Small House Design Ideas: 10 Simple Passive Solar Tips

Be on top of your tiny house building game with these ten tips for passive solar tiny house design!

These top ten passive solar design tips will give you a good starting point in designing your own tiny house by using the sun to your advantage for both heating and cooling your home. Often these techniques are low-tech, energy efficient and environmentally responsible.

(Many of the houses mentioned in this article are located at Dancing Rabbit Eco-village. If you want to see them first hand, consider coming for a visit. You’ll be able to talk to several green builders, check out the houses they live in, and learn a lot about sustainable living in the process.) Continue reading

Solar Station and Tiny Houses

tiny house and solar

Guest post by Ben Peterson

Solar Station is unique because it comes complete and ready to plug in. This instant access to power on arrival earns it the title of the world’s fastest and easiest solar power. The project recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to announce the release of the Lander and raise funds to develop a larger station for homes and vehicle charging currently called “version 3.” Continue reading

Inexpensive And Portable Solar Lighting For Your Tiny House

I see Instagram photos, blog posts, and status updates on a daily basis that show incredible solar systems in place on tiny houses, travel trailers, small homes. Heck, even the beautiful sailing vessels shown on this site as of late have solar power. I awe at the engineering, the understanding, the translation, and the implementation. Two years ago it was all I could do to purchase a small kit from Harbor Freight, hook it to my ATV battery, and get it to turn on a lamp. I was dumbfounded. Unfortunately, times have not changed and my family still is not on solar in a way that would pull us off grid for any amount of time. We make do though with the help of some very clever products that work without being part of a larger system. One of those is our current lighting discovery: MPOWERD Luci solar lamps.

MPOWERD 1Perhaps what I think is most admirable about Luci is that its mother company MPOWERD “aspires to empower people everywhere with innovative and affordable personal clean energy products. Inspired by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left millions without power, MPOWERD was founded by a group of like-minded individuals in 2012 who wanted to ‘do good by doing well’.” Not only do they sell a very affordable, efficient, and clever product, but they do so with a conscious and a desire to provide clean energy products and solutions for people living and playing on and off the grid.

I invite you to spend the next 4 minutes watching this short video on the ease and effectiveness of Luci solar lamps. Just hover over the video image and click on the red, centrally located, standard YouTube play button to view.

After having watched the above video I hope you’ll consider subscribing to the Tiny r(E)volution via the button below for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.


By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]


Portable Solar Camping

We spent most of last week camping at Big Bear Lake in Southern California. We were celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday and also my folks 60th wedding anniversary that actually happened back in June. Also it was the first time in a couple of years that all of us were able to get together. My two brothers and my sister and all our kids and their spouses. It was lots of fun. My uncle and his wife live down the road from where we camped so we did go to their home as well.

My wife and I also celebrated our 32nd anniversary on this trip so that was fun also.

80 watt solar panel

This was my first chance to use the Zamp Solar 80 Watt panel that I featured back a few months ago in a post in a test based at our home. I am happy to tell you that it kept up with our usage of electricity. Though we really just used the power for the water pump for the kitchen and toilet and lights at night I was happy to find out that the 80 watt solar panel could easily keep up with that type of use. Each day I would connect the panel and within two or three hours it would top off my battery. It is exciting to use the sun in this way. I did not have to turn the generator on once during our four day camping trip.

To learn more about this panel visit my previous post called the 80 Watt Zamp Solar Portable Charging System.

The Family

The Family

Janelle and I

Janelle and I


Taliesin West Miner’s Shelter

Most architecture students don’t have to build their graduate project first in order to be able to live and study. However, at Taliesen West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter office and now an architectural school, students have to sleep outside in the desert in either a tent or in a shelter of their own design. Student David Frazee fashioned his desert shelter after an old miner’s shack — with a few more amenities.


David based his tiny shelter from some architectural ruins found on the school’s site. The concrete pad it sits on and the old chimney were used as a base for the tiny house. The shelter is held at two feet above the desert surface by two steel posts and one of the original concrete walls. The shelter is covered with rusted steel panels that are attached to metal channels , which hold the panels three inches off of the wall. The air space allows for hot air to vent away from the structure. The home is also paneled with redwood sheets and shaded by a tall Palo Verde tree. The steel and wood were selected for their aging qualities and durability in the desert sun.




The interior walls are a combination of plaster and birch plywood. The shelter’s operable windows allow gentle, desert breezes to flow over the bed. This student shelter does not contain a bathroom, shower or kitchen. Some existing blocks found on the site were used to level out the ground of the existing concrete pad, creating a wonderful sitting area for some nighttime viewing of the stars, the outdoor fireplace and probably more than a few textbooks.

David Frazee currently works with the Broken Arrow Workshop. A collective of Taliesin graduates who are dedicated to continue the legacy of Taliesin, by living through design.



Photos by Archinect