Document Type


Publication Date



Environmental Sciences


Jean Lavigne, Environmental Studies


Since the year 1950, the size of the average American house has increased by two and one half times, from 1,000 Square Feet to 2,400 Square Feet. The drastic growth in housing size has led to increased spending and usage of utilities (natural gas, electricity, etc.), resulting in surges in the American carbon footprint. This research explores the potential for tiny homes to serve as a solution to the elusive idea of sustainable housing that is available to the average American homeowner, aiding in the size reduction of the American carbon footprint. Utilizing existing literature on the topic of tiny homes, this analysis explores the benefits and challenges of downsizing ones living space. Benefits include: reduced spending on household utilities, increased awareness in consumer purchases due to space limitations, greatly reduced or nonexistent payments, a greater social connection among families and a reduction in household carbon footprint. Although there are many benefits, issues with zoning law, families with children and expense of construction and development still need to be solved. Assuming that the homeowner can solve these problems, tiny homes appear to be an excellent answer to affordable, sustainable homes available to the average American family.


Timothy Carlin's final paper was written for ENVR 320: Research Colloquium; his Celebrating Scholarship & Creativity Day poster is attached as an Additional File.