning stove to keep warm.
While this was an expensive build compared to many other tiny houses, we imagine that the savings on water and energy would help to offset the initial higher cost over time.
9. The Flex House
This eco-friendly house by Green Builder Media is not quite a tiny house. It measures 760 square feet. But it is smaller than a regular house. As explained by Green Builder Media, “Green Builder Media and Shelter Dynamics proudly introduce the Flex House, a model for “Right-Sized” living in a small, flexible space that is connected, intelligent, resilient and sustainable.”
There are a lot of features in the Flex House that make it more eco-friendly. For example, you can use WeMo dimmers and switchers to reduce your energy use when you don’t need lights and such at full power.
The materials that went into building the home also were chosen with the environment in mind. They are sustainable and low emissions.
The Flex House even comes with solar battery storage and Greenworks solar-powered tools that you can use for yardwork.
There are a lot of other cool features, plus the overall layout of the house is really genius. You will definitely want to explore the source post to read up on the full details.
Source: The Flex House
10. Cardboard Box Tiny House
Fiction Factor is an innovative studio that came up with a surprising way to build a tiny house—out of cardboard!
The house was designed to be fast and economical to build, environmentally-friendly, and long-lasting. Believe it or not, a cardboard tiny house from Fiction Factor can stand for over a century.
To help the house hold together for more than a century, a protective coating needs to go on once every three decades or so.
“Is it really cardboard?” you might be thinking, but I assure you, it is true. And if you want the proof, you can visit the original post and take a look at some additional photos, including close-ups of the materials.
Source: Cardboard Box Tiny House
11. Maui Off-the-Grid Dream Home
This cool off-the-grid house is located in Maui, and was built by couple Zeena and Shane with some help from Shane’s father.
You can see two of the features that make this home off-the-grid-ready right here in this photo. There are solar panels as well as a 3,000 gallon water catchment system.
The house also features a waterless composting toilet, and, as you can see, some stunning design work.
It is truly remarkable what one can accomplish when one puts one’s all into making a beautiful home!
Source: Maui Off-the-Grid Dream Home
12. SMUD Tiny House Competition Winner
This tiny house is called the rEvolve House, and was the work of Santa Clara University students. It won first place in the SMUD competition run by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
As you can see, this tiny house includes an intriguing feature that very few other tiny houses can boast. There is a set of slats built into the exterior wall next to the door which can hold planters, making for an easy vertical gardening solution to conserve space while allowing the home’s occupant to grow herbs and other plants.
The house also features solar panels which double as an awning in the front. A spiral staircase along the side of the home leads to a deck on top that offers additional functional outdoor living space. And as you can see, the interior is stunning as well.
If you visit the source link, you can check out more photos of rEvolve as well as another SMUD winner called THIMBY.
Source: SMUD Tiny House Competition Winner
13. The Eco Barge Tiny Educational Workshop
Here is something a little bit different called the “Eco Barge,” designed by Salt & Water Architecture and Yacht Design.
The barge is a tiny mobile workshop, bringing lessons to urban gardeners who want to learn how they can grow their own food with limited space.
It is a cool project that is helping to make the world a little bit greener every day.
Source: The Eco Barge Tiny Educational Workshop
14. The Zen Den
One of my new favorite tiny houses is the “Zen Den” by Sanctuary Architects and Designers.
The house includes a number of sustainable features. These include solar panels, a well-ventilated design, and support for a borewell connection for fresh water.
What I love most about this beautiful minimalist house, however, is how amazingly configurable it is. To check it out for yourself, visit the original post, and prepare to have your mind blown.
Source: The Zen Den
One aspect of sustainable design is simply keeping a house as small as possible so that it does not intrude any more than necessary on its surroundings. One home design that does a beautiful job with that is the minimalist aVOID.
Architect Leonardo Di Chiara created this tiny house, and found a way to squeeze multiple functions into a space measuring just 97 ft.².
Compartments in the walls make it possible to transform the single room in the house to serve for a variety of purposes. It can be a bedroom, dining room, or another type of room.
A house like this minimizes environmental impact, and could also present a solution for overcrowding in cities with high population densities. It does so in a way that is elegant and comfortable for its occupant.
16. The Tesla Tiny House
Unsurprisingly, the Tesla company has experimented with tiny house design.
The company built this cool little house as a mobile exhibit for its products.
All the lights and screens in the Tesla tiny house are powered by renewable energy. The whole roof is covered in solar panels.
Source: The Tesla Tiny House
17. The Matchbox Tiny House
This tiny house is the work of Jay Austin, who built it to live in over a two-year period.
The house boasts a number of eco-friendly design features. First of all, Jay used the Shou Sugi Ban technique to safeguard the exterior against damage from insects, mold and fire, making for a longer-lasting home.
Additionally, the home is outfitted with solar panels for renewable energy, and also includes a rainwater catchment system.
The house measures just 140 ft.² as well, so it has a small footprint.
18. Avava Systems Homes
Based in San Francisco, Avava Systems is a company that specializes in sustainable prefab houses. Their products can be built in just 4-6 weeks, and are known as “Britespaces.”
What makes them eco-friendly? The company states that it costs 20% less to build them than it does to build conventional homes, and that they have a carbon footprint that is 35% smaller than that of the typical conventional home.
In this image, you can see the many eco-friendly features that are available for these houses.
Some features, such as the solar panels, mini-split heat pump, electric water heater, and super insulated roof and wall systems, are included.
Others, such as the water collection and gray water systems, Trojan Battery Pack or Tesla Powerwall Energy Storage, and Gulf Industries H20 Heating System are optional.
For those who are serious about prioritizing those cost savings and the well-being of the environment, you cannot go wrong with Avava Systems houses.
Source: Avava Systems Homes
19. Straw Bale House
Earlier, I showed you a house that is made out of cardboard. Now I want to show you a house that is made out of straw bales.
It sure doesn’t look like it’s made of straw bales, does it? Nevertheless, that is exactly what is inside the walls. Check it out:
Straw bales are affordable, and are good for “locking away carbon for the life of the building” according to Carol, the home’s builder.
But Carol didn’t stop there. She also added solar panels and a wind turbine to provide the house with multiple forms of renewable energy.
Being as the home is located in the UK, that was probably a good idea, since sunshine may not always be a reliable source of power.
Visit the original post to see photos of the interior and to learn more about this innovative and sustainable home.
Source: Straw Bale House
ModulOne is a house made out of carbon and fiberglass that includes components that came out of a 3D printer.
As you can see, the roof of the house is covered in solar panels to provide renewable energy.
The minimalist design of the house is stunning, offering a spacious and open living space with incredible views. Be sure to check out the source post so that you can learn more about this eco-friendly house.
21. The Tiny Solar House
A couple built this tiny house to move off the grid. It measures 210 ft.², and includes solar power.
In the image below, you can take a look at the solar panels on the roof.
If you want to find out what the interior of this eco-friendly tiny house looks like, visit the original post.
Source: The Tiny Solar House
22. The Lilypad
The Lilypad is a cute tiny house that looks a bit like a gypsy caravan.
But it isn’t just the appearance of this tiny house that is appealing, but also its materials. It was built using Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified wood and soy-based spray foam insulation. There is no out-gassing.
The home’s awning pulls double duty as a set of solar panels.
I wanted to focus on the sustainable features of the house here, so I provided a couple of exterior shots. But you will want to check out the interior, as it features bright, inviting colors and beautiful ornamental features for a unique look. Visit the original post to see what it looks like inside.
Source: The Lilypad
23. $420 Tiny House
If you really want to live in a tiny house, you can find a way to make it happen—even if you have next to no resources to pour into it.
This tiny house may be super modest, but it was also ridiculously cheap to build. The couple that created it spent only $420, and used largely recycled materials.
What is also cool is that the house is located in a community where there are shared facilities for common use.
So, all this house and the neighboring dwellings have a minimal footprint. Together with their neighbors, the home’s owners farm the land, growing their own food. If that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.
Source: $420 Tiny House
24. Greenmoxie Tiny House
The very name of the company that built this tiny house, Greenmoxie, makes it clear that their priority is the environment.
This is another tiny house that has Shou Sugi Ban Cedar Siding that is low-maintenance and can stand the test of time.
The interior is truly stunning, a work of art well worth appreciating. There are a ton of photos at the source link, so take a look.
Source: Greenmoxie Tiny House
25. The Stick
Keeping your own garden is a great way to live a more eco-friendly life. By growing your own produce, you are reducing your reliance on factory farming, and doing more to protect the planet and the food supply.
But there are only a few tiny houses I’ve seen so far that directly incorporate features for gardening in small spaces. I shared one of them with you earlier, the SMUD competition winner. Here is another, called “The Stick.”
Tikku by Casagrande Laboratory developed this micro apartment. The vertical construction means that its footprint is just 2.5 x 5 m, roughly the size of a standard car parking space.
The CLT cross-laminated timber spatial models are strong but lightweight and sustainable. Solar panels provide renewable power, and allow the home to function off the grid.
The designers state, “Tikku is a needle of urban acupuncture, conquering the no-man’s land from the cars and tuning the city towards the organic. Many Tikkus can grow side-by-side like mushrooms and they can fuse into larger organisms.”
The top level of the dwelling is a greenhouse. In it, you could grow your own food, even if you were living in a city.
This tiny apartment is innovative enough that it might even be revolutionary. Want to learn more about it? Check out the original post to see more images and be able to fully visualize what it would be like to live in a Stick micro apartment.
Source: The Stick
26. Tiny House with Attached Greenhouse
Another tiny house that has an integrated gardening solution is the 323 ft.² Elsa by Olive Nest.
At $81,000, it is not the most cost-effective build. But the attached greenhouse certainly adds a lot of value, and allows you to grow your own food. Over time, the money you save on groceries should allow at least part of the investment you make into the home to pay for itself.
If you want to find out what this tiny house looks like inside, visit the original post.
Source: Tiny House with Attached Greenhouse
27. SteelGenix Tiny Houses
This is the “Steelhaus” by SteelGenix.
The prefabricated steel frame of the Steelhaus holds up great to moisture, resists pests and fire, is strong enough to withstand harsh weather, and is recyclable. A structure like this can stand for a long time in excellent condition. And if it ever must be dismantled, the materials can be put to good use.
The company also has a model called the Stealth Microhome.
You can see more images of both of these sustainable steel tiny houses at the original post.
Source: SteelGenix Tiny Houses
28. La Casa de Botellas
We are all reminded frequently to recycle our old bottles, and hopefully that is something that you do. But you probably have never thought to upcycle them into something as remarkable as a tiny house. But that is exactly what La Casa de Botellas is!
The home is located in South America near Iguazu Falls, and is also called “The Ecological Bottle House.” Because the walls literally consist of recycled plastic bottles, the entire structure seems to glow in the sunlight.
Not only are the walls of the house made out of plastic bottles, but the same is true of the furniture.
Surprisingly, building a tiny house out of plastic bottles has some practical benefits from a safety standpoint as well.
Want to find out what they are? Visit the original post for more details and additional photos.
29. Porta Palace
To me, the name “Porta Palace” sounds alarmingly like what you might name an outhouse. But in this case, it describes a stunning minimalist tiny house by Woonpioniers.
The house is characterized by simplicity and openness. Ventilating this home would be (pun intended) a breeze.
The builder selected eco-friendly materials for this house, among them hemp-flax insulation and recyclable glass and steel.
While there currently is not a renewable energy source for the house (or wasn’t back when I found the house, I should say), the plan is to include solar panels and a battery kit at some point down the line.
I recommend dropping by the original post to take a closer look at this tiny house so you can really appreciate how open it is.
Source: Porta Palace
30. $15,000 Shipping Container Home
Now and again, a DIYer totally blows my mind with a tiny house project that is both beautiful and economical. Such is the case with this shipping container house that Petar Ceklic built for under $15,000.
Not only is the house economical, but it turns out it is also really sustainable. Petar chose to build the cladding from reconstituted wood sheets.
There is a rainwater collection system, a 110ah battery, a 300w solar panel, as well as a composting toilet. Combined, those features allow this tiny house to function entirely off the grid.
Additionally, it is super stylish with a beautiful, sleek look to it. Check out more photos at the original post. There, you can also find out more about Petar’s inspiring story.
Source: $15,000 Shipping Container Home
Moving into an Eco-Friendly Tiny House is Great for You and the Planet
You have now had a chance to check out some impressive and innovative sustainable tiny houses with stunning designs and features!
Whether you want a home that is fully off-the-grid, or simply one that incorporates some eco-friendly features, you now have the inspiration to fuel your dreams of sustainable living.
If you ever do get a chance to get your own sustainable tiny house, you will love its benefits for the environment, your wallet, and the sense of fulfillment and joy you discover in knowing that you are living harmoniously with your environment.