Besides a technical solution to build more ecological houses, such as the near zero energy house described in the previous chapter, a solution from the social aspect called the tiny house movement, also known as the small house movement is another ecological solution. The movement is predominant in North America although it is starting to gain momentum in Europe with central European countries such as Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and the UK taking the lead. The growth is generally slower in Europe due to more stricter and more stringent building regulations and laws.
The movement started in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, mainly because the members wanted a lifestyle that is more environmentally friendly and ecological through a smaller carbon footprint. The minimalist movement, a movement that advocates owning less possessions and having a much simpler lifestyle in order to let individuals have more time and freedom, has also inspired the tiny house movement. The financial crisis and economic downturn in the USA in the last decade that caused major problems, such as homeowners defaulting on their mortgages and some even becoming homeless, spurred the movement as it is a more affordable lifestyle.
No clear definition on the dimensions of a tiny house has been stated. However, most tiny houses range of between 20 m to 50 m. There are numerous versions of tiny houses with many different features. Some are built in a permanent location while some are placed on a trailer, making the house mobile. A tiny mobile house is an interesting concept, giving one the flexibility to move whenever and wherever one chooses to. There are of course numerous challenges associated with a mobile home such as electricity and water supplies, but at the rate of technological advancement today, solutions to these challenges are surely found in the near future. At the moment if one chooses to have a nomadic lifestyle, the options are to find a place to live at every place or buying and living in a recreational vehicle (RV). This may not be the most ecological nor the most economical solution. There is a gap in the market to provide people choosing a nomadic lifestyle with a good quality home that is mobile.