Net-Zero Tiny Home Designed by Students

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How much space does a person need to live comfortably? Not that much, according to tiny home enthusiasts. And tiny homes are certainly one way to combat the increased demand for affordable homes in urban areas. The students of Laney College in Oakland, California, have designed and built a solar-powered net-zero tiny home to help combat the housing shortage in the area. The home was entered into last year’s Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) competition and won the “Best Architecture” and “Best Design” accolades.

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The tiny house is called the Wedge and measures just 202 sq ft (18.8 sq m). It rests atop a 20 ft (6 m) long trailer and is primarily aimed at those who have been priced out of their homes by gentrification and the rising rents it brought. The home was designed in a way that ensures low maintenance and running costs.

The home produces as much energy as it consumes, and it gets its power from a solar panel array mounted on the roof, while excess power is stored in a battery bank. An inverter converts the power from the 24 volt DC bank of batteries to the standard 120 volts AC for the appliances and devices that require it. However, most of the lighting, devices and appliances, including the water heater, are powered directly from the battery.

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The Wedge has an interesting shape, which is how it got its name. A part of it juts out and the main purpose of this design choice was to create additional interior space, but keep the same footprint. The home features a sitting area, two sleeping lofts, a kitchen and a bathroom. The sitting area is fitted with an L-shaped sofa, which hides a storage area. As for sleeping, the home can accommodate a family of three. One of the lofts fits a queen-sized bed, while the other is big enough for a single bed. The larger is accessible via a storage stair, and the smaller one via a ladder. Although, since the lofts are just large enough to fit the beds, I would like to see some protective railing installed to prevent falls.

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The kitchen features a long counter that has all the necessities incorporated into it, namely a sink, a small fridge, a pantry and a two-burner induction stovetop. There is still ample amounts of counter space left over. Opposite the kitchen is the working/dining area, which is fitted with custom-built furniture and has seating that can be stored underneath the desk when not in use. The bathroom is fitted with a composting toilet, shower and sink.

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The home is also fitted with a natural gravel and wetland plant based greywater filtration system. This water can then be reused for irrigation, since the plan for these homes is to be used as part of urban farming initiatives.

The Wedge is currently on sale for $55,000 via Tiny House Listings.

By |April 18th, 2017|Modern design|0 Comments

Net-Zero Community Completed In Seattle

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With all the talk about the need for greater sustainability, it’s nice to things actually being done in that direction. Dwell Development has recently completed a small, sustainable home community called New Rainier Vista. (more…)

By |December 28th, 2015|Modern architecture|0 Comments

Year Long Study of Net-Zero Energy Home Completed Successfully

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It has now been a year since the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) in Washington DC has been built and its energy harvesting capabilities began to be monitored. The home was built on the campus at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where scientists and researchers conducted a computer simulation that replicated the energy consumption of a family of four. The results showed the home to be a success, since after a year the home generated 13,577 kWh of energy. This is about 491 kWh more than was needed.
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By |August 16th, 2014|Energy Efficiency|6 Comments

A Zero Net Energy Prototype House Built in California

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Last week, the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) house was unveiled in Clovis, California. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home has a living area of 2,064 square-feet and was built as a join effort between BIRAenergy Consulting and De Young Properties. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) offered technical assistance to the builders in trying to find ways of getting the home to use only one-third of the energy needed for a house built to minimum code. ZNE House was built to become a model for future net zero homes in the area.

The house features numerous energy-efficiency improvements, which are in accordance with California’s Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan. This plan stipulates that all new residential construction in California will be net-zero by the year 2020. The house will not be made available for purchase yet, as it will serve as a prototype to study how well it functions and what improvements have yet to be made.

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By |November 19th, 2013|Energy Efficiency|0 Comments

Wind Powered Net Zero Miami Beach Home Receives LEED Platinum

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A Miami Beach home, located at 2020 Alton, has been awarded LEED Platinum, with the score of 120/89.5. The project is a joint effort of developer Matthew Lahn of the Florida Green Home Design Group, architect Ari Sklar of Sklarchitecture, and general contractor Robert Arkin. The project also has an -8 HERS score, has been named an Energy Star Qualified Home, and has received the National Green Building Standard Emerald rating, which indicates that the house saves 60% or more of its energy use.

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By |October 10th, 2013|Energy Efficiency, Green Building|1 Comment

Vantem Panels Introduces Net-Zero Kit House: SmartHomze

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Vermont-based Vantem Panels, one of the United States’ first producers of SIPs (structural insulated panels) and one of three American producers of urethane panels, has released the first affordable net-zero energy kit homes: SmartHomze.

With an estimated $150 per square foot cost of construction (not including permits, site work, or foundation), SmartHomze are significantly more affordable than typical green homes that range between $200 and $250 per square foot and more in line with construction costs for an average new home that doesn’t include sustainability features.

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By |July 29th, 2013|PREFABRICATED HOMES|5 Comments