The project began one day when Annie Murphy of Eco Relics and Sarah Boren of the Northeast Florida Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council were having lunch. Murphy suggested the idea to Boren and they were told to then contact Jenni Edwards, who is the owner and founder of Norsk Tiny Houses, who designs and builds tiny houses in Northeast Florida. Jenni was suggested to them not only because she’s the owner of a company that builds tiny houses, but also because she herself lives in a tiny house and is passionate about the tiny house community. All three of these companies: Eco Relics, the Northeast Florida Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and Norsk Tiny Houses are coming together to complete this project. They are operating mostly off of volunteer work and donations. It will definitely be a community effort to build. Edwards is really looking forward to the project, “I love seeing something come from nothing,” said Edwards.
This project is significant because of the house becoming the first LEED certified tiny house. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. They offer certifications to companies that design and build their own buildings. Getting LEED Certified helps give companies credibility in sustainability. Designing and building the first LEED certified Tiny House is revolutionary for the community and for the housing industry because the tiny house movement not only allows for spatial efficiency and using only the resources you need, but now it will lay groundwork for not only more efficient tiny houses but much more sustainable tiny houses.
“Tiny Houses are for people like me, that want to live differently and spend less money.”
Jenni Edwards, owner and founder of Norsk Tiny Houses, got into tiny living two years ago. Her condo at the time became infected with black mold; she lived in a camper while they were getting rid of it. The camper ended up being a little too small for long-term living, but this change is what sparked Edwards’ interest in living tiny. While living in the camper, she called NOAH (National Organization of Alternative Housing) who certifies tiny houses and spoke to someone on the phone for two hours about tiny houses and the pros and cons of tiny living. “People think that tiny houses are for low income people, but that’s not the case. Tiny houses are for people like me that want to live differently and spend less money,” said Edwards. After that phone conversation she began plans to build her own first tiny home. What appealed to Edwards about living in a tiny house was how it suited her lifestyle. Her kids had already grown and moved away so she just needed enough space for herself. She wanted to travel more and spend less money and, “Tiny living allows me to do these things,” said Edwards.
The Tiny House Community is something that has expanded and grown recently, along with the popularity of tiny living. Edwards thinks that this community in itself can create better lifestyles, “I think the tiny house community encourages people to spend more time outside and more time with people, and to know their neighbors; nobody knows their neighbors anymore,” said Edwards. As far as the future of the tiny house community, getting one LEED certified is a step in the right direction. Edwards predicts for more and more people to start living tiny, “I don’t think it’s a fad anymore, I think it’s a niche,” said Edwards.