Archive of Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures Archives | Page 5 of 11 | Truth is Treason

Resilient Communities: Micro Electrical Grids for Power and Preparedness

Posted on May 12, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures – Kevin Hayden

Source: Global Guerillas


Electricity is the lifeblood of modernity, but it is going to become much more expensive (fuel expense/availability) and unavailable (due to an increase in random failures via underinvestment to a plethora of black swan scenarios). As such, communities need to gain control over the flows of electricity in order to become resilient. One of the first steps towards this goal is through the concept of the Microgrid. Here’s some background reading from the CERTS (Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions). Essentially it is a local power network connected to the national/regional grid through a smart switch. Why the Microgrid?

There’s been lots of exploration at the national level on incorporating computing architectures (data services plus sensors) into the grid system (known under the rubric “the Smart Grid“). Unfortunately, these efforts suffer from the step function problem. This means that the changes contemplated are too expensive and too wrenching to accomplish on a large scale (akin to boiling the ocean). The only way to implement these new technologies and methods is to find a way to do it organically....

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Small Space Design: The Armoire Kitchen Thumbnail

Small Space Design: The Armoire Kitchen

Posted on May 10, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures – Kevin Hayden

Source: Small Space Living

Kitchens are an important part of any home. Eating at home saves money, is often more healthy than eating out, and can be a rewarding experience. The challenge of small space living is to use what you have. Not just objects, but the space. The efficient use of space is as important as only owning what you need. If there is a utensil or a pan in your kitchen that you have not used in 18 months, let it go.

Although this kitchen is not suited for gourmet cooking, it is a superb example of efficiency. The Armoire Kitchen by Yester Tec is one of the finest examples of a truly self-contained kitchen I have seen.

The Armoire Kitchen is a handsome maple cabinet. It looks like any standard armoire from the outside, but inside it is anything but standard. The upper doors of the unit fold back to reveal the kitchen countertop. There is a small stainless steel sink, a 2-burner cooktop and a microwave hood. The bottom of the unit conceals a small refrigerator/freezer combo and a dishwasher....

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Life on Fire – Innermost House, 12 Ft. Square Cabin Thumbnail

Life on Fire – Innermost House, 12 Ft. Square Cabin

Posted on May 07, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures – Kevin Hayden

Source: Tiny House Blog

This is Innermost House, my home in the coastal mountains of Northern California. It is the latest of many very small houses my husband and I have occupied over twenty-five years, all for the same reason–to make possible a simple life of reflection and conversation. I am delighted now to be a part of Kent’s public conversation with others who share my love of tiny houses, and I’m grateful to Michael Janzen of Tiny House Design for introducing us.

Innermost House is about twelve-feet square. It faces directly south beneath an open porch that shelters our front door. A hill rises to the north behind us and the forest lies all around. The house encloses five distinct rooms: to the east is a living room eleven feet deep by seven feet wide by twelve feet high; to the west the house is divided into kitchen, study, and bathroom, each approximately five feet wide by three feet deep, with a sleeping loft above the three of them, accessible by a wooden ladder we store against the wall....

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Pine Top Tiny House – 12′ x 18′ Lofted Cabin in the Ozarks Thumbnail

Pine Top Tiny House – 12′ x 18′ Lofted Cabin in the Ozarks

Posted on Apr 29, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures – Kevin Hayden

Source: Tiny House Blog (Great website, highly recommended!)

Travis and Becky and their Pine Top Homestead is our first featured “Small House.”

Travis and Becky spent the last year planning and building their tiny home on 3 acres in the Ozark Mountains. Travis says, “We absolutely love it, best thing we ever did. It’s 12′x18′ with a 6′x12′ sleeping loft for a total of a whopping 288 sqft. It’s just us two and our small dog and we find it very comfortable and useable for us two.”

I’m going to turn it over to Becky and let her tell you a bit about the construction of their home.

The land was the right deal at the right time and we could see the potential it had for our dreams of a tiny homestead. We weren’t sure when we would be able to build our own tiny home, so we purchased a little pre-built cabin to enjoy on our land as we did some clearing.

The media has made most of us believe that in order to be successful we need to live in large houses and be married to our mortgage....

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Straw Bale Homes 101 Thumbnail

Straw Bale Homes 101

Posted on Apr 25, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures – Kevin Hayden

Source: Tiny House Blog

Guest Post by Andrew Morrison

Straw Bale construction is an old technology that has grown to become a respected and viable building option in most locations and climates. Not only is it beautiful and energy efficient, but it is also three times as fire resistant as a conventionally framed home and does extremely well in natural disasters such as earthquakes and extreme wind conditions. Straw bale and tiny house enthusiasts have a lot in common in that both are invested in being responsible earth stewards, want to reduce their living expenses, aren’t afraid to try something new and do things on their own, and are committed to creating a new model of sustainability by living within their means financially and from a resource stand point. Here are 9 reasons why we think you should consider building with bales:

Reason #1 Energy Efficiency.

A well built straw bale home can save you up to 75% on heating and cooling costs. In fact, in most climates, an air conditioning unit is not needed in the home as the natural cooling cycles of the planet are enough to keep the house cool all summer long....

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UtiliToy Trailer – The Perfect Camping Escape Thumbnail

UtiliToy Trailer – The Perfect Camping Escape

Posted on Apr 14, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures, Urban Gardening, Farming & Homesteading – Kevin Hayden

Source: Tiny House Blog with additional commentary from Hayden

With gas prices so high these days and not likely to go down anytime soon. The idea of towing your vacation home down the road may soon be a thing of the past. Like the Utilitoy site says, if you want to vacation in your home, than camp in your home, if you want an adventure go in a Utilitoy

Though not a tiny house, the Utilitoy would make a great extra bedroom for a tiny house or hunting cabin! For camping, you can’t go wrong.  Hop in your car and go on a vacation to the beach, or the woods, or mountains. 


The Utilitoy is made to be ultra lightweight and is very versatile and practical. It is designed to fit into a standard garage for easy storage and unlike most teardrops will easily sleep a family of four. It also can be used as a utility trailer, so you can haul around kayaks, mountain bikes, lumber or furniture. It can be cleaned out with a garden hose....

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MIT Develops Artificial Solar Cell Leaf, Power a House for a Day on Single Gallon of Water

Posted on Mar 29, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures – Kevin Hayden

Source: Natural News

A scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says he has successfully developed a type of synthetic leaf made largely of silicon and electronic components that is ten times more effective at photosynthesis than is a natural leaf. And this artificial leaf, he says, is capable of generating enough electricity with one gallon of water to power a house in a developing country for an entire day.

Daniel Nocera recently told attendees at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in California that when his prototype leaf is placed in a pool of water, it effectively captures sunlight and splits water into oxygen and hydrogen at ten times the rate of a natural leaf. Operating for at least a full 45 straight hours without any decline in performance, the leaf acts as a small, highly-efficient solar cell that produces energy for use in power generation.

“The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries,” said Nocera in a statement.


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Simple Shipping Container Cabin Floor Plans Thumbnail

Simple Shipping Container Cabin Floor Plans

Posted on Mar 24, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Dornob

See also – My very own shipping container house journal here at :

Homesteading with a Shipping Container House, Parts 1-5

InterModal Designs’ Shipping Container Cabins

Bland is not necessarily bad when the goal is to cheaply and easily reuse something industrial as a residential space. While a lot of cargo container homes delight the senses, these few dozen rather austere, bare-bones modular designs somewhat boldly focus on the nuts and bolts, so to speak, of living in a metal box.

“InterModal Design believes in the power of simplicity, the importance of affordability and the necessity of green spaces to enjoy the comfort and beauty of nature. IMD began after the construction of partner Paul Stankey’s own shipping container cabin in the relaxing woods of northern Minnesota.”

Reduce, reuse, recycle – a classic but applicable motto – works well with these variously-configured shipping containers designed to be used as cabins, cabanas, guest houses or off-the-grid residences. There is nothing fancy (in a good way) about the fold-down chairs, tables and beds the tuck neatly into walls when not actively needed, opening up floor area and serving multiple uses.


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Sales of Luxury Doomsday Bunkers up 20 – 1,000 Percent Thumbnail

Sales of Luxury Doomsday Bunkers up 20 – 1,000 Percent

Posted on Mar 24, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: CNN Money

A devastating earthquake strikes Japan. A massive tsunami kills thousands. Fears of a nuclear meltdown run rampant. Bloodshed and violence escalate in Libya.

And U.S. companies selling doomsday bunkers are seeing sales skyrocket anywhere from 20% to 1,000%.

Northwest Shelter Systems, which offers shelters ranging in price from $200,000 to $20 million, has seen sales surge 70% since the uprisings in the Middle East, with the Japanese earthquake only spurring further interest. In hard numbers, that’s 12 shelters already booked when the company normally sells four shelters per year.

Terra Vivos 950-Person Bunker

Read Full Article...

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Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World Thumbnail

Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World

Posted on Mar 18, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures, Urban Gardening, Farming & Homesteading – Kevin Hayden

Source: Tiny House Blog

I recently received Ross Chapin’s new book called Pocket Neighborhoods to review and share with you. This is a beautiful coffee table style hard bound book written by Ross Chapin. Ross Chapin is an architect and long-time advocate for sensibly sized houses and vibrant neighborhoods. He leads an architectural and planning firm on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle, Washington, where he has lived and worked since 1982. 

This book covers modern day pocket neighborhoods across the country and includes the fascinating history of this type of neighborhood which Ross Chapin discovered while researching the book. The book is published by The Taunton Press in 2011. 


What is a pocket neighborhood? Pocket neighborhoods are clustered groups of neighboring houses or apartments gathered around some sort of shared open space — a garden courtyard, a pedestrian street, a series of joined backyards, or a reclaimed alley — all of which have a clear sense of territory and shared stewardship. They can be in urban, suburban or rural areas. 

These are settings where nearby neighbors can easily know one another, where empty nesters and single householders with far-flung families can find friendship or a helping hand nearby, and where children can have shirttail aunties and uncles just beyond their front gate. ...

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Small Space Ingenuity: Floorplans from a Cruise Ship Thumbnail

Small Space Ingenuity: Floorplans from a Cruise Ship

Posted on Feb 24, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Core 77 & Apartment Therapy

From penthouse to studio, Core77 shares nifty floorplan renderings of all the rooms available on Norwegian Cruise Lines. The super-attractive 3D floorplans are especially unique and offer some interesting space planning solutions in rooms of all sizes — round bed anyone?


I’m guessing the cruise-ship-riding populace is not our core audience, but after reading that Norwegian Cruise Lines won the Travel & Leisure Design Awards 2011 for Best Transportation I started poking around their site. The photo galleries on NCL’s site show that the rooms (designed by product, transportation and environments design firm Priestmangoode) are expectedly sumptuous, but what I really dug was that they show all the floorplans, from the cheapest “studio” room (below) up to the super-expensive penthouses (above).


While it’s not exactly ApartmentTherapy, the floorplans do show how to cram a lot of stuff into a really tight space using angles and curves, and occasionally inside a non-rectangular footprint. The NCL website makes it impossible to see all of the floorplans at once, so we’ve pulled them down for you to see here....

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Thinc Home – Micro Living Space Thumbnail

Thinc Home – Micro Living Space

Posted on Feb 15, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog

It is really neat to see the large home builders looking at making small and tiny homes. Thinc Home is one that has stepped up to the plate and offering several options. At Thinc Home, my philosophy was to provide the most unique, well constructed dwellings for all. The ultra energy efficiency is the standard and your personal style is the option.  Our building system, which consists of a steel sub-frame, gives our structures the ability to last a century. 

This unit as you see it with the bathroom is a 12×16. It has the loft and a bathroom with toilet and shower. The retail price for it is $32,000. 

Our micro living space was designed to be an ultra energy efficient way to get away for a weekend or an extended holiday without the hassles of a “2000 square foot cottage”. You can actually go and enjoy the lake or woods or just relax. You don’t have to worry about a lot of cleaning and preparation. Our micro living space makes you live simply and enjoy the things you love. ...

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Sol Cinema – a Solar Powered Micro Movie Theater Thumbnail

Sol Cinema – a Solar Powered Micro Movie Theater

Posted on Jan 11, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog

The Sol Cinema is a micro movie house powered entirely by the sun. It can accommodate 8 adults comfortably for a unique cinematic experience. They have a full library of comedy, quirky, music videos and short films with inspiring environment themes.

The Sol Cinema has been lavished with pride and style. It uses an LED projector showing short movies in cinematic surroundings.  We use lithium batteries to store the energy from the Sun to power the cinema all day and night. The photovoltaic panels harness the sunlight, even as the films are being shown, so we never run out of power.

You can learn more by visiting the Sol Cinema website and see a lot more pictures, including the construction process!


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Offshore Wind Power Could Generate Enough Electricty for United States 4x Over – Hayden’s Note Attached

Posted on Jan 03, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Natural News

The United States could meet four times its current energy needs with offshore wind production alone, according to a report issued by the Department of Energy.

“Clean, renewable energy development that capitalizes on the nation’s vast offshore wind and water resources holds great promise for our clean energy future and our economy,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.

According to the report, offshore wind power could meet 20 percent of all U.S. electricity usage by 2030 with proper investment, resulting in lowered levels of air pollution and the creation of 43,000 permanent, high-paying technical jobs.

Although the United States leads the world in land-based wind power production, it has yet to complete any offshore wind projects. Approximately 20 are planned, primarily in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions–but high price tags and public opposition mean these projects are far from a done deal.

“Overall, the opportunities for offshore wind are abundant, yet the barriers and challenges are also significant,” reads the Department of Energy report.

The Cape Wind project in Massachusetts is a case in point.

“The problem is that people living at the coast don’t want to be able to see the turbines,” write David H.


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Lofted 12×22 Berkeley Backyard Cottage Thumbnail

Lofted 12×22 Berkeley Backyard Cottage

Posted on Dec 29, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog

When Karen, a planning professor from the College of Environmental Design, met with a team of students from Dr. Ashok Gadgil’s Design for Sustainable Communities course, neither knew what was brewing.

Karen discussed how her two bedroom Berkeley home was too small for her constant stream of guests, her daughter and an aging relative.

The team of students was researching small homes as a means to create affordable and sustainable housing.

Link to builder New Avenue Homes


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