It used to be that the sign of living well was a big house, one with lots of rooms, maybe a pool—the kind of house you might envy when you catch a glimpse of it on TV or in a magazine. But that’s changing. Due to environmental and economic pressures, builders and buyers alike are beginning to think smaller and smaller and look to more sustainable technologies and materials for homes.

This movement, known as the “tiny house movement,” is a direct response to the growing concern about environmental impact, carbon footprints, financial challenges and concerns about space and land conservation. There’s also a sense of freedom that many tiny-house dwellers talk about. Many of these houses are modular, and that means they can be packed up, shipped out and then plopped down anywhere the residents desire (within zoning limitations, of course). They can even be placed on rooftops, which means they utilize the otherwise unused space on urban skylines. The houses are also very inexpensive, which means owners seldom have to be concerned with a mortgage. This gallery showcases five little houses with pretty big eco-conscious features. Simply click a photo to learn more. Oh, and did we mention how cute they are?

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