A tiny home with a big impact

In recent years, the tiny homes architectural and social movement has been gaining popularity. It was being presented as a solution to modern day problems including rising construction costs of houses and their negative environmental footprint. The obstacles surrounding mainstream construction of tiny houses of involved issues such as land acquisition and deceiving true costs per square footage. But the truth is, a tiny home can definitely be a smart, sustainable, and affordable choice.

Imagine a tiny home that stores carbon in its walls, that produces the heating energy it needs, and that is affordable.

This is precisely FPInnovations’ upcoming project within the Innovative Bioeconomy Demonstration Project funded by Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan), the regional development agency focused on British Columbia’s evolving economy. The Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation is also providing direct funding for the project.


Well, the community of Kluskus, home of the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation – located approximately 200 km west of Quesnel, BC – consists of only 8 log homes and is looking to expand further to accommodate community members moving back on reserve. To do so, the plan is to build 3 new tiny homes – FPInnovations’ tiny house prototype will constitute the first prototype for the 3 new homes.

FPInnovations’ prototype

FPInnovations’ prototype house will be passive-energy meaning it will require next to no heating other than natural solar radiation. For really cold days, the home can be heated with electricity generated by the solar panel or through the near by biomass energy system that is being commissioned later this year. The combined heat and power system will provide electricity and heat for hot water to the tiny home and other buildings in the community.

The tiny house will be constructed modular at FPInnovations’ Vancouver premises using only sustainably harvested wood fibre materials. To minimize costs of the house in construction, mass timber will be used for the home’s foundations to further reduce the construction costs as a replacement to traditional concrete-poured foundations.

Once complete, the tiny house will then be transported to the community and re-assembled there.

Benefits of modular construction

Modular construction has been proven to provide low-cost, flexible, energy-efficient, and rapidly available solutions for affordable housing.

As part of its offsite construction research program, FPInnovations aims to develop innovative building systems using bio-based products for modular and panelized construction. This tiny house project fits perfectly with this program and would develop critical expertise and knowledge for wood-based off-site construction field.

For more information, you may contact Christoph Schilling, Lead of FPInnovations’ Indigenous Program or Cassandra Lafond, Scientist, Building Systems at FPInnovations.