One tiny village in Alberta may set a huge precedence for the Tiny Home Movement. Big Valley is village of about 350 people, roughly 220km Southeast of Edmonton (East of Red Deer). It’s in that tiny village, council decided to change their bylaws to allow 22 lots measuring 30 feet by 80 feet in one subdivision.
“Putting them all together in one subdivision will give unity to the area and a community-type feel.” – Michelle White – Chief Administrative Officer
The only catch…the tiny homes will have to be on a permanent foundation, be connected to municipal water and sewer, and have hook-ups for gas and power. They had to actually look at regulations from the U.S. because they couldn’t find any in Canada. That needs to be rectified!
Council in Big Valley will now go through the processes of passing the new bylaw, engineering the land development and figuring out how much the tiny lots will cost.
You can read the full story HERE.
I was at the Edmonton Home & Garden Show on Saturday, helping out Steve Zaleschuk from Finished Right Contracting. He had a tiny house on display, only at the lock-up stage, so people could see how they were constructed. We had some mixed reaction from people. Some just peeked their heads in, commented that it wasn’t finished, and then went on their way. Others enjoyed the fact that they could see the craftsmanship that goes into constructing a home.
Steve doesn’t use any O.S.B. or any particle boards in anything. Exterior sheeting is done with plywood and the sub-floor is done with tongue & groove Fir. Wall framing is done on 16-inch centers and the sheeting is glued & screwed on every stud. Loft and roof framing is on 12-inch centers, so once sheeted they are solid.
Once the framing and sheeting is on, and the wiring is run, we do 3 – 3 1/2 inches of spray foam. This is a bit more expensive than batt insulation, but well worth it because it gives us an R-22 value, gives us some more rigidity, acts as a vapour barrier, and is fire resistant.
We also use tankless hot water on-demand units to heat the domestic water as well as the radiant in-floor heating. Just like the insulation, this is more costly from the on-set, but will save you a lot more money in the long run, and saves space.
These are just a few of the examples of the craftsmanship that goes into every tiny we build. Although the units are classed as RV here and as such, are not regulated by building codes, Steve meets or exceeds the building codes on every unit.
Now, some things I also learned about at the Home Show that I hadn’t known about yet are:
- The town of Big Valley, Alberta has designated 22 lots to build a small Tiny Home Community.
- Sturgeon County (just north of Edmonton) is re-writing their by-laws to accommodate and include Tiny Houses.
So one of the biggest decisions you need to make when deciding to follow the Tiny House Movement is whether to go on or off the grid, or both. For many, getting off the grid and out in the wide open spaces of serenity far outweighs the option of ‘hooking up’ at an RV park or wherever it may be.
The most costly, and perhaps the most important part of planning to go off-grid is your power source. Solar is a very popular option, and some even go with wind and water turbine power sources. This post is dedicated to solar power.
Here are some links to some articles, posts, and websites you may find handy in planning and making your decisions.
As always, if you have any experience with solar power or any tips or tricks, let us know.
Articles & Posts
How Solar Power Works – Solar Wholesaler
Best Solar Panel Kits for Your Tiny House – Tiny House Blog
Tiny House Solar – The Tiny Life
Taking a Tiny House Off Grid – Home Power
Solar Power for Tiny House RV’s – Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
Tiny Home Solar Power – Sol Solutions
Tiny House Solar Panel Kit – Go Green Solar
Off-Grid Solar Panel Calculator (This is from an American company so the Sun Hours/Day Zones are in the U.S. but you can estimate your area in Canada looking at the map)
Appliance Power Demand Chart
Sun Hours Per Day Chart (U.S.A.)
Solar Wholesaler (Canada)
Wholesale Solar (U.S.A.)
Solar Direct (U.S.A.)
Sol Solutions (U.S.A.)
Like pretty much most other families, we have relatives that live all over the place, and with three kids and a grand-daughter on-board, it’s hard to stay with relatives sometimes. So naturally we grab a hotel. The kids used to love it because when they were little they would go swimming in the hotel pool. Now the kids are teenagers, so they don’t care so much about swimming. Plus, we got to thinking, why spend easily over $100 on a hotel when we check in at 4pm and check out at 11am? That’s not even 24 hours!
Well now there are new, and more economical, and fun options popping up. A startup called Gateway, builds, and rents tiny cabins for your getaway in the woods. Really, a great idea, and for around the same cost as a hotel, you can not only enjoy the silence, but you have a kitchenette to cook up some grub, and who can beat being in the outdoors with nature all around?
Here is a link to the original article and a link to the Getaway website.
I think at some point in everyone’s life they wish they had a tree-house. What’s not to love about tree-houses? They are small, awesome…and in a tree!
Here is a pretty cool tree-house I came across. It was designed by tree-house specialist Andreas Wenning. It is located in Berlin, Germany and is on a property that also has a second tree-house on it. As always, I have just provided a few pics, but you can view the whole story here.
Photo credits to Laura Fiorio and The Urban Tree House