Tiny House a Lesson in Sustainability

March 07, 2012

Want to see a truly tiny piece of Chicago real estate?

You can find one at Sheridan Road and Noyes Street in Evanston, where there is a 128-square-foot home on display.

The Tiny House, which was designed by students and young alumni from Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, is a lesson in sustainability, simple living and how to creatively use the space you have.

At 8 feet wide and 16 feet long, the Tiny House is built on a trailer and includes everything a person needs to live comfortably, including a living room with an extendable couch, a kitchen, a sleeping loft, a storage area and a bathroom with a shower and a compost toilet.

“We designed the house with the motto that the greenest square foot is the one you don’t build,” said Kaycee Overcash, a recent Northwestern graduate and co-project manager of the Tiny House. “That’s why the toilet is in the shower.”

Environmentally friendly materials were used to build the home, which is supported by beams and not structural walls.

The zero-net energy house produces its own electricity using roof-mounted solar panels, and there is a battery bank that will provide three days of power if no solar energy is available. The home also collects, filters and stores all of its own water through a rainwater catchment system.

The estimated cost to build this home was $50,000. But it’s not for sale.

“We’re not asking everyone to move into houses this size,” said Tiny House team member Alejandro Sklar. “Instead, we want to demonstrate what can be done with such a small space and teach people to utilize every inch they inhabit, whether that be a garden they harvest food from and use gray water to sustain or a loft they turn into a wind tunnel to ventilate a home.”

The Tiny House will be on display outside the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, 2133 Sheridan Road, from Wednesday through Friday, March 7-9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Saturday, March 10 from noon to 3 p.m.

Take a look. I bet it changes the way you see your own home’s space.

For more information, click here.

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