- There is a high demand for eco-friendly and minimalistic living
- Ter Steege makes the Brouwerijterrein in Hengelo available for the construction of tiny houses
- Tiny houses often use renewable energy
A tiny house has a maximum area of 50m2. Naturally, a tiny house needs less building materials than a conventional home. Also, sustainable and recycled materials are used if possible, making these tiny houses circular as well. Sometimes, the choice is made to use “normal” building materials. The focus of tiny houses is, of course, the size. Living in a tiny house confronts you with having to live in a more minimalistic way; you only buy what you need. It puts a stop to over-consumption. According to Joris Kroos, who lives in one of the tiny houses in Hengelo, his family simply does not need any more. They went from a “normal” three-story house to a tiny house. Besides, it is very important to Joris to have the smallest possible ecological footprint.
Tiny houses are sometimes (partly) self-sustaining. For example, they generate their electricity with solar panels. Some houses have a system where rainwater can be collected, for example, for flushing the toilet. However, you can also choose for a connection to the normal gas network and sewer. “Tiny living” is a way of living that generally puts less pressure on our living environment.
Tiny living does not need to be a sacrifice. Most people that choose to live in a tiny house don’t “just” do this for the climate. Another common reason is wanting to be closer to nature. “We have this kind of camping life feeling all year long”, Joris Kroos says. Maintaining and cleaning a (much) smaller area gives you more time for hobbies and family. According to many, owning fewer items also gives a sense of “peace”. Tiny houses can be very cheap, so you do not need a mortgage or only a small one. This increases your financial independence. You can choose to work less. “It gives you freedom”, according to Joris, “You can focus on the things you find important”.
Ter Steege saw this development coming and makes grateful use of it. They knew there was a lot of demand for tiny houses in Twente. According to Bert Hallink, management consultant at Ter Steege: “When we bought the site at the Brewery in Hengelo, we knew we could not immediately start developing there. Instead of leaving the land unused, we wanted to give it a temporary destination. At the same time, we heard a lot about tiny houses from both in and outside the country. Small homes that focus on sustainability and circularity, themes that all tie with the current events. We were interested.”
The tiny housing movement is a solution for the construction industry as well, for multiple challenges the housing market currently faces. “Locations are scarce and becoming more expensive, and families are getting smaller, so we need to use the space efficiently.” Ter Steege deeply values sustainable construction. “Giving a location to the ten tiny houses in Hengelo is a way for us to learn and see new things”, Bert Hallink says.