SMALL HOUSE

The Small House has many advantages, particularly when combined with solar design and green building methods. A few factors that make a small house an attractive option are low-cost, maintenance, and environmental impact. A small house is less expensive to build, keeping the size small, geometry and details simple, that will allow for reduced construction costs and lead to an affordable home.

Less debt = smaller or possibly no mortgage.

A small house can be built to require little to no exterior maintenance. In a single level house, what little maintenance is required is relatively easy to manage.

A small house requires less materials & products to build. Integrating green building methods, harnessing solar energy, and reducing embodied energy leads to a more sustainable building with lower environmental impact.

Why build more house than you really need?

Aside from the common budget restraints that are often associated with building a new home and determine your limitations, consider first examining the reality of one’s needs: Do you really need a larger home? The option of living a simpler lifestyle with less stress in a smaller home can create freedom for some people. Investing in a small house that is energy efficient will lead to easy living in comfort, with very low monthly utility costs, or none with a net- zero home. You can invest the money you saved in choosing a small house or downsizing in your future. This can be particularly important if you live on a fixed retirement income.

The ‘Park Model’, 408 sq. ft., 1 BR, 1 Bath


What size is a Small House?

A small house can vary in overall size and dimensions, but typically IRC code space requirements call for at minimum 1 bedroom / 1 bath, and more common is a 2 bedroom / 1 bath arrangement. A typical small house is between 400 and 1000 sq. ft., and falls into two general arrangements:

  • Single bay wide home – which are long and narrow, or
  • Double bay wide home – arranged to increase depth and reduce length

An affordable small house is usually single level, and for true economy has a shed roof or low pitch gable.


Small House construction falls under three main categories:

Pre-manufactured = premanufactured as a single unit and transported to building site complete.

Site assembled = premanufactured panels transported to the site and assembled, or modular construction where multiple premanufactured units are transported to the site and assembled with a crane.

Site built = traditionally, individual materials and supplies are delivered to building site and assembled, piece by piece.


Double Bay Plan – 912 sq ft, 2 BR

Single Bay Plan – 672 sq ft, 1 BR


Dimensions and Rough Cost in Maine for Pre-manufactured, Single Level Homes

Dimensions Sq. Ft. Bedrooms & Baths Approximate Cost Code
Tiny Home 8’ x 16′

10’ x 24’

128

240

w/loft

w/loft

$30,000

$50,000

no code

no code

Park Model 12’ x 32’ 384 1 bdrm/1 bath $40,000 3-season
Single Wide 14’ x 40’

14’ x 56’

560

784

1 bdrm/1 bath

2 bdrm/1 bath

$35,000

$50,000+

HUD code

HUD code

Double Wide 24’ x 32′ 768 2 bdrm/1 bath $80,000 HUD code
Modular Ranch 24’ x 34’ 816 2 bdrm/1 bath $90,000 IRC code
Modular Cape 26’ x 36′ 950 3 bdrm/1 bath $100,000 IRC code

Dimensions and Rough Cost for Maine Sunworks ‘Green’ Site-built Homes

 Dimensions  Sq. Ft.  Bedrooms & Baths  Approximate Cost  Code
Single Bay 12’ x 32’

14’ x 40’

16’ x 32’

16’ x 44’

18’ x 48’

384

560

512

704

864

1 bdrm/1 bath

1 bdrm/1 bath

1 bdrm/1 bath

1 bdrm/1 bath

2 bdrm/1 bath

$70,000

$85,000

$80,000

$110,000

$140,000

IRC code
Double Bay 22’ x 34’

24’ x 36’

24’ x 40’

748

864

960

2 bdrm/1 bath

2 bdrm/1 bath

2 bdrm/1 bath

$140,000

$150,000

$165,000

IRC code