TINY HOMES / DESIGN
Tiny Homes Ireland, tinyhomes.ie
of a tiny home really makes the listing stand out from the pack and can pay for itself in rental income in two to four years. However the planners would have something to say about this commercial use. � As a temporary home while building your own permanent one with the possibility, with suitable planning permission, to retain it for future use. � For anyone wanting to rid themselves of debt. Accommodation is most people’s largest single living cost. A tiny house frees up money to do other things. � For those who abhor ‘stuff’ and enjoy minimalist living. The fact is that many of us could happily live in far less accommodation than we currently have. � If you want to live off-grid. About 40 per cent of all carbon emissions comes from our homes. The smaller the home the less the carbon footprint. � If you want portability. Many tiny homes are built on a chassis, like a caravan or mobile home, and can be easily moved. � If a family member with reduced mobility wants to achieve a level of independence, the customisability aspect of tiny homes can lead to a house being tailored to their specific needs.
How tiny houses are built: eco-modular systems There are many examples of low impact prefabricated and modular construction systems that could be well suited to tiny homes produced in quantity. In light of Ireland’s small size, there aren’t many prefab manufacturers here but a variety of systems (some still in R&D) are produced in North America, the UK, Europe and Asia. Full modular systems, in which the floor/ wall/roof panels are all manufactured in a factory with quality control and efficient assembly line production, offer the best energy performance and airtightness. Once on site, the assembly is speedy and there are minimal work or disturbance. Modular systems include (but are not limited to): • Rammed Earth precast panels on steel frame; rammed earth wall systems with steel reinforced inner/outer leaves and foam insulation between; currently produced in the US and Canada. • Hemp panel systems
with fully dried timber/ OSB frame with hemp lime insulation infill and wood fibre sheathing or composite joist filled with bio-composite material made of hemp shiv and lime based binder; currently produced in the UK. • OSB-3 Structural Insulated Panel systems with EPS insulation between panels, cut and notched for streamline assembly; currently produced in Ireland. • Timber frame closed panels containing natural insulation such as straw, wool, or cellulose, and lined with breathable racking board; produced in Ireland, the UK, France and North America. An experimental building, The Endeavor Centre in Ontario, Canada, demonstrates how to achieve zero waste and zero toxins using straw bale panels, mycofoam (mushroom) external insulation and recycled beverage containers for internal wall insulation. • Structural timber such as Cross Laminated Timber. CLT is made of
layers of vertical and horizontal timber to create a structural panel, common in Germany and increasingly popular in the UK. Some systems contain formaldehyde glues used but there are now gluefree options available. You can also build from natural modular parts, which are usually manufactured in a factory and typically in moulded block or brick form. Some examples include: • Rammed Earth blocks, developed in the USA, zero cement. • Hempcrete blocks made of a lime and hemp shiv mix, available in the US, UK, Europe and Asia. • Clay blocks including 1) fired clay honeycomb blocks that use no vertical mortar, 2) expanded clay (insulating) blocks or 3) lime block containing lime, slag and natural clays. • Cellulose (papercrete) blocks made of recycled cellulose, cement and organic additives; currently produced in the US. - Caelan Bristow
Too good to be true?
Though micro living has its fans, for the above reasons, there are many detractors who are concerned that: � Such small units could start a craze among property developers who would soon see them as a way to huge profits as they try to convince us that we can live in smaller and smaller units. � Standards might drop from current highend specifications to become ‘dog-kennel’ homes over time. Building regulations standards and guarantees provided by the contractor should prevent this. � Psychological and emotional issues could arise over time living in such small spaces unless light and ventilation are properly
addressed. � Such homes won’t keep pace with the rise in value of normal-sized ones � Mortgage companies won’t embrace them unless perhaps if the structure is fixed to a solid foundation and is not transportable. � Because entry is usually via steps, this might not embrace universal design guidelines but there are many different types of entry; ramp, pathway, singular step, disabled access etc. � Bedrooms are usually up in the roof space, which doesn’t appeal to some.
What about planning consent?
This is a tricky subject that needs looking into before you start. Begin by talking with your neighbours to get them on side. Tell them exactly what you have in mind, including how big it will be, where it will go, how high it will be and so on. Because it could come as a shock to them if you don’t do this, you could find they’ll object your application. Show them pictures of what it’ll look like. Next it’s time to involve the local planning office. Every AU T U M N 2 0 1 8 / S E L F B U I L D / 7 3