Tumbleweed and Southern Adventist University - Partners in Education
Tumbleweed and Southern Adventist University are introducing the concept of tiny home construction to the next generation of American contractors. In the spring of 2013 students in SAU’s Construction Management program will be building Tumbleweed’s newest model.
As you can see from our early drawings of the new house on the left, The new Tumbleweed is going to include a full sized murphy bed with built in couch on the first floor.
Tumbleweed’s focus on education is longstanding. Through workshops, books, open houses, partnerships with high schools and community events we are trying to change the perception of what is possible. We are thrilled to be working with a community of future builders that have the ability to change the way America lives, literally, in the palms of their hands.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with two of the Tumbleweed staff involved in developing the partnership with Southern Adventist. The first thing I wanted to know was why they felt it was necessary for the next generation contractors to understand the concept of tiny homes.
Pepper Clark, a Tumbleweed workshop presenter, was nothing less than enthusiastic in her response. “It's essential for the next generation of American contractors to understand the idea of tiny homes because they provide both the most logical response to our growing economic and logistical housing challenges. Future builders need to be aware of how many problems can be solved with a tiny house; providing means for multi generational families to live happily together, allowing people to work at careers they love instead of high paying jobs they hate, enabling folks to move their homes as needed to respond to changes in their lives, and giving young people a way to live independently with little overhead as they start out.”
Paul Farr, head of business development and sales, also sees contractors as an integral component to solving America’s housing and financial crisis. “American contractors have the opportunity to help Americans with the financial headache of getting into home ownership. When contractors assist people in getting a better financial foundation under their feet, it will be assisting future generations. We want to refill the building pipeline in a healthy and sustainable way!”
When asked about Tumbleweed’s focus on education Paul discussed the importance of homeowner awareness and creating a financially sustainable lifestyle. “If we can assist people in making the decision to live in a tiny way, to reduce financial stress and increase financial stability in the average home, we will have been successful. Many people are having a hard time making ends meet. It is a path to less stress and financial stability.”
Southern Adventist University is pioneering a new and more responsible approach to educating the next generation of American builders. Tumbleweed is looking forward to the day when the concepts involved in tiny space design and construction are standard components of all university level construction programs.
Check out this video of Ella giving a tour inside her Tumbleweed.
You might recall Ella being on the front page of Yahoo! a few weeks back.
If you would like to see more about Ella, check out her blog
Recently, we posted an article about J.T.'s modified Walden. It started a great conversation- blog readers responded with over 160 comments! J.T. has done his best to answer some of the questions you asked.
Alexis asked: When the septic tank gets full, is there somewhere to empty it or does it go to one of those sewage processing plants?
J.T. says: Black water is collected in an 18 gallon waste water tank by Thetford. They make a lot of RV supplies. The tank is on wheels and sits directly below the toilet under the trailer. This can be dumped at any RV park that offers a sewer dump station. For the grey water I use a separate waste-line which collects and drains daily onto topsoil/mulch pit and vegetation.
Peatstack asked: Can the house harvest rainwater, does it have a tank/filter, does it generate electricity or use a battery system with solar/ propane generator? Can it accomodate a composting toilet that the house needs no septic system? I would like a house that can sit on open agricultural land without any systems connections, the occasional propane tank and grey water drain accepted.
J.T. says: The roof's surface area is quite small, but you could divert rainwater into a collection tank for irrigation: a standard rain barrel would be overkill, but a 10 gallon tank would work. I have a 25 gallon drinking water tank onboard with a water pump. I can also hook up to a 3/4 inch garden hose. Make sure you put an RV/Marine drinking water hose or your water supply will have an off plastic odor. Water heater and pump are powered by 12v batter. 120v comes from a 20 amp extension cord into a 30 amp circuit breaker box using around .5 to 1kw per day.
Annette asked: This looks like it would be the PERFECT portable office for
our mounted drill team. I do have a question regarding using solar power as an
energy source. Has anyone installed a solar set up and if so, what did they use
and how is it working to help out with their energy usage?
J.T. says: A Solman Action Packer System could run this house easily. A plug and play system is the solution for a tiny house- something for sure in the near future. I am considering A. 2 fixed panels on the roof of the tiny house. Orientation to the sun could be limited when a new location is found. The Solman Action Packer could easily fit in the loft area above the front door or B. 2 fixed panels on the top of my truck with the Solman system in the back of my truck. It could be parked daily in different spots to optimize sunlight, then plugged into my house daily to charge on board batteries.
Stove and Oven:
Erica Gott asked: In mine, I want a full stove, with range AND oven, even if it's small. I love cooking and need one. I can't wait to have my own tiny home.
J.T. says: I have a 2 burner propane stove by Suburban. No oven, though a typical RV oven would fit in nicely. I use a 20 gallon propane tank under the trailer, which runs about $6 a month.
Libertymen asked: Is the refrigerator too small?
J.T. says: I have a 3.1 cubic foot fridge under standard counter height. A 9.9 cubic foot fridge takes up the same foot print and stands around 50 inches high. You would lose useable counter space, but gain storage space
J.T. says: It takes about 10 minutes to pack everything up, and it all goes in a box!
Jan Dregalla asked: Love the customization, especially the up-lighting towel window shades, kitchen shelving and Ikea shelving. I'm curious, does the 2' addition on the front affect towing?
J.T. says: The extra 2 ft and added weight is on the rear, actually distributing the weight more evenly. The standard design has a lot of the weight on the towing hitch
Thanks for your great questions!
Last weekend's workshop in LA was a great success. Despite the rain and a series of confusing road blocks on the UCLA campus, we all managed to find our way to the De Neve plaza Saturday morning. The energy was high, and the conference room was lovely- it even came equipped with coffee!
As a new member of the Tumbleweed family, this was my very first workshop. I was thrilled to get a chance to meet some key players: the weekend speakers featured Jay Shafer, along with self-proclaimed "Tumbleweed poster child" Austin Hay.
Austin talking about his house
Hailing from as far as
Austin was particularly helpful to those interested in designing spaces for young people
After we'd had a chance to brainstorm on our own, Jay led a group critique. I loved hearing some of the questions and ideas regarding innovative material usages and layout plans.
Over the course of two days, stories were shared, friendships formed, and business plans hatched- what a great opportunity to network with fellow Tumbleweed fans. We can't wait to see what kind of wonderful projects you come up with!
If you attended the workshop and would like to leave feedback or if you have any questions about upcoming workshops, please feel free to write a comment below.