Tag Archives: Sustainability

About These Tiny House Types- a Letter from Brad Kittel

That, in a short time, I have engaged in conversation with leaders of the Tiny House Movement who are dreaming with me by email, is nothing short of shocking. I am a person who watches others and tries to get a feeling for the people I see. Although I cannot see these people, physically, I am “seeing” them by the words I am reading. For Dear Reader, I am nothing, if not a READER. I read nature, and intent and passion. What I see here are passionate and brilliant people.

I am learning that Tiny House people are not alike. Some tiny house builders are engineers, like Bill Kastrinos, and some are poets, as is Jim Wilkins. Jay Shafer is a scientist,  Abel Zimmerman is an artist, and Brad Kittel is a pioneer . Of course I could go on, there are philosophers, salesmen and dreamers, and each one brings a unique veiwpoint. All are craftsmen, and all are zealous about their mission. These are inspiring, wonderful people who are creating and rebuilding our country and even pointing the way for sensible living.

I tried to keep the comments in the post regarding the most important thing to consider when buying a tiny house short. I could see the passion in these builders and other knowledgeable folk, but tried to pare down the words to a terse, “juicy” tidbit. I am going to make one exception. Brad Kittel wrote to me a piece that I want to share with you and there is no “paring.” I am going to give it to you in its entirety, and I believe you will be inspired by this modern day “pioneer” as much I was when reading this.

He wrote:

“What to you is the most important stage of Tiny House construction?”

“This is a great question, as it addresses the very foundations of what we believe in. Each individual must consider the quality and cost of the materials we build with, the impact of the toxins that are used to create the materials, the out gassing released from the products for the first year or two, and the cost to the planet.  Each must calculate the resources available in terms of fuel, environment, and human energy. Each person has to evaluate the importance of values from the standpoint of physical, mental, and immune systems conditions, spiritual, political, and Earth oriented perspectives. Affecting the choices of materials and size, will be your personal goals. If you want to build a house to live in for the rest of your life, make it portable, or leave it as your legacy, then you will need to consider size and mobility.

You must take into account that importing from other countries is sending our wealth to other places. Global corporations make their profits on cheap foreign labor, resources, manufacturing, and transportation to Americans. Our money and our jobs go as well.

Buying local encourages employment. If you want to create work, hire local people to create what you want. If you want to be free from toxins, the United States is rich in pre-used American made materials, like lumber from virgin forests, or bricks from clays loaded with iron and baked hard at high temperatures. This will last for centuries, as will hardware made from the finest iron, brass, copper, and zinc that was ever mined in the United States

If you want the quality America was once known for, buy repurposed goods, instead of the foreign made items that are built-to-break. Use your hands, your minds, and your imagination, to build a house from the recycled materials from houses, buildings, and barns that already exist, and these virtually for free. You can do it without shipping across oceans, by reclaiming the 51% vintage building materials that comprise our landfills each year. This means your decision saves resources that are sorely needed. You can save 99% of the materials already mined, smelted, formed, porcelain coated, and shipped all around the country, ready to use, like a giant home depot, that is practically free for the picking.

Lets teach our children how to survive without foreign imports, cheap labor, oil products, energy waste, or toxic health issues. Lets avoid a breakdown in family, community, and the old fashioned simplicity that modern marketing has nearly extinguished. At the same time, you will also help our planet, our species, and our environment socially.  You will be thinking, not only of Tiny Houses and Pure Salvage Living Villages, but also about the kids who need to know that all the materials they need for the future, that made this country great, are still hidden before our very eyes.  At the same time, we must provide a safety net for the 76,000,000 baby boomers hitting the wall.

To be fair, I am a purist at the fringe with the elements used in my artistic world of 99% Pure Salvage Tiny Texas Houses. I have pioneered to push the envelope of what is possible. We can achieve sub zero carbon footprint, a sustainable, portable, healthy, 100+ year lifespan, with import free housing that is built entirely in America. I am biased towards my solutions. These ideas can create sustainable societies that will survive without taking, but instead give back to the local community and the entire planet. That said, and with my bias exposed, the most important thing you can do is decide what you want to be happy.  If that means making the individual decision, to do things that will benefit you, the species, your parents, friends, children, and the generations to follow, then this is what is important in the final score. Decide for yourself if sub zero carbon footprint, all natural, organic, items forged with the energy of our forefathers should be handed off to others to appreciate or thrown into the dump. Lets preserve and respect these materials that have lasted for hundreds of years.

Perhaps then decide on what you want to use to build. Consider how big, and how longlasting you want it to be. How healthy do you want to be once you move in? Environmental causes for illness are now being recognized for numerous ailments, (and that without even discussing cancer). We must see the big picture and respect the human energy, resources, and ingenuity with which we have been gifted. What our forefathers built centuries ago, without benefit of electricity or gasoline; these things can not be ignored, under valued, or forgotten. If so, we no longer deserve to be taking more from the planet. I believe that the right answer is, reuse, recycle, make it last, re-invent, reconstruct, pass it along, and never ever throw it away until there is nothing left to save.

I have proven solutions are easily within reach, and no one else has to strive to prove these ideals are possible. Now the trick is to let everyone know there is an alternative. The only cost is in human energy, imagination, ingenuity, community, and many other qualities we have an abundance of inAmerica. Best of all, if we join together, this passion is a fuel for hope. We will find self sufficiency; self respect, freedom from debt, and a way out of the rat race when we arrive at the end. It is at this time when we need a tiny resting spot the most. Thank you for being part of the dialogue about Tiny Houses. I hope my vision for a Pure Salvage Living Movement  will make solutions possible, even faster and for more people.”

Brad Kittel
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The Most Important Stage of Building a Tiny Home

An Idea in Blogging- Tiny House Interactive

As I consider my own tiny house, dreaming, (and waiting for the funds), I have many questions.  I think likely these questions are what OTHER tiny house dreamers are wanting to know, too.

I wrote about 20 or so of the leading Tiny House Builders, (as well as other knowledgeable people), and I have a few more in mind to contact. Rather than wait until each one responds, lets have an ongoing compendium, just for fun. I will update this as the comments come in, in order, with the most recent at the top. Readers can comment at the end in the appropriate section, as well.  The info coming in is astounding! So without further ado:  I posed this question:

“What to you is the most important stage of Tiny House construction?”

20. Steven Harrell:  “The most important part of a tiny house’s construction is before it starts in the planning stage. Selecting the layout, determining where materials will come from, how many reclaimed materials, (if any), will be used, determining the location for building the tiny house and lining up the people that will be assisting in the tiny house’s construction.”                                                                 -www.tinyhouselistings.com

19. Laura M. LaVoie:  “For me, the most important stage of tiny house construction was actually starting it! It was a little terrifying, but we couldn’t plan it forever – eventually we just had to break ground and start.”                              –http://120squarefeet.blogspot.com/

18. Macy Miller:  “I would say ‘ACTION’ is the most important part. Mistakes will be made at all phases, don’t be discouraged, keep going forward and keep ‘doing’.”      -www.minimotives.com

17. Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller:  “I would say that the most crucial part of building a Tiny House is choosing a design and sourcing materials that reflect your values and style.”
www.tiny-themovie.com

16. Kent Griswold:  “I think it is a decision to simplify your life. You need to be able to get rid of the things that clutter your life and figure out what you really need to live and be happy. You also need to see if you can live in that small of a space, so it is necessary to try it out.  Create a space in your current home and try living in that space for a while.  Or go on a vacation and stay in a cabin or something of similar size.  Anticipate changes that may come to your life and work through them.  If possible, get rid of debt and only pay cash up front so you are not tied down to a mortgage or loan.”                                                                         -www.tinyhouseblog.com

15.  Dan Louche: “Planning is definitely the most critical step.  Without proper planning you can waste a lot of money, time and then perhaps not even end up with what you had envisioned.  Anyone considering building a tiny house should spend the time up front to plan everything out to save themselves a lot of trouble.      -www.tinyhomebuilders.com

14.  Michael Veil:  “The most important thing in building a tiny home, is preparing it for your climate zone. I am in New England and the temps can be brutal. I heavily insulated the roof and walls with R13 insulation, and used expensive foam for the floor. Its easy to change some things once you’ve built, but insulation is not one of them. You must take the time to silicone and caulk all cracks and voids if you want to keep it warm-or cool with little effort.  An opening window is the best way to clear cooking odors or to just get some fresh air.”                                 -michigan-mike

13.  Jim Wilkins: “The most crucial piece is the process; communication, known expectations, documented specifications and build plans. A good, well drawn set of plans goes a long way towards getting what someone wanted, and yet leaves a lot of room for,  unexpected “surprizes.” The carefully thought out plans connect specifications with the process of building which become a living document that communicates the spirit of the “build.””                                                       -www.tinygreencabins.com

12. Bill Kastrinos: “(Whether stationary or trailer), the foundation is the most important aspect, including how the house will be attached. The trailer IS the foundation, and how it is attached is critical. Best to involve an engineer in either case. Tiny houses weigh more than RVs, so the simple bolt through is not enough. The design of the floor, the rodent shield, and the attachment to the trailer is very important. A house going down the road at highway speeds, into heavy winds, hitting a large pothole, you can quickly get 2 or 3  gs force applied to the hold downs. So that means a 7000# house now weighs 21000#(7000x3g)! Get at least ( 4) 10,000# simpson mst straps welded to the trailer, AND attached to the studs or corners of the house.”                                                              -www.tortoiseshellhomes.com

11. Ethan Waldman: “I’d have to say: Design,” (Ethan’s Fireman rescue window is pretty vital too).  -www.thetinyhouse.net

10. Jay Schafer: “A tiny house would be particularly vulnerable to condensation problems if you didn’t use the right insulation, venting and/or vapor barrier. ”     -www.tumbleweedhouses.com

9. Stephen Marshal: “Deciding if you want your house to be primarily nomadic or stationary is a crucial consideration. If it is to be roadworthy it needs to be trim and not too tall. If it is to stay in one place for a year or more, you have the freedom to design a wide load that will require a permit to travel. Stationary houses that will be moved occasionally, can be taller, heavier, and designed with comfort over speed in mind. Give thought to what level of mobility you need.”     -www.littlehouseonthetrailer.com

8. Andy Lee:  “The most important thing is for you to have the right attitude. Can you really live in one of these things? Knowing what you want to accomplish is the first step. Do the research, talk to the people who have built them and are living in them and see what worked for them and what didn’t. There are maybe a hundred questions you will want to answer before you begin. Adopting the right frame of mind and doing that initial planning are two of the most important things to begin.” -www.myandylee.com

7. Abel Zyl Zimmerman: “For any tiny house that is meant for fulltime living– determining its relationship, (impact), to zoning and utilities where you site it! For some this is easy, but for others it is a deal-breaker.”    -www.zylvardos.com

6. Alex Pino: “The most important step if you are just starting is to shed as much of your stuff as possible. Pare down to what you really love because that’s all that will fit and you don’t want to worry about owning and storing the rest.”           -www.tinyhousetalk.com

5. Lloyd Kahn: “I don’t think you can designate any one step as more important than all the others. I’d say a number of things are critical, like a good plan, sensible design, solid foundation, good craftsmanship, roof leak-tight, etc.”             – Author of “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter” http://www.Shelterpub.com

4. Tammy Strobel: “We didn’t build our tiny house, we hired someone to do the construction for us. So I would say the most important part in the process was designing our little home. It’s a crucial step because the space is so small.”                   – http://www.rowdykittens.com

3. Andrew Odom:  “The most important step – the most crucial, if you will –  to building a tiny house is preparing yourself mentally for the process of downsizing and maintaining a minimal lifestyle. Most anyone can construct a house. But preparing oneself for the psychological, emotional, and physical transitions is what is truly the most crucial step.” – http://www.tinyrevolution.us

2. Kevin Coy:  “Commitment. Commit to your project and  take “no” or “I can’t” out of your vocabulary. Failure does not exist unless you quit. Be a solution minded person. There are no problems only opportunities.”  -K                                                                            -http://kevinsmicrohomestead.wordpress.com/

1. Derek “Deek” Diedrickson:  “The most crucial step? Having the materials! No, while that is imperative, and assuming that one has the money or materials for said project, its really the planning phases, before, and often during (when confronted with a problem or when caught in a carpentry bind that you need to work around) a build, that are the most important. Poor planning will result in wasted, time, energy, materials, and often makes for a lousier end product. Planning, and even just thinking things out in your head before you make a move, might be a pain, but its truly important. ” – Author:
“Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever  the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here”   Available on Amazon.                               – http://www.relaxshacks.com

Thanks to everyone for participating! These are excellent responses. Every bit of it is useful and will help those of us as we think about building our tiny houses.

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Tiny House Safety: Towing the Tiny House- Bill Kastrinos

“Most tiny houses are a, “white-knuckle,” towing experience.” -Bill Kastrinos I have been in communication with Bill Kastrinos, owner of Tortoise Shell Home LLC, and put to him the following questions: Tiny House Wisdom:  Do you believe that Tiny Houses … Continue reading

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I Had an Idea….

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If you have read my blog much, you know that I have stated elsewhere that I am an idea person, (this is when my daughter runs out of the room screaming, “Oh NO!”). I have not featured any ideas on … Continue reading

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Clocks Are Useless Here: A Review of, “Tiny Homes Simple Shelter,” by Lloyd Kahn

“Clocks are useless here…” A Review of Lloyd Khan’s new book, “Tiny Homes Simple Shelter.” In 224 pages of a dizzying array of stunning photography and how-to tiny home information, Khan has captured the movement in a book that is … Continue reading

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About Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Tiny House” + Feature Focus, FLW Downsized

The following is an article that I found when reading about FLW and his minimalism taking on the affordable family home. In Milwaukee is a tiny development that FLW had built as prototypes to a new concept he had to downsize … Continue reading

Tiny House Myth # 2: I Can’t Live Without My Stuff!”

As a confirmed pack rat and project collector, I have made it a goal this year to downsize and use or get rid of the pile of projects collecting in my spare room. Much of the piles of broken furniture consist of repurposing projects and are my own doing,  and others were left on my doorstep by various people trying to “help me out.” Thanks Guys. Some of these loved ones far and near are more famous than I for collecting and storing junk, and nothing could be more poignant nor speak more volumes than a plastic fork packet from Wendy’s that I swear was from 1952 found among the relics.

Their reasons for collecting stuff were valid ones, such as the various types of equipment needed by a professional photographer, (as one of these benefactors has been low these many years), to rare and expensive cameras and even a beat up tarnished old trumpet. So many of these things I have used and needed. But a side effect of not having money, is that you tend to hoard things. That is the problem. Currency, comes from the root word “current” and that means stuff has to flow in order to come to you.

Every time I see the broken bentwood chair, I think, its only a LITTLE broken, and begin to imagine how I could use it as a table or maybe re-glue and brace the back part. A nice glass top and voila’ the seat is flat enough to use for a lamp table, and even now it is making a great support for my desk. Art supplies in the closet, sewing notions and necessities from my days as a seamstress, and broken furniture take up space that I cannot otherwise use. Oh, and don’t forget the little unopened packages someone gave me that contain fall leaves, of the type you would expect to see stapled to the bulletin board in a 3rd grade classroom- too cute to throw away, and too corny to have a real purpose.

So I have to ask, “Can I live without all this junk?”

I asked Tammy Strobel who writes the “Rowdy Kittens” blog, (you will find her blog here: http://rowdykittens.com/), who many know currently live in their lovely new tiny house, (you can find pics of it at the link above), if they missed having stuff.

“No, I don’t miss anything. I have everything I need in the little house. For a long time I thought I “needed” more, like a bigger house, an additional car, and more stuff. I don’t feel that way anymore. By having less stuff to worry about I can give more of my time to friends, family, writing, and volunteering,” she told me.

Sounds awesome! The stuff I have is not only taking up space, but it is physically and emotionally draining to have to work with and around to use my small house. The toll then is not only financial, but it is not a good investment of my time. I simply do not have the energy to keep this junk.

Minimalism is not just a word to describe getting rid of your stuff, it is a valid form of art, music and architecture of the 60’s and 70’s. Of course the most famous among those designing in architecture would be Frank Lloyd Wright. His motto, “form follows function” is a declaration that turns architecture INTO art, (and art back into architecture).

One of the benefits of minimalism is that you feel a greater sense of peace when there is not clutter around you or things that need to be maintained. It is less expensive, too. Have you ever paused to consider how much money you are spending to house things compared to their monetary worth? Why should I spend my time making money to keep plastic knick-knacks from my local Walmart? I am from an art background and I appreciate beautiful things. However, I would pose the idea that a thing must have some real value in terms of aesthetics or usefulness, even MULTIPURPOSE uses in order to be worth paying to store or house. And too, in our computer centered existences of the modern age, we are spending more time doing things online and have less time to worry about our homes.

I have made it a goal this year to simplify and downsize. Many others are getting on board with this idea, (including those aforementioned here), for benefit of our health, both physical and mental well being.

New Series: Tiny House Safety

Today I want to investigate an issue I have wondered about since I first found out about Tiny Houses, and that would be the issue of Safety. I plan to pose the question regarding safety to some of those who know first hand about the reality of towing the tiny. I plan to cover the following safety areas: Towing, Theft, Fire, Break-ins, Carbon Monoxide, Roll-offs and Storm damage, to name a few. This will most likely be done in installments, with this post as the first. There are some posts out there that are comprehensive and therefore I am including a section at the end, that will provide click throughs to links out side of my blog that already include adequate information regarding some aspect of safety. I try to never waste my time by re-inventing the wheel.

In my neighborhood, a tiny dwelling with all the windows might be a red light to attract break-ins. As a fifty year old single lady, this could be a big problem. So I got to thinking about how to handle this issue, and I hit on an idea I have not seen anywhere- shutters or bars. To me, shutters would be a low cost and attractive way to sleep at night with peace of mind. They would be aesthetically pleasing as well as a safety feature. I would have one next to the front door, as well as the first floor windows. These could be accessible from inside with an internal locking device that I could pull in from inside. I would want for the loft window, however, to be completely free to open, because if a fire broke out, the exit would need to be a quick one, (more about fire safety later in this article). So right off the bat, I want to recommend for those building a tiny, PLEASE include some type of protection against break-ins.

As far as fire is concerned, I want to see every tiny home equipped with fire alarms and extinguishers. This is not so far fetched as you may feel at first, as we recently read about a tiny home in Alaska catching fire from a malfunctioning stove. You can read about this at Tiny House Blog, by clicking here: http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/christmas-fire-in-our-tiny-cabin/

Luckily, this lady was not home when the fire occurred but the house was destroyed and I had to think about what could have happened if she had been asleep.  Smoke inhalation occurs fairly fast, so let all use some common sense when we are living in these tiny structures. Other fire dangers are from any type of electrical wiring or tiny woodstoves. This can occur when cleaning and a “clinker” is dropped or other types of accidents. Of course if you smoke, (and I certainly HOPE you do NOT), there is always the danger of falling asleep while smoking and catching fire that way. This is a very common thing to happen to smokers, so maybe a strict, outdoor only, smoking policy would be a great way to stay safe.

As I mentioned above, I would want to see fully open-able windows for any tiny house with a loft. Also recommended would be to have a rope ladder if your regular loft ladder did not operate in such a way that you could lower it and escape from the window in case of a fire.

In addition to a fire alarm, would be a carbon monoxide alarm. These devices detect carbon monoxide, which cannot be detected by smell alone. When I lived in my tiny log cabin in the mountains of NC that I have written about elsewhere on this blog, I incorrectly installed a woodstove into the fireplace. Luckily, I went out of town that weekend, because me, my four year old, the cat and the dog all developed symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning! The symptoms are, a cherry red complexion caused by the fact that carbon monoxide molecules bind to your hemoglobin, thus preventing the binding of oxygen, and you are suffocated from the inside out. Also common effects are headaches, nausea, diarrhea confusion and flu like symptoms.  I am actually a respiratory therapist by training, and it can be difficult to treat carbon monoxide poisoning quickly with O2 therapies.

I consider this important because, not only is carbon monoxide a by product of ANY material combusted rapidly at high heat in an unventilated system, I understand that carbon monoxide output is possible from the use of an on demand hot water heater. I have seen them installed both inside and outside the tiny home, with various problems, (such as freezing if they are un-insulated). For this reason, I consider a “work box” a better solution. I have seen many examples of the tiny being outfitted on the “business end” with a door behind which all of the electrical boxes, propane tanks and other necessities would ideally be situated. Also, as we are discussing safety, I would take care to place these items behind a lock to prevent theft or sabotage. Don’t laugh. It happens, but that is another story for another day!

In the next installment: Towing- can it be done safely?

As promised, here are some links to issues that are adequately covered on other sites:

Drew Odom wrote a fantastic piece covering everything you need to know about securing the tiny during a wind storm or tornado. You can find it here: http://www.tinyrevolution.us/2011/05/21/how-to-anchor-down-your-tiny-house/

A good article about the safety of PEX that is used to replace PVC pipes in many tiny homes can be found here: http://www.small-house-building.com/plumbing/how-safe-is-pex

Tiny Green Cabin Homes has a built in safety feature found here: http://www.tinygreencabins.com/Blog/?m=201103

I also found an article at Tiny Home Builders here in Florida that echoes some of what I just said: http://tinyhomebuilders.com/Blog/category/safety/

© Annie Blair and Tiny House Wisdom. WordPress.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Inwhich I Beseech Dear Readers to Comment and a Midnight Bathroom Solution

No question about it- ACCESSIBILITY for loft dwellers is an issue! We who sleep in lofts have all been there- three a.m. and you need to pee. No problem if you are on the ground floor, but in a loft it can be tiresome, (perhaps dangerous), to climb back DOWN the ladder and back up it, in a groggy state in the dark. And on days when I have consumed an entire two liter bottle of Dr.Pepper at 12 a.m.? Eye yie yie! Don’t even get me started! I know my bed shakes and scrapes and I just imagine what types of injuries a person would sustain falling out of a loft… No thanks! And of course, people with limited mobility may not be safe going up and down repeatedly, either…

So I had an idea….. And a couple of days ago the subject was alluded to on another blog. What to do about the 3 a.m. run? So I figured it was high time I shared this idea that has been brewing on the back burner of my brain for awhile now.

It would seem to me that a loft urinal would be a great idea. I imagined this collection system as a passive type of system that would involve installing pipes from the loft to feed into whatever type of method of disposal you use below. I do not mean that the  urinal should have a regular flush system pumping water UP into the loft, only that the pipes would take the fluid DOWN and feed into the regular means of egress downstairs.  This loft urinal would ideally have a lid to prevent smells, and also a spray bottle or bucket of water to “chase” with would also keep it from becoming odoriferous.

There would be a few considerations, of course when installing this system, such as the angle of the eave and which side of the tiny your downstairs waste receptacle was located. I would think that if care was taken when installing the “throne” downstairs, one could make sure the upstairs one was positioned in such a way that there would be adequate room to avail oneself of it. For example, place both potties so that there is a vertical wall for use in the loft.  And too, there would also be the aesthetic issue of not wanting everyone who enters your domicile to actually be able to SEE that there is a potty in the loft. For that reason, (as well as the aforementioned odor issue), I would recommend using a device that would camouflage the matter, like an upside down wooden box when not in use.

I would hope, Dear Reader, that no one would be entering your domicile at 3 a.m. to make it necessary to conceal the actual USE of said potty, however, for the faint of heart, or at least the terribly shy, a curtain or movable partition would obscure the act.  I am assuming that those who live in such a tiny structure have made certain to install some way to close up for the night anyway, so that no one could see ANY activity at 3 a.m.

Having said all that, and as delicately as I could muster, with all of my Victorian ways, I come to my second motive for writing this blog today- comments. Only my new friend Drew, (and maybe not even he after this article),  has commented on this blog as of yet, and I do so want to hear from my readers! I have them according to the hits recorded in my Site Stats, so I am making the plea, if you like my blog, let me know! I am an obsessed blogging Momma and I crave interaction between myself and my readers.  If I have not thoroughly offended you by the topic and overuse of paregmenon- I would love to know that I am not blindly sending my words into a cyber-abyss when I press the SAVE button….

Thanks!

© Annie Blair and Tiny House Wisdom. WordPress.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Passive Solar Parking Spot For a Tiny House

When I was younger, a friend of mine lived in a passive solar house. Every time I walk in front of Walmart in the evening after another brutal Florida summer day, I am reminded of that house. The way the house passively collected and used the solar energy was because it was positioned to face south and because of the sun room.

It is all about “R” value, baby! The front room of her house had a huge window wall, and the flooring in that room was concrete block. Apparently, various types of building materials have a different R value. R value, is a rating of how well a material or method of building absorbs and retains heat to be released later.

I had an idea regarding passive solar heating of the tiny house. Based on the model of the front of the Walmart, (and concrete block does have a fairly high R value),  a parking space could be built for the Tiny House that would also help to heat it. During the summer, the tiny could be actually rolled BEHIND the wall into the shade in order to help keep it cool. This passive solar parking spot would be in addition to any other passive solar features already in the home. A great thing about tiny houses is that they can be positioned to get the most effective use of the sun, and can be re-positioned to eschew it.

My proposed  “passive solar parking spot” would consist of a concrete slab larger than the tiny to be laid and a concrete wall built on one side. Ideally, this would face south with unobstructed access to the rays of the sun. The tiny would not actually have to be there during the day, but could be rolled into place at night, as you wish. I would build the wall of concrete block. You can find this type of block with attractive surfaces, and I would build the wall as high as you can afford. This wall could be between five feet- to the height of the tiny itself. Of course this should be done by someone who knows how to build walls safely! I do not recommend a novice build block walls for this reason. Make sure you check out building codes in your area.

Many a time walking past the shimmering rays of heat rising from the concrete or asphalt, I have considered how this energy could be used. A south facing passive solar parking spot for the tiny would be a great way to collect this free utility and harness it to heat your tiny home.

 

© Annie Blair and Tiny House Wisdom. WordPress.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.