Bill Brooks Tiny Solar House

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Bill Brooks and his tiny solar house. I have featured it before in its early stages but had not seen it in person. The design is Michael Janzen’s Tiny Solar House with a few modifications by Bill.

I am attempting to create some videos and Bill agreed to be my first guinea pig. The video is not perfect (rough in a few places) but Bill does a great job of explaining the process. This is the first of several videos from the visit and I hope you will learn a lot about building a tiny home from Bill who has become an expert in my humble opinion with all that he has learned in the construction of his home. The next video will feature the interior  and I will let you know when it is ready.

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Kellly - February 9, 2011 Reply

This is so awesome! I didn’t understand what he meant about the trailor at the first about wearing out faster. Can’t wait to see what the inside looks like! Loved those windows. Are there 2 doors or just one?

    Kent Griswold - February 9, 2011 Reply

    Hi Kelly, just one door. I’m working on preparing the interior videos and will get them up as soon as I can.

    Bill - February 9, 2011 Reply

    Thanks Kent. It looks like the video came out better than I remember.

    I might not have explained it well, but the idea for a heavy duty trailer was to make sure it could support the weight when doing a lot of traveling. If you have a 7000 lb trailer, and your house weighs 6000lbs fully loaded, then you are close to the maximum weight the trailer supports. Over time the weight and the bouncing while hauling could cause parts to wear out faster than normal. If you have a 10000 lb trailer for the same house, you would have a lot more spare weight capacity, and parts would not be so stressed. This should cause it to last longer.

      Tom - February 9, 2011 Reply

      Bill,

      I thought you explained it just fine in the video….and it makes a lot of sense to make sure your “foundation” is strong. And I really like your innovative use of the ramps. What a great way to maximize interior space and yet make a nice deck and entrance to the home!

      Thanks for sharing — I look forward to the tour of the interior!

      Tom

Deek - February 9, 2011 Reply

Great stuff Kent! Keep ’em coming! Cool little place too…

I’ll send you another vid soon- for kicks, or for posting- if interested- 10/12 books yacked about- all tiny house linked….a less caffeinated review session this time (well, maybe)

Def. post that interview vid soon! Would love to see it

-Deek
Relaxshacks.com

Cindy - February 9, 2011 Reply

Loved the video and how he explained everything. I am ready to see the interior… such a tease at the end, I was saying “open the door, open the door” and he did, and it ended…:(
Looking forward to it, and love all the other links, sites posted. I am getting more knowledgeable all the time thanks to your posts.

Cindy

Daniel - February 9, 2011 Reply

Nice video. Seemed to end abrubtly but I liked it still. Nice how he has the main windows on one side. He just needs to park it in a place that has a nice view and he’s set.

~Dan

Margaret - February 9, 2011 Reply

It’s like a cliffhanger ending. So mean! That house looks great. I’m all excited to see the next issue.

Paula - February 9, 2011 Reply

Question for Bill- was he planning to strap down the batteries so they don’t fall over in transit, and same question for the propane tanks.

    Bill - February 9, 2011 Reply

    Yes, both the batteries and propane tanks will be fastened down before traveling. I plan on getting a couple more batteries, so I was waiting until I have them before fastening them down.

    I am planning on making a sliding shelf for the propane tanks to sit on. This will make them easier to remove when filling the tanks. But they will be secure for travel as well.

mark a - February 9, 2011 Reply

cool stuff.

Edwin - February 9, 2011 Reply

that looks great, I like the big windows, just because its a tiny house doesn’t mean you have to have tiny windows. I’m building an 18 x 8 tiny house and I’m at a point to pick what heater and I really like the idea of direct vent witch one did you go with and about how much did it cost and were did you get it.

    Bill - February 9, 2011 Reply

    I picked an RV hot water heater (Suburban 6 gallon) from the local RV dealer. This should be plenty for my needs. It has the electronic lighting, so I just flip the switch and it will light itself. When I am ready to travel, I just flip the switch off and the pilot light goes off.

    Bill - February 9, 2011 Reply

    As for the heater, I picked one from Northern Tool. It is 8000 BTU, so more than enough for the trailer. It is a direct vent to the outside, so will not use up air inside the trailer. The heater runs on propane. It cost about $400 total when I ordered it. This time of year, you might find some on sale, since its time for retailers to clear out winter merchandise.

dreamer - February 10, 2011 Reply

Fewer videos, please.
1) I have no bandwidth, am on satellite, can’t always download
2) HATE having to monopolize audio and visual for minutes. I listen to the radio while on the computer, others are in, etc.
3) HATE losing the joy of quickly seeing a photo, quickly skimming an article to see if I want to read it again

4) HATE having to spend minutes of precious bandwidth only to find out I have no interest in that particular project

Love this blog!

    Bill - February 10, 2011 Reply

    Those are all good points that we forget about sometimes when we have DSL or cable connections

    Since I haven’t created a blog of my own, Kent did a video tour to cover everything quickly.

    When I do finally get my own blog, I can write up things in more detail and add the relevant pictures. In the meantime, maybe Kent could use a guest posting or two where I could cover individual areas of interest. Hopefully from the comments I can get an idea of what areas people might be interested in learning about.

Eric - February 11, 2011 Reply

I have watched all 4 videos am very impressed by Bill’s work. I plan on building my own tiny home soon due to financial circumstances. How much did it cost you, Bill?

    Bill - February 11, 2011 Reply

    I don’t have the total yet, but it is less than $20k. I still have a few more purchases to go. After that, I will add it up and categorize the costs. It is amazing how much wood, nails, and screws it takes to assemble the trailer. I made a lot more trips to the home improvement stores than I planned.

Alex - February 12, 2011 Reply

I loved the video Kent. And Bill! I like your porch design too it’s really smart because it saves a lot of space but I think there’s still something to say about the “look” of a tumbleweed. Off to watch the others…

Building A Solar Generator on Wheels - November 4, 2011 Reply

[…] many of you know, I recently completed my tiny house on a trailer. I plan to travel to a few locations beginning this winter. I built my tiny house to be self […]

Brian - February 17, 2012 Reply

Awesome job. What size truck do you need to pull the weight of the trailer home you built?

sjvista - February 27, 2012 Reply

Great post and great project. for cold weather locations- what is the plan to allow for the trailer to drop below freezing and not damage the plumbing?

is there any accommodation for blow-out or gravity drain?

Thanks a ton!!
Eric
Denver

Building A Solar Generator on Wheels - March 15, 2014 Reply

[…] many of you know, I recently completed my tiny house on a trailer. I plan to travel to a few locations beginning this winter. I built my tiny house to be self […]

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