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UNCC’s net-zero energy solar home has won awards and captured imaginations about what buildings of the future might look like. Green building is not just about cutting edge technology, however. Intelligent use of space and materials is just as important. After all, the smaller a living space is, the less it takes to heat, cool and light it; the fewer resources it takes to build; and the less “stuff” you’re able to fill it up with too.

For some, the concept might sound restrictive. For others, however, they argue that it is extremely liberating to cut both their housing costs and maintenance needs so dramatically.

The Tiny House movement has been quietly spreading across the US and beyond, encouraging would-be homeowners and homebuilders to think not in terms of how much square footage they want, but rather what do they really need from a home? From tiny cottages built from tin cans and old grocery bags to a teenager building himself a mortgage-free future, the stories and structures emanating from this movement are as diverse as they are inspiring. And this isn’t just about rustic, country dwellings for the hippy crowd either – the increasing urbanization of our country has lead to a trend in high-tech tiny apartments full of fancy transformer furniture too.

On April 5th and 6th of 2014, adherents of the Tiny House movement will be gathering in Charlotte, NC, for The Tiny House Conference where they will share ideas, resources and inspiration for how to live well in small spaces. Topics will include the use of reclaimed materials, advanced building techniques, living and organizing in tiny houses, insulation, off-grid living, and zoning and planning issues related to tiny houses. There will also be several tiny houses on-site for people to explore and learn from.

A limited number of pay-what-you-can tickets are available for would-be tiny house attendees on a tiny budget. See the Tiny House Conference registration page for more information.