Feb 26, 2011

Clever 12' x 24' House Design Video

Michael Janzen from Tiny House Design ( tinyhousedesign.com ) of California came up with this clever and efficient design.  It's 576 sq. ft. with a full loft, or 432 sq. ft with a half loft.   It would be very inexpensive to build due to it's diminutive size, basic shape, and simple foundation.  I asked him yesterday if he'd finalized the design, but he said that unfortunately he's put this one on the back burner for awhile.  Perhaps posting it here today will help move it back to a front burner so he can finish it up and make those plans available.  Many people, myself included, find this to be a very appealing design.  

Feb 25, 2011

Tumbleweed Fencl in New York

Me on the front porch of the Fencl 
My photos don't do it justice, but the Fencl is a great leap forward in terms of a sense of spaciousness within a small footprint.  For those familiar with the Tumbleweed Epu, this is essentially the same floor plan, but with a small bump-out near the entry, and a vaulted ceiling over the primary living space.  This results in a small expansion of usable indoor space, which many would argue is a significant improvement all by itself. It's the vaulted ceiling though that creates the increased sense of spaciousness.
You can learn a lot more about the house in the pictures, and all of Jay Shafer's other designs by visiting this website:

Feb 24, 2011

"Zero House" A Totally Self Sustaining House Concept

This concept is called the Zero House, and it was developed by a couple of architects who attended the Yale School of Architecture. 

Image © Specht Harpman Architects

Image © Specht Harpman Architects

Together, they have a firm called Specht Harpman Architects, with offices in New York City, and Austin, Texas.  The concept is extensively and remarkably well thought-out.  Absolutely no external hookups for electricity, water supply, or waste removal are required.  

It collects and stores up to 2,700 gallons of rainwater in a series of cisterns near the top so that the fixtures below can all be gravity fed, thus requiring no pumps. The water is filtered, then sterilized with UV light.  A 7,000 watt photovoltaic panel system on the roof feed electrons to an extensive battery bank that may not only meet, but potentially exceed the home's electrical requirements. Perhaps there would be a little left over to charge-up the electric car?  

It sleeps four adults and comes equipped with two king sized mattresses.  LED lighting, a Sun-Mar low flush porcelain toilet with remote composting chamber, tons of clever storage, a large flat panel TV, built-in furniture, a full-sized refrigerator, microwave oven, and an induction cook-top in the kitchen are all part of the package. 

Image © Specht Harpman Architects

Feb 23, 2011

576 square foot two bedroom house plans

I love small efficient homes, and I design some too.  One of my favorites is the smallest version of my "Muir Series" home designs.  At 576 square feet (24'-0" x 24'-0") it is suitable in many areas as a full-time stand-alone residence, a vacation home, or a backyard building that can be used as a guest house, in-law apartment, or rental property.  The 24' x 24' dimensions were derived from a series of buildings sold through the Home Depot in the northeastern US by Sheds USA.  At one point I designed living spaces to fit into every single size and model they sold (16 designs).  I am posting an isometric drawing and floor plan below.  This and other designs may some day be available to buy on my "Small Home Plans" page above.

Isometric Drawing

Feb 22, 2011

Launching My New Sustainable Living Blog

Welcome to my new sustainable living blog. 

I am a fairly regular reader of a number of blogs dealing with sustainable lifestyles and small or tiny homes.  There are a number of good ones out there, but I feel it is time to add my voice somewhere other than in the comments on those.  I have had a long-standing interest in topics such as:

  •  tiny homes
  •  sustainable living
  •  renewable energy
  •  nature
  •  science
  •  public policy
  •  energy efficiency
  •  architecture
  •  climate change
  •  conservation
and, well, you get the idea...  pretty much everything that has anything to do with helping mankind live in harmony with our planet.  I hope you will find this blog interesting, informative, and useful.  As part of my inaugural post, I have included a video featuring some music I composed. I'm sure you'll see it's in keeping with my general theme.  

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