Tiny homes, big impact

Article image - Tiny homes, big impact A tiny home created by Murwillumbah company Cabin Life.

A sustainable design competition in the Northern Rivers in News South Wales is encouraging people to consider the value of tiny homes.

Imagine a sustainable house that can allow you to live debt-free, with utility bills as low as $10 a month. It’s not just a dream – the tiny house movement is a reality more Australians are adopting as a means of achieving freedom from debt, minimal environmental impact, and the opportunity to live simply.
The focus for the Northern Rivers Sustainable House Day Design Competition this year is Tiny Homes. The competition was open to residents, architects, designers and young people in the Northern Rivers.

More than $5000 in cash and prizes was up for grabs over three design categories: Tiny Homes - A Pocket Neighbourhood, A Tiny Home and A Teeny Tiny Home.

The event and competition is a joint project by Tweed Shire Council, Lismore City Council, Byron Shire Council, Ballina Shire Council, The Green Building Centre, Nimbin Neighbourhood & Information Centre, North Coast TAFE, Self Seed Sustainability and Dorroughby Environment Educational Centre.

Tweed Shire Council’s Program Leader-Sustainability, Debbie Firestone, said, “A tiny home has a footprint far smaller than a traditional home and is sustainable in the sense that we have only used as much room as we need and as little building materials as possible.

“Add simple design criteria with creative and talented local designers and we should have a fantastic array of designs to choose from.”

The competition attracted more than 80 entries in previous years, with those designs viewed by over 1500 people. This year’s was on show at the Tweed Home Expo at Seagulls Club on Saturday 3 September.

The 2016 competition culminated in a Showcase Awards and Expo at Mullumbimby Civic Hall on Saturday 17 September, when residents could view the entries, meet the designers and vote for their favourite design.

Adam Bennett-Smith from Koho, a key sponsor of the event, knows just how important tiny homes are in allowing for more people to access secure, affordable, well designed housing.

“We believe that with good design, tiny homes can offer more amenity in better locations than larger conventional homes,” said Mr Bennett-Smith. In addition to offering affordable long-term leases of up to three years, we are really interested in exploring new entry level pathways to home ownership like ‘rent to buy’.”