New tiny houses in South Bend promotes sustainable living

NOW: New tiny houses in South Bend promotes sustainable living

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The tiny houses on Portage Avenue in South Bend are targeted more towards those with a minimalists lifestyle like younger couples, singles, and empty nesters.

“These houses are built a little differently than standard structure, so they produce as much energy as they use, but they actually cost the same price it would cost to build a standard home,” said Mike Keen, the manager of Hometown Development.

In fact, Keen said the 600 square foot two-story house has solar panel roofs, that provide additional energy efficiency. So, what makes these houses stand out from the rest? Besides the small space with tall ceilings, and oversized windows. The sustainable components, according to Keen.

“It’s the energy savings, it’s the affordability, it’s the fact that it's using less fossil fuels, has less of a carbon footprint and its made out of materials that are going to be built, you know we build these houses to last a 100 years,” Keen said.

Keen has his eyes set on revitalizing the Near Northwest Neighborhood in South Bend. He calls himself a farmer, rather than a developer because he plans to build housing in the neighborhood to bring in new homeowners and diversify the area.

“I’m going to be here for the next 10 to 20 years," Keen said. "So, we’ve been working already for five years up to this point. And this is a neighborhood that’s been slowly coming along, developing. A lot of good work has been done,” Keen said.

The idea to design these tiny houses came about three years ago, but it took builders 68 days to build, and the size is something Provision Construction owner Will Miller said has its challenges.

“The process was definitely a good learning experience," Miller said. "Building tiny homes is a little bit different than building a traditional house. You don’t have as much room for error, and you don’t have as much room to work."

You can check out the tiny houses on Portage Avenue next weekend on May 15-16 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Builders Showcase.

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