With ‘tiny house’ project, student veteran champions environmental awareness

For digital media design senior Heather Muniz, bigger isn’t necessarily better.

The student veteran plans to build a “tiny house” – as small as 100 square feet – completely out of recycled materials, and will document her experience along the way.

“The project came from my own personal needs to establish myself and own a studio right after college,” Muniz said. “I thought, ‘Why can’t I build one?’”

The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design student will use recycled objects, such as shipping containers, to build the house and a studio for her and her family. Details, like the location of her new home, haven’t yet been finalized.

Muniz is using Kickstarter to raise $40,000 to pay for contractor services. She’s raised $505 so far with two weeks to go.

She said she was inspired by the “Tiny House Nation” show on the FYI channel, which features families from across the nation as they build their own miniature homes. She has reached out to one of the show’s hosts, Zack Giffin, for support.

Muniz said she plans to turn her experience into a documentary, which she will post online for free.

“I want to share it with other people but I don’t want to profit from that sharing,” Muniz said.

Muniz said she has reached out to small businesses and offered to feature their advertisements in her documentary. She has seven Kickstarter backers, mostly environmentalists.

She said she was drawn to the project for its environmentally friendly aspect, and that she hopes to be able to tackle environmental issues on an individual level.

She said by using recyclable materials, she wants to reduce her carbon footprint and possibly set an example for how others can do the same.

“I really want to change the way people are thinking rather than shoving a bunch of trash on top of trash, which only creates problems for future generations,” Muniz said.

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