Tiny Home Movement

The tiny house movement (also known as the “tiny home movement” and “small house movement”) is both an architectural and societal trend that advocates simple living, a lifestyle that begins with taking up residence in a small single detached home. While there is no hard requirement as to what constitutes a tiny home, the structures typically fall under the 500 square feet range – a tiny home indeed.

The movement has been big in the U.S. for quite some time now, with HGTV reality shows such as Tiny House, Big Living and Tiny House Builders dedicated solely to the concept. These shows and the slew of human interest stories on local news programs continue to spur on the trend, and the movement is currently gaining momentum in Canada. Plans for small house villages and co-ops are popping up across the country, with development taking place at this very moment in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and all the way through to Nova Scotia.

Tiny homes are not just about the provision of affordable housing in Alberta, they are downright trendy, and because of this, architects and builders who once scratched their heads at the phenomenon are now realizing that it’s time to throw their hats into the ring too. But how are you to make sense of it all? Finding the right building solution from the get-go is the answer, and that lies within the decision to use insulated concrete forms for small house construction.

3 Reasons Why Insulated Concrete Form Construction is the Future of the Tiny Home Movement in Alberta

1. Superior Energy Efficiency

Recent studies prove that insulated concrete form wall assembly provides a 58% better R-Value/RSI and  generates up to 60% energy savings compared to traditionally constructed properties. This is why ICF is so popular for Net Zero homes and affordable housing initiatives alike. People buying into the tiny home movement cite simple living, sustainability, and affordability as being the key motivations for moving on in. ICF clearly provides for the all-important latter two, better than any other form of residential construction to date.

2. Superior Comfort

The whole tiny home concept sounds fine and dandy when you think of it being perched on the slopes of prairie plains or overlooking the Red Deer River in the warm summer months, but is the same picture painted in the thick of winter? It actually can be, if (and only if) the tiny home is built with ICF. Insulted concrete form constructed residences, no matter how big or small, are much more comfortable to live in thanks to the same superior level of thermal resistance that keeps utility expenditure down.

Concrete is layered between two continuous NUDURA panels of 2 5/8” (67 mm) EPS foam, which isolates the concrete and considerably reduces the flow of heat through the wall. That means heat won’t escape in the cold season in the same manner that it does when building a small home with wood frames or other more traditional methods. On the flip side, these tiny abodes won’t become hot boxes during 25°C plus days of summer either, as heat is kept outside while occupants remain cool within.

3. Easier to Build

Quick turnaround time is one of the big benefits of tiny home construction. That’s why you’re not just hearing reports of small homes popping up here and there, but coming in waves of villages and co-op communities. Yet again we see another example of how ICF is perfect for the concept. ICF homes are built much faster than traditional ones. The expanded polystyrene (EPS) forms stack like LEGO blocks with a steel rebar for reinforcement. Once assembled, concrete is poured into the hollow core and walls are instantaneously constructed. Construction site activity also moves much quicker because of the use of lightweight (yet sturdy) panels, while the learning curve for uninitiated builders and subcontractors is shorter thanks to the provision of ICF training programs available in Alberta.


Don’t let the niche yet fast growing market get away from you. Adopt ICF as a part of the way you build homes and you too can capitalize on the tiny house movement in Alberta. Contact Total ICF today to get started.