The tiny house movement has captured the imagination of those interested in minimalist—and often mortgage free—lifestyles, but these diminutive dwellings can save on more than just space and cash.

Wohnwagon Tiny Home

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Austrian firm Wohnwagon designed 269-square-foot caravans that are entirely self-sustaining through off-grid technology. 

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Austrian start-up firm Wohnwagon designed a 269-square-foot caravan for homeowners looking for a natural living option that can power itself year round. The home is meant to be entirely self-sustaining through off-grid technology, with key features such as a rooftop photovoltaic system, a composting bio-toilet, and a plant-based water treatment system.  

The home is powered by 4, 300 Wp solar panels mounted to the roof. The 1.2 kWp current output of the panels can power the home year-round, and power-saving batteries in the false bottom of the car last up to four days. An in-home display informs residents of their energy consumption and remaining power.

A sustainable wetland of sorts is located on the roof and serves as the home’s water purification system by emulating a natural ecosystem. Used water from the trailer is pumped to the roof where it is cleaned in the green plant—consisting of perennials and shrubs used for natural filtration—and recycled within 24 hours. Rainwater is also collected on the roof and filtered through the cycle. The home can hold 650 liters of water at a time, a majority of which is stored on the roof.

Wohnwagon homes have a specially designed heating system that is powered by solar energy. The 100-liter water tank and radiator saves energy from the rooftop solar panels and releases it continuously into the home. The visible flame through the glass window still provides the cozy feel of a traditional fire.

The home is constructed with raw, natural, biodegradable, or recycled materials from the local surroundings.

The cabin's exterior is made from larch wood, a strong and resinous material, which makes it naturally resistant to the elements and insects. The inner lining of the home is built with spruce wood-fiber panels and a compostable clay plaster that can transform the interior style of the space with endless color and texture options. The clay is moisture-regulating and allows for high temperature storage.

The car is also insulated with sheep wool which absorbs pollutants while still regulating humidity and helping air to circulate throughout the home. The interior height of the home is just shy of 8 feet and the trailer has a retractable patio to expand the living room and open the home to the outdoors.

The Wohnwagon (which translates to "residential wagon") comes in three customizable models with size variations, ranging in price from approximately $38,600 at the most basic level to around $77,000 when complete with all design features.