Net-Zero Tiny Home Designed by Students

ext

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.

int

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.

sitting

kitchen

working

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.

bigloft

small loft

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.

bath

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

Water Producing Solar Panel

Zero Mass Water, an Arizona State University startup has created solar panel which produces water as well as electricity. The device is called SOURCE and it is standalone, meaning that it does not need any wiring or water input to harvest solar energy and produce drinking water at the same time. They have been running a pilot program since 2015 to test the system, which is already installed in a number of homes and communities.

One SOURCE unit measures 30 sq ft (2.8 sq m). It is capable of generating electricity via the solar photovoltaic panel, while it also has an integrated lithium-ion for storing the used electricity. The device then uses that electricity to power a cycle of condensation and evaporation, which produces 2 to 5 liters of water a day. (more…)

By |April 17th, 2017|Solar|0 Comments

Tiny House Made of Cork

Ecobubo, a Portuguese startup, has recently completed a tiny dwelling of the same name that’s made of cork. The primary function of this tiny house is to serve as a nature escape for two, since the home is located in the woods and lacks the space and amenities, which would make it suitable as a full-time home. (more…)

By |April 13th, 2017|Modern design|0 Comments

Take Your Hobbit House With You

xt

Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are going to love this tiny home. The so-called, and very aptly named, Tiny Hobbit House on Wheels is exactly that, a Hobbit-worthy abode that’s also towable. It was designed by the company Incredible Tiny Homes and looks awesome.

The Tiny Hobbit House on Wheels rests atop a 20 ft (6 m)-long trailer and boasts of a total floorspace of 160 sq ft (14.8 sq m). The exterior is clad in cedar shake siding, while entry is gained via a custom-made circular door. This is also the only opening in the whole house, since it has no windows. This was requested by the customer who commissioned it. The home also features a curved roof. (more…)

By |April 11th, 2017|Modern design|0 Comments

Tiny Home That Can Withstand a Hurricane

Tiny homes aren’t exactly known for being weather-resilient but the so-called Amsterdam 24, made by Transcend Tiny Homes of Tennessee, is an exception. This home offers plenty of storage, is lightweight and towable, and can withstand high winds.

The Amsterdam 24 rests atop a 24 ft (7.3 m)-long double-axle trailer, which is where it gets its name from. The interior measures 292 sq ft (27 sq m), and since its walls are made of fiberglass composite it only weighs 8,340 lbs (3,782 kg), which is about one third the weight of a typical wood frame tiny home. The composite walls were made by a special technique, which involves laminating two high strength phenolic resin based fiberglass skins onto a foam core. This means that a standard 8 x 10 ft (2.4 x 3 m) wall section takes 115,000 lbs (52,163 kg) of pressure. They fuse the layers into the wall panel using a foaming gorilla type glue and in this way the fiberglass skin acts as a sort of exoskeleton of the shell. (more…)

By |April 4th, 2017|Modern design|0 Comments

Barn-Inspired Tiny Home

ext

Say what you will, but tiny houses are fun! And the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses firm makes some of the most unique ones in the world. They completed this barn-like tiny home for a client who recently retired and wanted a cozy, functional and affordable home. It’s called the Bitterroot Valley tiny house and was built using recycled and reclaimed materials. It’s also equipped with several sustainable features and technologies, and can function completely off-the-grid.

This tiny home was named after the unique barns found in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. It was built out of SIPs and rests atop a 20 ft (6 m)-long trailer, so it can be hauled around. The home was clad using leftover materials from the firm’s other projects, such as rough-cut lap cedar, rusty reclaimed corrugated metal, and cedar shakes. (more…)

By |March 31st, 2017|Green Building|1 Comment