The “tiny house movement” (also known as the “small house movement”) has been gaining interest and attention in recent years. This is an architectural and social movement in which people are choosing to downsize the space they live in and to live as simply and sustainably as possible.
The average American home is around 2600 sq. ft., but the occupants of tiny houses manage with a meager 100 to 400 sq. ft. of living space. This allows for less energy consumption and aligns the home owners with the ideal of living a simple and sustainable lifestyle.
The Environment Science department of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. recognized that this trend could be a unique learning experience for its students. Now that the board has approved the plans for the first phase of the “Tiny House Project”, students will be able to be a part of a program that will integrate concepts of environmental studies, sustainability and simple living into their coursework and lifestyles.
According to the college, in the exploratory phase of the program design of the tiny house along with location, building codes, zoning ordinances and residence rules and regulations are being considered. A team of students will also assist with the design and planning for the first house as a part of the exploratory phase.
Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster College professor, program coordinator and chair for the environmental programs stated, “Ideally, we will construct the tiny house through a community build, where students, faculty, staff, community members, and alumni are able to support the building of the house through physical participation in the build, donations, or other contributions. Pending success and support of phase one, we will plan for two or three more houses.”
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