What is the energy consumption comparison between a 1500sf house and a 400sf tiny house?

I know the purpose of tiny houses is green living and energy efficiency but how much is the difference based on 2 people?

  • With only 2 people, I don't think there would be such a drastic difference.

    In larger houses what can drive up energy consumption is leaving the lights or HVAC on in unoccupied areas. Also, some families have the habit of leaving the outdoor lighting on all night long. I believe energy consumption has to do more with habits than actual home size.

    If 2 people living in a normal house have the same habits as 2 people living in a tiny house, I don't think energy consumption will be drastically different.

  • Registered Users Member
    Yes, it matters, a lot. Square footage is the single most important factor driving energy consumption within the residential sector. The 1,500 sf home will consume somewhere between 9,000-11,000 kWh/year (assuming an energy use intensity of 20-25 kBtu/sf). This assume electricity is used for everything at the house. A comparable tiny house would consume less than 3,000 kWh/year.
    There are three main areas of focus for home owners related to energy consumption: building envelope (how tight, insulation levels, windows, doors, roof/attic, where the ducts are run, etc), mechanical systems and appliances (HVAC, water heating, LED lighting, cooking, fridge, dryer and washer, etc), and behaviors (educated, proactive, thrifty, etc).
  • In reply to JGomez:

    Thanks, I guess heating has a lot to do with it?

    I live in a city in Central America with tropical climate, where space heating is virtually non-existent and water heating is used every once in a while. Central AC units are also extremely rare in residential settings... most use a mini-split for each room. As a result, sometimes you see large houses or apartments with only 1 or 2 people and very low energy bill. At a given time, most of the house/apartment is in the dark and without air conditioning.

  • Registered Users Member
    A couple of things: you cannot compare the energy consumption from a home without central air conditioning and heating with a house that has those systems. Also, it is not good to compare the energy performance of homes that have different characteristics. For example, size, fuel type (all-electric versus dual-fuel), age of the home, building envelope, etc. To make a proper comparison you will have to normalize and control for all those factors.
    The information I provided below is based on extensive research over the past 5 years looking at utility billing data for over 400,000 single-family homes in South central Texas.
    While the first natural reaction is to think that the number of people is the most important factor influencing energy consumption. That is simply not true. Data from a number of research programs confirms that building size and the other factors listed below are more important than the people factor. People do have the ability to affect energy consumption by utilizing and encouraging non-conserving behaviors. Consumer education and best practices can be encouraged and promoted. However, that will take a long time to produce results.
  • For 2 people there wont be any drastic change, however for a proper energy comparison you can use websites like www.cheapbills.com.au to compare the plans according to your needs.
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