Tiny Homes Thrive with Innovative Smarts

When American Modern finished our very own LivingWise smart home, we set out to discover if and how smart technologies could fit into an even smaller footprint, say between 100-400 square feet.

The tiny home movement is now more mainstream than Elvis, who coincidentally was born in a tiny two-room shotgun house no more than 15 feet wide. In America, tiny homes have a rich, but uncelebrated history (unless the home happens to be the birthplace of Elvis Aaron Presley).

But we know Elvis left his humble shotgun childhood home and grew into a superstar, moving into the super-sized lavish Graceland.

Save for a few tiny homes where remarkable people lived at one time or another, most of America’s tiny homes historically have ended up as quaint destination homes.

Tiny homes have been a part of our American tradition, yet is only in the last decade that their popularity has exploded.

It begs the question: What has been missing?

New technologies.

The innovative wave cresting in the tiny house movement is packing smart tech into a small footprint. This can be in the form of integrated gadgets that you can control with your voice, an app on your phone, or simply new energy efficient and echo-friendly technology that works for your tiny smart home even when you’re off the grid.

Take Tesla’s newest invention: Solar Roof tiles. Not only do they elegantly blend with any architectural design while turning sunlight into electricity, they are nearly indestructible. They withstand the highest hail rating. Where traditional house tiles fail, Tesla’s Solar Roof can withstand 2-inch size hail traveling at 100 mph.

These roof tiles are integrated with a sleek Powerwall home battery that adheres to the side of your home, even a tiny home, so you can use solar energy whenever you choose. That’s key when traveling with a tiny house. Moreover, Tesla’s Solar Roof provides uninterrupted electricity during power outages. This is the kind of reliability that is essential when living small and off the grid. And with such a small footprint, you will only need a fraction of tiles that a regular home would require, saving you a ton on material costs. Along with the 30% Solar Investment Tax Credit you receive, that’s technology that offers huge returns.

But it’s not just the exterior of tiny homes that are getting smarter. Some companies are building tiny smart homes whose interiors are open to the public to showcase new technologies, proving that tiny can be mighty when equipped with the newest (and most compact) technologies.

Earlier this year, Intel and Amazon Alexa paired up to create the Smart Tiny Home, which opened house in Las Vegas, NV. It not only packed in a full kitchen, living area, bedroom, office, and bathroom into a whopping 210 square feet, but it also found room to install the latest smart home technology that runs when you run your mouth: conversation AI. Intel, Amazon, MiOS, and BMW gadgets were all implemented to allow you to control nearly every function of the house (and your BMW) with your voice, a huge leap in improving how we interact with technology.

Essentially, your voice powers Alexa, who in turn directs the MiOS Home Control Software to do just about anything your heart desires, lowering your blinds and dimming the lights included. It’s pretty simple, right?

Typically the home is a place where your hands are full, or you’re too busy relaxing to bother getting up. So having hands-free control over your smart home technology is key. Even in tiny spaces.

Tiny houses don’t usually come with a lot of gadgets and gizmos installed, because a lot of times living tiny means living simply. But Portland, Oregon’s Covo Tiny House Company begs to differ, embracing smart home technology with its new Covo Mio tiny house. The recently completed dwelling offers lots of techy extras, including a Schlage Z-Wave door lock, Bluetooth sound system, and LED lighting, which all hooked-up to a Wink Hub and are controllable from your smartphone.

But the heavy-hitting tech doesn’t stop there in the Convo Mio. It also can be equipped with other noteworthy tech like an Amazon Echo, a Nest thermostat, USB charging ports, an efficient zero-smell Composting Toilet.

On the other coast, New Jersey Tiny Homes has equipped the 238 square foot “Cassie” model with some serious high tech, modern features. It truly is a Smart House, despite its compact size. It includes Bluetooth controlled energy efficient LED lighting, USB charging outlets, a Bluetooth streaming Stereo throughout the house, Smart TV’s in both the living room and loft, a digitally-controlled hot water heater, and a digital keyless entry. What is great about the Kwikset Power Bolt lockset is not only the keyless entry, but the lock system can also have temporary passcodes for your guests.

And with the Ondura composite/asphalt roofing system, you have a reliable and lightweight roof over your head that’s also acoustically friendly unlike noisy aluminum roofs that tend to be popular on tiny homes.

Whether it’s technology that makes you safer, or makes life more efficient, or reduces the cost of energy, or is friendlier to the environment, the smart tiny house trend is exploding. Technologies are becoming more integrated and compact, which is a perfect fit for tiny homes. Simplifying your life into a smaller space can mean downsizing personal items like clothes and furniture, but it can also mean upsizing in technology that makes life more convenient, safe, and efficient.

Downsizing, when smart technology is working hard for you, can be a huge upgrade, giving you more time to focus on living your life and enjoying your friends and family. That’s a win-win for connectivity.

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