Saturday, November 5, 2011

There's a cold wind blowing.

Yesterday was a balmy 12 degrees so we didn't have the fire on at all but now I'm thinking it's time to light up! It's not bad, November 5th and still intermittent heating. Only because it was sunny so we absorbed some solar radiation into our well insulated little home. It definitely makes me think about what I want in a home I buy, build or renovate. In this house the ground insulating benefits are very evident. The basement is always warmer than the main floor. Why? The floor of the basement is 5 feet below grade and has few windows to lose heat and no roof to lose heat either. Upstairs is exposed to blowing wind and there are large windows in every room. Our house along it's long sides faces east/west so in the colder weather we still get some warming sun in the morning and afternoon but if we build I'd do it north/south so that the main windows would face south for more solar gain.

I know it's been a while since I posted about the 'Tiny House' movement but I'm going to give you a quick update.

What are tiny houses? Well, the basic principle is to have a comfortable and functional house but on a much smaller scale. It would therefore be vastly more affordable than all these mansions we live in today. And no, they're not just for poor people or gypsies. Small, efficient homes are the norm in the world's largest cities, places like Tokyo or Europe where practically all houses are smaller and a premium is places on good planning, storage and simplicity. Todays trend is towards larger and larger open concept housing but some people are bucking the trend in favour of smaller and more efficient because it's cheaper all around and better for the environment. The use of renewable resources for interior design elements like bamboo floors and wood cabinets adds to the overall beauty too.

The first company to popularize these homes made them so that they could be built on a trailer frame and moved if necessary and then branched out into larger homes 300-500 sq. feet. They're Tumbleweed Homes and there's lots of info on their site, just follow the link. Another company in Nanaimo, BC just got started and won some awards for their initiative. Their designs are based upon the local planning rules that now allow small carriage homes to be added to certain larger lots to create affordable housing. The size is 12 feet by 12 feet by 12 feet and they're called Twelve Cubed. If you do a little research you'll find testimonials and videos about building your own home, life in a tiny home and lots of other neat stuff.

Christopher and Jordan have plans of building one each for themselves (and we'll be happy to help them) so they can take it to University. Here's video of another guy with the same idea.

It may sound like a bizarre concept but it's really no different than living in a RV except these can be better insulated and make to be all season homes that are on a trailer or traditional foundation. You can customize then how you want and have exactly the things that make you happy. If we do build one then it's going to be quite conservative, we don't want to draw too much attention to ourselves. If we did, here's a website with some crazy small home ideas.

We don't have any concrete plans but this is always an idea to keep in the back of our minds for later...after all, the kids aren't going to be living at home forever. Maybe a small home will be nice, like living in the motorhome all over again (but I'll build a bigger bathroom this time!) Sometimes the best things really do come in small packages!

The Salk Lake Tribune just ran a story along these lines so if you're interested then here's the link.

1 comment:

  1. Neat links.thanks for sharing. Particularly like the 12 cubed ones.