Holiday sustainably in an eco-friendly tiny house
Warmer climes such as the Canary Islands and other sunny destinations still hold their lure for sun lovers. However, staycationers are increasing in numbers. Attractive domestic holidays involve many outdoor activities like trips to the seaside or mountains nearby and no long queues at airports! Yet, not everyone is motorized and can avail of caravans and motorhomes even though the number of registered vehicles jumped by 50 per cent between 2015 and 2020. The Elmshorn-based Green Tiny Houses is now offering accommodation in wooden housing units. "Our guests can enjoy nature and see that comfort and sustainability can go hand in hand," said Jan Sadowsky, Managing Director.
Demand for "Green Tiny Houses" steadily increasing
After the first "Green Tiny Village" in Harlesiel with almost 20 tiny houses opened on the North Sea, three more followed in Hooksiel on the Wadden Sea coast. In 2020, the company began leasing out a house near Salem Lake, east of Hamburg, and added three more this season with another in Osterode am Harz to follow in June.
"We will open more units on the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm next year," said Sadowsky. Given the great demand, plans are being laid for more tiny houses in the states of Thuringia, Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The company scours the regions for beauty spots off the beaten track and well away from heavily-frequented tourist regions. "During my search, I got to know many beautiful places that I didn't know before," he remarked.
Mix of sustainability and high-tech
The company relies on natural materials and high-tech to build the houses. Each of the 22 to 24 square metre units is made of softwoods that have been steam-hardened without chemicals to make them weatherproof. "This makes the construction as hard as oak," said Sadowsky. Large panoramic windows give great views of nature. Smaller windows above the beds offer glimpses of the starry night skies. Seaweed fished from the Baltic Sea is used for thermal insulation, and natural cork is used for the floors. A wood-burning stove provides heat, and gas is available for cooking.
"Each tiny house is equipped with an astronaut shower that recycles used water live," said Sadowsky. A sophisticated filter system developed by the Swedish company, Orbital, is used for that purpose. Once used, the water is cleaned so quickly that it does not cool down too much. This saves up to 90 per cent of the water and 80 per cent of the energy costs over conventional showers.
Tiny house tourism trend
"We offered the 'Green Tiny Houses' at Lake Salem tremendous support and arranged the choice of location," said Günter Schmidt, Managing Director of Marketing and Service in the Duchy of Lauenburg. The houses are a great means of accommodation beyond holiday flats, tents and mobile homes. "Apart from ecological sustainability, we also want socially sustainable tourism," he noted. For this reason, the bistro at Salem Lake sells regional products, which are not always cheap. "But people should be able to earn a living from it and be paid reasonably," Schmidt stressed.
Offers for broader target group
An overnight stay in a tiny house costs between EUR 120 to 190 per night, making them considerably pricier than campsite rates. "They are booked by very different holidaymakers e.g., grandparents with grandchildren, couples or groups of friends." Sadowsky is now offering slightly cheaper and smaller sleeping areas without sanitary facilities to attract more hikers, cyclists and paddlers to Salem Lake. Travellers can use the facilities at nearby campsites and will not have to set off on the next stage of their journey covered in dirt.