The tiny house trend is hot. The housing type offers a number of benefits--mobility, affordability, and a life free from clutter.

Earlier this month, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) held the first Tiny House Competition, which pitted teams from nine colleges in Northern California against each other to build 100- to 400 square-foot homes that are “solar powered, zero net energy houses on wheels.” Keeping with California's initiative for net-zero and Title 24 requirements, the challenge was to “showcase energy saving strategies, new technologies and sustainable design.”

Natalie Way at Realtor.com presents some takeaways from this competition that give us some insight into the tiny house trends of the future.

Tiny trend No. 1: Houses that rotate to catch the sun’s rays
This concept is what enabled the team of students from Santa Clara University to clinch the contest’s top prize with its rEvolve house. Built on a solar tracking ring, the house rotates to face the sun as it moves across the sky; the result is 30% more energy efficiency than tiny homes not using this technology.

Tiny trend No. 2: Full-size bathrooms
Little wonder that California State University, Sacramento, won the “Best Bathroom” award by squeezing a normal-sized toilet—and even more incredible, a full-sized bath—into its 184-square-foot home. The team achieved the bathroom magic with a clever multipurpose design of interior space, and also upped the game in water efficiency by incorporating a rainwater catch and filtration system.

Tiny trend No. 3: Pet-friendly digs
Santa Clara University’s rEvolve home includes pet-friendly amenities such as a vacuum built into the wall to collect dog hair and a drawer with bowls that emerge from the wall so you can just shut them away out of sight once chow time for the pooch is over.

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