How can houseboats be environmentally friendly?

People have different ways of incorporating more environmentally friendly options in their ways of living. From actions as simple as recycling and composting, to choosing to make the switch to plant-based diets. Such diets can be made up of a flexible menu consisting of sustainable ingredients sourced with a smaller carbon footprint. Choosing to live a zero-waste lifestyle, which involves striving to use as few single-use products as possible and reducing the amount of waste one produces and throws away, is another way of incorporating an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Others may choose to make the shift to more renewable sources of energy through using solar panels or wind turbines, while others may choose to build or move to a more environmentally friendly living space. Some examples of more eco-friendly living options are prefabricated homes, zero-carbon homes that leave no carbon emissions, or earth-sheltered homes that are built into the side of a hill. Another eco-friendly living space is a houseboat, similar to a tiny house but docked and on water. These are gaining popularity not just for financial reasons, but also for their lower environmental impact. Here are a few other ways a houseboat can be a more environmentally friendly living option.


Fewer resources consumed

A houseboat’s square footage is by far smaller than a full-size home which means it consumes fewer resources and produces less waste, making it a more eco-friendly alternative to other living options. Houseboats don’t have to be brand new. Purchasing a secondhand houseboat can also save on raw building materials and consuming resources to source these. Some houseboat designs are constructed from recycled storage containers or steel that don't need painting which is great for the environment because some marine paint can contain toxic substances that can affect the marine life around the houseboat.

Cheaper living option

Some people consider houseboats to be a cheaper living option since the average cost of living in one can be as low as 6,000 USD yearly. Besides the down payment and other closing costs to purchase one, the general price of a houseboat is still lower than the average price of a mortgage. Houseboat owners also don’t have to pay for property tax, but do have other fixed costs which include slip or dock rental fees, insurance, and sales tax. In cities like Amsterdam the berth is much more expensive than the houseboat that is docked there. Depending on the value of your houseboat, in some cases it could be a factor 2 to 4 as much. So mooring your boat here, if you manage to get a spot, would wildly increase your costs.


Waste disposal

Most people often wonder if you live on a houseboat, where does the waste go? Waste on a houseboat usually goes into a holding tank on the boat that can then be pumped out when the houseboat is docked. Some marinas have the option to empty waste out into a sewage boat that can come by your houseboat every so often to empty out the holding tank for a fee. Most waterfront locations will also have a company nearby that can drain your houseboat’s holding tank. Houseboats which are moored in cities however are often connected to the sewer nowadays.

Living on a houseboat can give you a more heightened sense of environmental awareness since you’re surrounded by wildlife and waterways. It also entails being more conscious of your surroundings and the waste you produce. This way of living can encourage a zero-waste lifestyle since waste disposal can be trickier when you’re surrounded by water.


Solar power

Houseboats can also be modified to be more suited to an eco-friendly lifestyle. By opting to use solar panels as a source of power versus getting electricity from the docks. Or outfitting your houseboat with a green roof, and start a mini garden to source your own greens and vegetables. Installing a rainwater collection system to use for watering plants or flushing the toilet, would also be a quick win.

The perfect living space may vary from person to person, but houseboats are a good choice to consider if you prefer living by the docks and near a body of water. Consider getting a houseboat as a sustainable investment, and depending on your preference, you can live on your houseboat year-round or just spend vacations and weekends on it, in which case you could also just rent one using this website!


About The Author

Katreena is a scientist and a life hack specialist. She's authored scientific journals on biotechnology and molecular biology. To take a break from scientific journals, she puts her mind into writing about lifestyle, health, and sustainability. She strongly believes that kindness makes the world go round.