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Tiny sustainable homes cut housing costs for first-time buyers

First time home buyers are being encouraged to think outside the box by purchasing low-cost, minimalist spaces made from sustainable materials such as cork, hemp, and rubber.

Whether it’s the ongoing cost-of-living crisis or Emma Chamberlain’s trending (and somewhat unattainable) multi-million-dollar mansion that has made you consider throwing your home-owning dreams down the drain, you might want to hold on a second longer.

While environmental destruction and a shrinking economy are just two things in a long list of 21st century conundrums that are forcing us to rethink how we live, deciding where will live might soon change too.

The news that less than 30 percent of Millennials can afford to buy a home has led to them being labelled ‘Generation Rent’ and it wouldn’t be ridiculous to assume that this figure has been worsened by an inflated housing market.

That said, for those with a minimalist budget (and mindset), a new option for homeownership is on the horizon. The Irish non-profit social enterprise Common Knowledge has collaborated with hemp producer Margent Farm to create low-carbon micro living spaces called Tigín Tiny Homes.

 

Comparable to sizeable caravans, the homes are made from natural materials such as corrugated hemp cladding panels, cork for insulation, and sustainably sourced rubber for linoleum floors.

Tigín is the Gaelic word for ‘cottage’ or ‘small house’ and pricing starts at about a quarter of the price of a typical house deposit today: €55,000. For this price, buyers will own a two-floor Tigín Home fit with a kitchenette, composting toilet, shower, storage area/workspace and upstairs loft bedroom.

Designed in house by Common Knowledge, buyers have the option of purchasing 20 square metre homes that have already been constructed, or – if they’re feeling handy – can attend a workshop to build one themselves.

Relocation will also be a breeze thanks to lightweight hemp panels which ensure the Tigíns are entirely mobile and eco-friendly. To achieve this, hemp plant fibres are mixed with sugar-based resin produced from agricultural waste.

The hope is that Tigín Tiny Homes will offer support to millions of people who are becoming affected by the housing crisis, or who have struggled to fulfil the dream of purchasing their own home.

For those looking for open, airy spaces to call home, the idea of living in an oversized caravan might sound like a claustrophobic nightmare. But not all humans are the same, are we?

In the age of sustainable awareness, many are erring towards a minimalist way of life. Donating clothes we don’t wear anymore, buying and selling second-hand, and upcycling or repairing rather than throwing away have become everyday practices.

The proof is in the pudding. Common Knowledge says classes on constructing Tigín Homes have been attended by over 200 people and, as a result, four completed homes are already up for sale.

The team at Common Knowledge hope to provide additional resources for anyone wanting to scale the size of their Tigín Home up or down.

In addition, they hope to expand the current selection of sustainable materials – cork, hemp, and rubber – so that buyers and builders can customise their eco-friendly homes accordingly.

Being a social enterprise, Common Knowledge has said that all proceeds from Tigín Homes sales will be put towards hosting future educational workshops.

It’s super encouraging to see options such as these become available for homeownership, especially during a time where the news is oversaturated with headlines about mortgage rates.

I can definitely appreciate the design, but as someone who’s lived in my fair share of tiny homes, I think I’ll be giving this one a miss for the time being. For now, just call me Generation Rent.

 

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