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Posts Tagged Tiny House

Tiny House Construction Waste

In an effort to tell the whole story about tiny houses I felt it necessary to show the not so pretty side of tiny houses.  Namely, how much waste a tiny house generates in its construction.  The reality of how much waste I have created in building my home really shocked me when I saw all the scraps loaded up onto a single trailer, ready to be hauled away to the dump.

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This was a real reality check that even tiny houses have an impact, which of course I knew, but knowing something  and facing the reality in the face are two different things.

A parallel for me personally – which may seem odd and obviously a much greater moral implication – was the first time I personally participated in “processing” a chicken.  To be standing there, a knife in my hand with a live chicken before me, there was real coming to terms with what I was about to do.  As a meat eater, it was the first time I personally had to grapple with the reality of eating meat.

I had a very similar experience when I stood in front of that trailer and was processing the fact this trailer was going to be taken to a dump and I was the cause of it.  That I was creating a large amount of trash that later generations would have to contend with.  Do I have that right?  Am I okay with that?

So the above shot is pretty much all of the waste that my tiny house created.  In this trash there is all the scraps from the framing, sheathing, roofing, siding, etc.  Also here you’ll see the packaging that comes with some building products, along with some plastic sheeting that I used to cover materials that has since been torn or degraded to a point that I can’t use it any more.  In total it’s about 400 lbs, it looks like a lot more, but it isn’t stacked very efficiently.

I also wanted to provide another side of this story by comparing how much waste I created to that of a traditional home.  The typical home in America is about 2,600 square feet and in its construction generates about 2.5 tons  (5,000 lbs) of garbage.  It’s important to note that this is the onsite trash only, components like trusses and roof farmings are built elsewhere, but not accounted for.   You can read about these statistics in this study.

Now I think its also important to talk about how I could have done better, while I need to come to terms with this amount of waste, hopefully I can help others reduce their waste.

First off it is important to note that it honestly is impossible to not have waste.  We can also use reclaimed materials, which can help us reduce our waste and even offset the waste we create; the ultimate would be to have a net negative impact, but I think that would be tough.  There is also a strong argument for inhabiting houses that are already built or could be rehabbed with less impact.

Our writer here on The Tiny Life, Andrea, told me once that she thought it would be impossible to have a house built of more than 95% reclaimed materials.  Her house was about 80-90% reclaimed, but she had one huge advantage: She built her tiny house in a warehouse that was a building materials reclaiming company!  That’s all they did, was reclaim materials and even with that, she was not able to achieve more than 80%.

Other things that might help you reduce your impact is being more efficient with materials.  I think it would be tough to improve upon how I utilized my materials, but I figure I could have been better at it with enough practice.  I also think that if I had a good storage space, I could better save and organize the scraps so I can keep the quality up and utilize them better.  There were some pieces of wood that got damaged by rain after a tarp blew off in a storm, leaving the wood exposed to the elements and water pooling on it.

Finally, if I had chosen all my materials to be chemical free (no glues, resins, treatments) I could at the very least used the scraps to burn for heating or campfires.  But in some cases I opted for treated lumber (which I still feel like was the right choice), but it meant that I shouldn’t burn it.

Your Turn!

  • How would you go about reducing your waste?
  • What are some tips to reduce waste during construction?

 

Outdoor Kitchens For Tiny Houses

One of the things I like best about living in NC is that we get a lot of good weather to spend outdoors. This had led me to want an outdoor kitchen.  Several other tiny housers do this already and I think it will make my tiny living better, because while I’ll have a kitchen inside, I can extend my living space to the outdoors.

Once I finish my tiny house, I plan to build a small deck and want a have this kitchen, but there’s a hitch… The land that I am going to be living on is land that I’m leasing and that means that while I’ll be there for the foreseeable future, I’m not going to be there forever most likely. So this leaves me with having to figure out how to have a deck and a outdoor kitchen, but be mobile.  So I found this video of a mobile kitchen cart and fell in love!  I’m not one for diamond plating, but I figure I can tweak it as I’ll need to build it myself.  Now I just need to learn how to weld….

Outdoor mobile kitchen

Shockingly Simple Electrical For Tiny Houses

Book-Cover-FinalI 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.


Topics covered:
  • 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
  • Much more!

 

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.

$20

Buy Now!

Raising The Roof

Ooohhh aaahhh!  Look that that fancy roof!  I just got the roof up and wanted to share this video with you all.

The roof has proven to be the most difficult thing with the tiny house so far mainly because I made the decision that the roof was best left to the professionals and now that I had it installed, I’m very glad I decided to hire someone.  I’m sure I could have pulled it off but the roof costs a lot and to be done wrong would spell disaster and cost a lot of money.

The roof is a standing seam roof, which means that the seams are in a vertical part that makes up the “ribs” of the roof.  I love the look of it and what is even better, the color (though hard to tell in photos and videos) matches my windows exactly.

There are a lot of parts to the roof that frankly were overwhelming to me when it came to purchase.  What makes it worse is that if you forget a part, you have to wait for it to come in (major delay) but if you order something extra, it costs a lot of money and can’t be returned.

All in all, I’m very happy with how the roof came out check out the video for more details.

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Tiny Gingerbread House

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This year I decided to try my hand at building a tiny gingerbread house.  I’ve never made one before so I enlisted the help of my Grandfather over the holiday to build it.  I think it turned out pretty good for my first try!

I have put together a special present for you all!

You can download the pattern and instructions to build your own tiny house as our gift to you.  Join below and we’ll send it to you!

 


 

 

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