The unique tiny house builder Hobbitat Spaces from Maryland is now taking individual orders for their hand-built homes. The company is the brainchild of Bill Thomas, and the homes are hand crafted and built to withstand even the harshest Northeastern winters. Hobbitat Spaces recently completed 13 Hobbitat cabins for Blue Moon Rising, an ecotourism retreat in Maryland. All of the houses in the retreat were built with reclaimed, local and recycled materials.
Brian Schulz recently completed his forest house in the Oregon Woods. He built the home himself, and the design and concept of it were inspired by the traditional Japanese Minka homes, which are built using local materials and steeply sloped roofs to create affordable, open structures. For his house, Schulz used salvaged materials, along with those sourced from within 10 miles of his new home.
Frederick Corson’s 5000 square foot home in Northern California is one of the largest in the area, yet its cooling and heating costs are very low. Instead of using traditional sources of heating and cooling, Carson fitted the house with a ground-source heat pump known as a geothermal heat pump. Such a heat source is environmentally friendly and sustainable, while it also keeps the costs of heating and cooling the house minimal.
Lulu, a single mom from Southern California, recently went back to school, which prevented her from working full time to pay a market rent. Due to this she was forced to move out of her conventional home, so instead she decided to build for herself and her small daughter a home from a shipping container. She built the home herself with no prior construction experience.
Lulu was given the shipping container for free, and it took her about a month to cut out the windows and doors using a saw. She then installed the needed insulation to which she added bubble wrap to prevent condensation buildup. For the floor and ceiling, she opted for Styrofoam insulation. She also performed some basic plumbing to get running water in the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen is equipped with a propane camp stove and a portable, propane-powered on-demand water heater.
The Oregon–based architect Jan Fillinger, founder of Studio-E architecture firm, recently completed a residence for a young family of three near Fern Ridge Lake. The house was build according to Passive House standards and features a number of other sustainable features. The house was built by Six Degrees Construction of Eugene, Oregon. The future owners, Tim Gift and Sarah Peterman wanted a sustainable house that blended well into the surrounding woodlands and offered a minimal footprint.
The non-profit organization Habitat For Humanity has built another super-efficient house, which has received the highest LEED rating, LEED Platinum for homes. The 1,340 square foot, 3 bedroom and 2 bathroom, 1.5-story single family home, called the Westford House, is located in Westford, Massachusetts. The house has an estimated savings of roughly 40% over a similar more traditional home, which come to an estimated $1295 per year. The additional initial investment for making this home so efficient was $10,000.