Tiny Solar Power

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

 

Resources

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.)

 

Websites

Solar Wholesaler (Canada)

Solarwyse (Canada)

Wholesale Solar (U.S.A.)

Solar Direct (U.S.A.)

Sol Solutions (U.S.A.)

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Interior Intentions

Ok, I have spent a lot of time looking at tiny houses from the outside and paying attention to a little of the inside if it is eye-catching. But when going tiny, you really have to make the most of space. That doesn’t have to mean going with that hideous two-burner camping stove though.

Let’s take a look at some handy space-saving ideas for your tiny home, and if you have any great ideas or photos of your own, pass them along to me in an email or on Facebook.

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This is a 2-burner stove top, oven and dishwasher.
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This is just awesome, if you can live with a tiny fridge.
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Move over Lazy Susan.
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Freeing up some counter space.
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Didn’t see that coming.
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Great idea for dining.
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From bench…to couch…to dining room table!
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Very handy going from a 2-seater to seating 5.
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Pretty good sleeping up to 4 people in about a 10′ square space…if you like the doctor’s office look.
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Now this is just plain awesomeness.
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Not bad…
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Ahh, the good old Murphy bed.

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Stay in a Tiny House Instead of a Hotel!

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?

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Here is a link to the original article and a link to the Getaway website.

Tiny Home?

Ok, I know that this is technically not a ‘tiny home’, but it is mobile, you technically can live in it, and it is pure awesome!

This guy bought an old beat up 1969 Cardinal Deluxe camper for $900. Him and a friend completely ripped it apart and rebuilt it, and as of August 2016, were selling it for $15,900.

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I have posted a few teaser pics here, but every single step of the project, from tear-down to design, to the last paint brush stroke was documented in about 90 photos on his imgur page.

All Sorts of Sorts

As I have mentioned before, Tiny Houses come in all sorts of shapes, and designs and colours and finishes, etc. I came across this great post that showcases some different tiny homes, from bathing in a wooden barrel, to living like Cinderella. We also have a steam punk themed tiny house and a grain silo transformed into a home.

Enjoy!

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http://www.wideopencountry.com/16-amazing-tiny-houses-want-live/

What is a Tiny Home?

One of the biggest questions I get asked most often from people is, “What is a Tiny Home?” It’s a fair question, and I am going to try to explain as much as I can from what I have learned from research and hearsay from ‘the experts’.

How Big is a Tiny Home?

A tiny home is a self-contained structure that is typically under 500 square feet (46.5 square meters).

Now the dimensions are where we get into some regulations. I am sure the restrictions and bylaws are different everywhere you go, and this also depends on whether or not you intend to transport your tiny home, but here is what I have noticed mostly everywhere in Canada and the United States.

Anything under 8′-6″ wide and 13′-6″ high from ground to peak can be transported without a permit. The allowable lengths differ from province to province and state to state. Here is a handy AAA reference. Anything between 8′-6″ wide and 12′-0″ wide requires a permit to transport, which vary in cost anywhere from $20 to $200 (check with your local municipality). Anything over 12′-0″ requires a pilot truck, and I am pretty sure those probably are not cheap.

Now, those dimensions are for tinys that require transport. If you are planning to build on site and not transport your tiny anywhere, local bylaws apply and I urge you to check them BEFORE you build. I have seen structures torn down because they did not adhere to local bylaws.

Where Can I Park a Tiny Home?

The best answer I can give to this question is you should be able to legally park a tiny home anywhere you can legally park a flat-deck trailer or RV. As with the building to code, location is another very grey area right now. I am finding that most times on the good old television shows like Tiny House Big Living, people are parking them on private owned land. On other shows like Tiny House Hunters, I see a lot of people parking them at RV parks.

Perhaps the best answer is to do your homework and due diligence and check with your local bylaw enforcement agency.

Does a Tiny Home Have to be Built to Building Code?

While we are discussing grey areas, now would be a great time to get really grey. The really grey area is the National Building Code (or provincial Building Code in my case for Alberta). Part 9 of The Alberta Building Code states that it applies to structures 3 storeys or less with a building area not exceeding 600 square meters (6,458.4 square feet). It also states that it does not apply to an accessory building not greater than 10 square meters (107.6 square feet).

The grey area is this, tinys can be on wheels (mobile) or built on skids  which makes them non-permanent structures which the building code does not apply to. But at the same time, once you are ‘living’ in a structure, it must meet certain safety requirements. Athough the code doesn’t specifically list ‘Tiny Homes’ or ‘Tiny Houses’, it does say words like ‘structures’ and ‘dwellings’ so technically I would say it applies. This is not an issue as there are some tiny home builders out there that already build to meet or exceed building code such as Finished Right Contracting.

The bottom line is, ALWAYS check with local municipalities regarding bylaws and use a builder that ensures your tiny is code-compliant whether it is required or not because they will be better structures in the end.