MorningStar home, built by the Penn State Center for Sustainability has been around since 2007, but it will hopefully be the home of the near future. The 799 square foot building is a net-zero home that produces more energy than it consumes, and it has been used for educational and research activities on the university campus. It will also serve has a home for one lucky graduate student who will test the house systems in real life conditions.
The MorningStar not only has solar panels on the roof, but on the east- and west-facing sides of the home. The south-facing windows have sliding exterior shelving to regulate solar gain and the home has a sliding wall of liquid glass containers that, when filled with water, can retain heat during the day and release the warmth into the home during the night. Continue Reading »
by Joe Zummach
Here are some pictures of my system. First, of course, are the Solar panels which consist of two 50 watt panels wired in parallel and then connected by way of charge controller to two deep cycle golf cart batteries. They use a 6 volt wired-in series to make the 12 volts that my system than runs on.
I got the panels used for fifty bucks each. The batteries cost $300, but will last at least ten years with regular maintenance. The charge controller was under a hundred dollars. The fuse box is from an auto parts store and cost $20. The fixtures are 12V halogen lights. I also have LED lights for conservation periods, such as cloudy days in winter. This, plus a small inverter for recharging my computer and small appliances, complete the system.
For lovers of clean, efficient, modern design with an eye toward outside living, ClearSpace Homes has come up with a few designs to appeal to people who want a tiny house. ClearSpace has been selling their prefab homes in the Austin, Texas area for several years and some parts of each design can be customized by the buyer. Their homes are offered in several colors and the interior can include reclaimed or new materials. A customized ClearSpace home will run about $125 per square foot which does not include site work, the foundation or shipping.
The first of their tiny homes is the ClearSpace Casita. This 432 square foot home includes a studio space that can accommodate a murphy bed/storage wall, work area, or built in display/book shelf. There is also space for a compact kitchen, a 3/4 bath and a generous sleeping/storage room. The best feature of the Casita is the protective enclosure that allows the owner to enjoy the outdoors. The interior space of the home has sliding glass doors which can be opened to allow for cross ventilation and there is a skylight above the loft. The base price of the Casita is $51,240.
Out of many of the world’s tiny homes, the Tiny SMART House has one of the nicest sleeping lofts I’ve ever seen. It’s open and airy with two windows and enough space to even put a few pieces of furniture. The 200 square foot Tiny SMART Houses are built in Albany, Oregon with quality materials and are finished with special details including French doors, wood floors and a tongue and groove ceiling. The homes are mobile and can be delivered to your building site.
The SMART House can be custom designed with several different styles and floor plans like the Oregon Trail and the Montana Cabin and exteriors such as cedar plank or Hardie Plank Lap. You can choose between several different doors, windows, wall styles and extras such as solar panels and a rain catchment system. Company owners Tor Barstad and Nathan Light designed the homes with college students in mind but have been requested to build their homes as guest houses and vacation homes.
The SMART House starts at about $20,000 for the base model and the upgrades for size, materials, design and bathrooms are extra.
If you need a small oven that does not take up lots of space and uses the sun to operate the Global Sun Oven may be what you are looking for. Following are features that make this solar oven stand out and is worth looking at for an oven for your tiny house. The cool thing is that this is also made here in America.
One Piece Collapsible Reflectors
The GLOBAL SUN OVEN® can be set up for use or taken down for storage in a matter of seconds. The reflectors literally fall into place at an angle that allows you to maximize the power of the sun.
The reflectors are made of highly polished, mirror-like anodized aluminum that can be cleaned quickly and easily with glass cleaner, and they will never oxidize or rust.
There is never any need to worry about your food spilling in a GLOBAL SUN OVEN®. While cooking, your food rests on a shelf that self adjusts to always stay level as you refocus.
Easy Temperature Monitoring
A built in thermometer allows you know the temperature at a glance.
Self-Contained Leveling Leg
As the sun is at different points on the horizon the GLOBAL SUN OVEN® can readily be adjusted to follow it. A simple adjusting leg allows you to choose from 9 angled positions.
Extremely Well Insulated
A thick batt of non-toxic insulation retains heat. Food cooked in the sun and left in the oven will remain hot for hours. Cold air is held out allowing the GLOBAL SUN OVEN® to be used on sunny days year around regardless of the ambient temperature.
Light Weight, Easy to Carry
The GLOBAL SUN OVEN® weighs only 21 pounds (9.5 kg), folds up like a suitcase, and is equipped with a handle for easy transport.
To learn more visit http://www.sunoven.com
I have also seen a couple of videos on Youtube for building your own sun oven so this could also be an option.
Watch how it works in the videos below.
By Andrea Bird
(Before conversion) So a little about the Birdhouse. We bought a garden shed from kijiji and started converting it to a house in 2009. It sits on a beautiful 12 acre piece of land in Eastern Canada. I started this project with my son (now 10) in an effort to spend more time in nature, be more aware of our consumption, save some money, and most importantly, spend time together outside the trappings of the “connected” life. It has really worked, as the one thing I’ve noticed about living in a tiny house, is that the yard is really big, and the indoor space becomes secondary to the landscape around us.
The main room is about 12 ft x 9 ft including the kitchen and living space. The sofa is a futon that acts as a guest bed on sleepover nights. There is a pocket door that separates the main room from my son’s room, a 6 ft x 6 ft bedroom that somehow stores his clothes, toys and bed. The bed is on hinges so you can clear the floor space to play. Children absolutely love this house, I think there is something in the scale of it that makes it very comfortable for them. Continue Reading »