News from the UC Sustainability Office

Tiny house, big idea: UC alumni Kerry explains why she built a tiny house

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As part of Eco Week 2016,  you can tour tiny houses built by UC alumni.

One of these tiny homes was built by Kerry Mulligan, who graduated from UC in 2007 with a PhD in Engineering. She shares her experience of building and living in a tiny house below.


I visited South America in 2014 and was so inspired by all the people there just getting on with things. I decided that I was not going to pay rent ever again. It’s so important to observe how you live and question whether this is the way you want to live, or whether it is just habit or what you think you should be doing. It is amazing what happens once you start this process. I love experimenting and I wanted a home that would work for me and be a place that is an expression of myself and enables me to be creative.

Building a tiny house has helped me to develop a confidence in approaching situations. I now believe that I can most likely figure it out, or find someone who can. I’ve enjoyed learning new skills, the feeling of accomplishment from doing something I hadn’t done before, and the people I have met during the process. I learned how to take calculated risks too – it is important to ‘go for it’, but I also made sure I knew what I was getting myself into.

Good quality shelter is one of the fundamentals of human life and should not cost the amount of financial and material investment that our current culture demands. There is huge potential for reducing the impact our housing system currently has on our social, economic and environmental sustainability.

I hope to share land IMG_3860 smallwith other tiny home people and share resources (for example the washing machine), knowledge and work. Ideally we would have a large vegetable garden, orchard and shared workshop. I don’t yet know what to call this idea. It’s not a commune as everyone still has their own place and can make decisions around that, but maybe it’s a community in the true sense of the word.


The Tiny House Tour will be held on Thursday 22 September, from 1.30pm – 4.00pm. Meet at Erskine/Science car park, Ilam Campus. Bookings are essential as there are seats available for 22 people only. To register, email ecoweek@canterbury.ac.nz or call 03 364 2025. Bring snacks, drinks and clothes suitable for the weather (footwear with closed toes, no jandals or sandals please).

ENGS5715_Eco_Week_WordPress_BNRTo learn more about tiny houses, read Living Big in a Tiny House.

The Tiny House Tour is part of UC Eco Week 2016, which runs from 19-24 September 2016. Eco Week is a festival of events that celebrates and promotes what you can do for the environment, your community and your life.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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Author: Puck Algera - UC Sustainability Office

Puck worked at the Sustainability Office at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. As the Sustainability Projects Coordinator, she kept busy with student and staff engagement, providing strategic input and advice and organising sustainability-focused events.

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