I once met a vegan who ate plants because they were closer
to the sun. His reasoning: if plants get power from the sun, animals eat
plants, and we eat animals or their byproducts, we get shortchanged in the sun
department. By simply eating plants, therefore, he figured would close the gap and be fortified
with much more solar energy.
Luckily, the universe has finally come to its senses and
allowed cheese-lovers like myself an opportunity to harness the power of the
sun in a less calcium-deprived way: solar panels.
Soaking up the sun
It's hard to think of a better way to power a tiny house. After
all, you can get sunshine pretty much anywhere you bring your home. Install a
panel or two on the top of your house and boom! Good to go! Or, you can try my personal favorite and use a plug
and play system. This way, you can place your panels wherever you'd like.
(See also: A Tumbleweed in the Sun)
Given the small scale of a Tumbleweed, a little
energy goes a long way. On a sunny day you've got yourself a pretty bright
little space already, and you'll probably want to spend your hours basking
outside on whatever gorgeous piece of land you're currently calling home. Then,
when the sun moves on to power another hemisphere, you tap into your stored
supply of solar juice, turn on a couple light bulbs, plug in your two or three
necessary electronics, and live it up.
That said: yes, the sun is great, and with some smart
investments, we should be able to do all we want electricity wise. But the
first way to save money and help our earth is to scale down our usage in general. Just because the sun shines fairly
reliably doesn't mean we should go crazy with it- after all, our usage of
electricity goes beyond what's powering our devices. We have to think about who is making
them and how, what they're contributing to on a larger scale, and if we
actually need all of them on a regular basis.
Start by figuring out what uses the most power, then figure out if there's another way you can swing it. For instance, an electric water heater will use a good amount of electricity. Instead, why not try a simple passive solar water heating system?
You can read about how Laura decided which appliances made the most sense here.
In a tiny house, you'll probably find it easy to realize exactly how
little you need- the rest will seem like clutter in no time. So live simply
with solar power, and live simply with your solar-powered devices. But more
importantly, get out and run around in that sun!
Have a good story about your solar powered tiny house?
We're hiring in Sonoma and beyond!
Are you a tiny house fanatic? Have you ever dreamed of working for a small, vibrant company in the middle of glorious wine country?
Join our team!
You're in luck- Tumbleweed is currently looking to fill the following positions:
For more information on working for our team, please visit our Jobs Board
Are you a writer with a love of tiny houses? Are you a tiny house enthusiast with a passion for writing? Are you just really smart and looking to share your brilliance with the world?
We've had some awesome guest
blog posts recently, like Sicily's or Kendra's. We love having different voices on our blog, and we want to bring in more guest posters. We're especially looking for people with specific expertise. Are you a solar power buff? A plumbing genius? An interior design guru? Share your knowledge!
Be our guest!
If you think you have an
interesting topic for a blog post that you'd love to share with Tumbleweed, please check out our Guest Blogger posting on the Job Board.
We're looking to add regular guest bloggers to our
Tumbleweed team, so if we love what you've got, we'll be in touch about future opportunities.
Good luck, and happy blogging!
You might have noticed more activity on our blog,
lately. We're making it a priority to share more stories of tiny house builders all over the world, and we need your help!
Share your experiences.
Open your tiny door to the world.
The best part about working at Tumbleweed is getting to
celebrate each and every individual step in the planning, building and finishing processes. The stories we get to hear from you are inspiring- we talk about them all the time in our office. From young, family-loving builders like Jonathan Black to aspiring Danish builders like Lone Hansen, everyone has a different vision, a different method, and a different end
We love hearing your stories, and more
importantly, being able to share them with the tiny house community.
If you're building a Tumbleweed now, have plans to
do so in the future, or know someone who has a tiny house, please let us know. We'd
love to have one of our writers get in touch with you via e-mail, phone, or carrier pigeon.
Happy story telling!
Lone Hansen has some
beautiful views about tiny houses. She lives in Denmark, and is a Buddhist, member of the Royal Danish Navy, and tiny house builder. She's shared the following details on her plans to build a Fencl in Denmark.
I have a small plot of land on the island of Zealand
This is where I would like to build a small house. Not just any normal house,
but rather a house that does not impact the environment more than necessary.
Being a Buddhist, it is important for me to leave as small
an imprint on the environment as possible. Since we are all interdependent,
then there is no reason to bring any aggressiveness into our dealings with our
I will build a small passive solar house with solar power
and solar water heating. There will be a solar venting system on the roof. Off
the grid. Small because it leaves the smallest footprint on the environment. It
does not take much to heat it, since it will be well insulated with triple
glazed windows (low energy windows) and thick layer of insulation under the
floor, in the walls and roof. And easy and quick to clean ;-)
I've worked in the Royal Danish Navy for 3.5 years. So I got
used to living in small spaces with one cupboard and one drawer. The interior
design of boats is an inspiration for practical solutions to hold all the stuff that one can gather in a lifetime. The question is how much space one needs to
be fully satisfied and content and how much stuff. If the space is well thought
out, then it is possible to live in a shoebox.
However, I needed inspiration for my small build. I looked
all around the internet and came across Tumbleweed, The Tiny House Company.
These houses seems to fit my needs very well, and are filled with practical
solutions and ideas. I fell in love with the Fencl and Whidbey house and bought
When I got the drawings, I realized that they were in feet
and inches. It is however almost impossible to get any kind of ruler with feet
and inches here in Denmark,
since our entire industry is based on the meter system. Recalculating all the
measurements seemed a little daunting and could possible lead to mistakes,
since I am not that skilled in the imperial system.
Tumbleweed to ask if they happen to have a metric version of the two houses.
Shortly after, I received a mail, that they would be so kind and make metric
versions for me. I've just got those yesterday. And they look just fine and
seems correct at the first glance. So I thank Tumbleweed very much for doing
the recalculations of the drawings. It has been a time-consuming work.
Now I just need to make some redrawing of the house plans,
so they are according to the Danish building code. This means that the Fencl
will become a bit wider with more insulation in the floor, walls and roof. The
Whidbey will be lower (too tall for the area it would be build) and also a bit
wider with more insulation in the floor, walls and roof. Both will have 200 mm.
minimum of insulation in the floor, 300 mm in the walls and 400 mm in the roof
area. This might need some recalculation of the strength of the structure. I
will add some extra big windows on the south elevation and roof to get more
passive solar heating compared to the original drawings.
I expect to start building the Fencl next spring when the
frosty weather is over!