When you think about a tiny house, it’s easy to envision a simple, carbon-neutral homestead. You have only a few hundred square feet for where you eat, sleep and live, and smaller homes contribute to a sustainable globe, especially when you consider our current home design trends.

Here’s a list of ways that a tiny house lifestyle creates an eco-friendly world.

1. Space Becomes a Priority

Many of us know about Levittown, America’s first suburban community that popped up post-World War II. This craze inspired a love for planned neighborhoods, with massive “McMansions” that arrived at the end of the 1980s. As a result, people began to buy homes simply because they were large. They didn’t have four kids, but they looked for houses with five bedrooms anyways.

Even today, size matters for many. Unfortunately, these trends aren’t ideal for the planet. Massive houses cause certain environmental problems, like light pollution and energy waste. That’s where tiny homes make a difference. These properties prioritize form and function — your bedroom lies above your bathroom, for example. There’s no room for wasted space.

2. Builders Use Green Materials

When someone wants to build a tiny house, they often do so with green, recycled materials. They may take this route because it’s cheaper, but these supplies look attractive and hold up over time. Elements like bamboo floors, cork walls and steel siding make for a beautifully modern home. Not only do these components spare some ecosystems, but they also provide waste minimization.

Plus, renovations don’t require too much work, because there isn’t a lot of space. You won’t need to waste resources if you plan a remodel — in fact, you may even be able to use leftover materials from your build.

3. Appliances are Energy-Efficient

A tiny house lifestyle requires a few sacrifices, so you won’t have a chef’s kitchen – but you probably expected that part! In any case, most downsizers need to choose new appliances, which presents an opportunity to try energy-efficient models. Many small fridges and dishwashers boast Energy Star approvals, so search for those certifications set by the EPA.

Of course, it’s always important to take care of your fixtures if you want them to last. Most tiny homeowners use generators to provide a reliable energy supply, but they can fail or malfunction when you don’t pay attention. Make sure that you read up on your appliances so that you don’t run into an emergency.

Additionally, many people living in tiny homes will invest in renewable energy that can both help them live a greener lifestyle and potentially live off the grid. The most common source is solar power, but depending on where you live, another renewable energy source may be a more affordable option.

4. Lifestyles Change Accordingly

When you move into a tiny house, it doesn’t take long for you to adopt a new lifestyle. You can’t use your home office to do some work and then walk downstairs to the kitchen and grab a snack. Instead, you need to change your routine around your house. As a result, you may seek out healthy, one-pot meals to make dinner time less messy. You could take faster showers so that everyone can brush their teeth before school or work.

Slowly, you’ll notice that your behaviors change accordingly. If you ever move into a larger home, you’ll probably take these eco-friendly habits with you.

5. Outdoor Room Helps Inside

You can’t create a huge backyard deck as an attachment for your tiny home, but it’s still possible to enjoy the outdoors. Several tiny house owners like to install sliding doors so that they can construct a small patio on their land. They can walk inside and outside with ease — and nature can help heat and cool the home naturally.

This point saves money, energy and time. If you owned a large, multi-story house, it’d take more than a single open door to make the temperature drop inside. Additionally, unless you had dozens of windows, natural light couldn’t provide enough warmth to notice a difference.

A Tiny House Lifestyle Can Help the Planet

At the end of the day, tiny homes can reduce your carbon footprint noticeably. Over time, most tiny house owners become more adapted to a green lifestyle as a result.

Bio:  Emily is a sustainability writer who is the creator of Conservation Folks.