Science Friday did an awesome video about Christopher and Malissa Tack and their tiny house. What I really like about this video is that they show a lot of the details of the power, water, and greywater. It was a great to see some of the house, how they live and some of the things not often covered elsewhere.
Malissa and Christopher are coming to the Tiny House Conference. Christopher will be our photographer and Malissa will be presenting about organizing small spaces in a tiny house. Check out the video and see how amazing their tiny home is. Meet them and many others at the Tiny House Conference; more info here
I have begun working on the inside of my tiny and one of the big tasks that we had to complete was the electrical for the tiny house. I knew that many people had a lot of questions about this and I have noticed that almost every single set of plans on the tiny house market either barley mentioned electrical or ignored it all together.
It was with that in mind that we have developed this ebook because we got so many questions. The book was written with a whole team of folks including tiny home builders, a Master Electrician, and myself.
We show you how to wire a tiny house from start to finish. We made it so someone who doesn’t have any knowledge or experience can go from novice to wiring their whole house.
Basic electrical concepts
how to size and plan your system
How to wire switches, panels, lights, & more
Key electrical codes and safety
Wiring for on the grid and off the grid setups
Custom diagrams for each step
How to choose wire, breakers, & boxes
Solar panels, inverters, etc
Wind turbines and micro hydro power
This is an electronic book (not print) of 80 pages of core content including real life tiny house wiring examples, plus 55 pages of reference materials.
For those of you who have been following, the Solar Decathlon is going on right now. The Decathlon features innovative homes that are solar powered built by universities around the US. Its a pretty big production as a dozen houses are constructed on site to compete and showcase to thousands of visitors.
Well my home city of Charlotte NC has a team going to the Decathlon from UNCC. Here is their house called Urban Eden. Some of the neat features of this house is the rolling solar panel array that allows you to control the solar exposure in the summer months. They also have an interesting polymer cement that reduces the buildings impact. Check out the video below to see it all!
This is a pretty big house for this blog, it is a whooping 500 square feet, but the design and its focus on solar are amazing! The house uses very practical materials for the external cladding.
here is an excerpt from the description
The cylinders’ design was inspired by industrial agricultural materials. The structure was made by CorTen corrugated steel as the cladding and exposed steel beams on the interior. The house takes advantage of solar gain from the steel envelope through an innovative skin-integrated solar thermal system that pre-heats hot water. Each cylinder has two operable Velux® skylights to maximize the natural lighting.
The interior was designed by combining the agricultural and industrial aesthetic through a contemporary lens. The materials chosen were considered to be eco-friendly. The primary material pallete is made from forested black locust, ash and beech hardwoods from local area. They are complemented by the use of zero off-gassing finishes throughout the entirety of the house interior. Nanawall™ systems are used as the boundary between the courtyard, bedroom, and living room, blur the distinction between interior and exterior space. The kitchen was designed to provide energy efficient cooking activities, also to combine between cooking and entertaining activities. In the bedroom, the bed is raised into a a concealed ceiling box to create an open and usable space in its footprint.
So I have been kicking around this idea for a week or two now and it certainly isn’t a entirely new concept, but it is the concept that by taking actions on the green front, will actually enhance our security. Now before we get into this, I would like to steer clear of political aspect of this discussion, with the side note those who focus on Green initiatives are sometimes seen as the polar opposites to those who focus on National Security. I think many would disagree with this view and those who didn’t could be brought to the table and see both sides. The other thing that I would assert is that this concept isn’t exclusive to America, I speak generally about the world. So here are a few examples of the threats I see and their solutions.
To expand on what I consider national security I think it is important to note that national security extends beyond terrorism and nuclear armaments. It includes anything from any source that can threaten our safety, well being and long term livability. This includes drought, blight, natural disaster, war, terrorism, etc.
If you have ever seen the documentary Food Inc. (which I highly recommend) talks about how 90% of the corn and 60% of all soy beans come from one company that are one strain. This means that a blight, whether engineered or natural, were to hit our country, we would loose 90% of all our corn in one fell swoop. This is pretty concerning when you truly understand how much of our food comes form corn and in really unexpected forms. If you look at how many individual strains of food we actually grow for the majority of our food, we are talking 22 types of plants with a specific strain make up 80% of our food. Can we afford to lose 80% of our food?
So how to fix it. We first need to encourage a larger diversity of plants, the idea being that some blights will effect some strains of plants and not others. We then need to decentralize our food production, moving food production closer to the people. This will take time, money and in all honesty could turn out to be more expensive as economies of scale decreases, but we also need to put a price on sleeping soundly at night.
I don’t think it takes any stretch of the imagination to see how us depending on other countries for oil is a bad thing. Especially when you consider that most sources of this oil are in politically unstable areas. One thing we see as an option is to drill off shore, which as of late, we have seen how bad that has turned out to be. The fact is that there may be a large volume of oil out there, but it is still a finite resource and it is getting harder and harder to get to. With increased difficulty comes increased risk and while innovations can mitigate those risks, I am still left doubting it.
So the solution, I say save what we have in our country and lets focus on sustainable technologies. While people talk about nuclear, I have to remind them of the heavy subsidies they get every year. Nuclear is a pretty mature technology, I assert that if we took these subsidies and used them to develop solar/wind into mature technologies that we could come out on top. The added benefit to this is that we can then decentralize power production to avoid 50 well place bombs to take out most of our power production.
To sum up I think that we are beginning to see how Green is better for everyone in many ways. I found this video done by Pew which is pretty interesting.