Is This the Best Tiny House Design?

Wow, this is a well-conceived and constructed tiny house! No surprise that yacht construction was an inspiration for design and materials. This home crams more useable features into the space than any other tiny home I’ve seen. So is this the best tiny house design?

Minim House, tiny house interior, kitchen

The Minim House, a superior tiny house design.

 

the Minim House exterior

The Minim House lives at Boneyard Studios.

 

Minim House sofa, bathroom, bedroom.

Another view of the interior.

 

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

 

 

Tiny Homes With Great Design

Tiny homes are all the rage these days (in some circles), and run the gamut from simple, rough-hewn shacks to highly designed and finished homes. You’ll find a huge variety of layouts, but these three strike me as tiny homes with great design.

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tiny modern house, Portland

This tiny house offers an exceptional design and layout.

Steely Cottage tiny home

The Steely Cottage floorplan is a great design.

 

Lloyd Kahn wrote and published a great book on the subject:

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Lloyd included a huge variety of tiny homes, from those home-built on a trailer to homes professionally built on land. It’s captivating.

Sites Worth A Look: Sourceable, City Farmer News, The Automatic Earth

It’s tough to keep up with all the excellent sites out there, but these are sites worth a look: Sourceable, City Farmer News, The Automatic Earth. Loads of interesting info in each. And the first video features a German town that has pursued energy independence.

sourceable.net covers architecture, building, construction, engineering

sourceable.net is an australian web site that covers architecture, urban planning, construction, design, and engineering.

 

City Farmer News

City Farmer News has been around since the late 1970s, and online since the early 1990s.

 

If you're interested in environmental issues as they relate to global finance and predictions of collapse, check it out.

The Automatic Earth covers finance, environment, and economic collapse.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

A Self-Sufficient Community in Colombia

Gaviotas, Colombia is a self-sustaining community

Gaviotas, Colombia is a sustainable community created in a “tropical desert.”

 

About 40 years ago a man decided to create a self-sufficient community in Colombia. Here’s a bit of the story the village of Gaviotas, which makes use of:

  • homegrown renewable technologies
  • bioclimatic architecture
  • turning a desert into a forest.

Sounds a lot like permaculture principles.

 

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

Whole Tree Structures by Roald Gundersen

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Architect and builder Roald Gundersen builds what he calls “whole tree structures,” including homes and commercial buildings. Lately he and his team have been testing the design properties of branched columns at the Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

What The Hell Is Community Solar?

Clean Energy Collective, Lowry facility

400 kW of clean solar power in action

 

Clean Energy Collective’s 400 kW facility at the old Lowry Air Force Base places a state-of-the art solar array into production where anyone with an electric bill can invest in solar electricity. It’s Denver County’s first community-owned solar array.

What The Hell Is Community Solar?

The state’s Solar Gardens legislation paved the way. More info herehere, and here. For existing buildings, and buildings undergoing renovation, this makes a lot of sense. You and I can invest in solar power without having to deal with panels on our roofs, maintenance, and so on.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

 

Ever Heard of Solar Gardens?

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Clean Energy Collective is a for-profit company that builds and operates medium-sized photovoltaic installations called “solar gardens.” As an electric user, you can purchase a solar panel or panels in a solar garden and receive a credit for the electricity the panels produce.

The basic idea is the same as a solar installation on your own roof, with a few advantages:

  • The PV array is located in a suitable location, free from any trees or other potential obstructions.

  • You don’t have to modify your home or business.

  • You own the panels, but don’t need to own a home, so renters can buy and support renewable power too.

  • CEC will maintain the panels, inverters, and so on for the life of the installation.

Last Saturday I joined about 30 other people at the company’s Cowdery Meadows site for a tour. This 500 kW project uses 2016 photovoltaic panels, and is located outside Boulder, near Superior, Colorado.

More info:

Clean Energy Collective

Solar Gardens Community Power

Summit Daily

solar installation, photovoltaic, renewable energy

Mke Dow of Clean Energy Collective talks with attendees at the Cowdery Meadow solar garden facility.

Energy Efficiency and the Urban Forest

Where do energy efficiency and the urban forest converge? In the following two reports, but in seven cities in the U.S. also.

energy efficiency, energy saving

The most energy efficient cities in the U.S.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently released its city energy-efficiency scorecard. The scorecard ranks the country’s largest 34 cities on five criteria:

  • local government
  • community initiatives
  • buildings
  • energy, water, utilities, and public benefits programs
  • transportation.

The top-scoring cities for energy efficiency

The top scoring cities are scattered around the country:

  • Boston
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco
  • New York
  • Seattle
  • Austin, Texas
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Minneapolis
  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • Denver

The report is available here. It’s interesting to learn how these cities are making progress.

I noticed that seven of those 11 cities are also in American Forests’ list of top cities for urban forests. As neither energy efficiency nor urban forests just happen by good fortune, it would seem likely that both results are the result of policy. They’re deliberate.

What are the best cities for treehuggers?

American Forests’ 10 Best list is based on 6 main criteria.

The top-scoring cities for energy efficiency and urban forests

Those seven cities at the top of both lists are:

  • Portland, Oregon
  • New York
  • Seattle
  • Austin, Texas
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Minneapolis
  • Denver

As I wrote in “4 Ideas for Greener Cities,” our urban forests are crucial to making our cities greener, as they:

  • sequester carbon
  • improve air quality
  • moderate heat and save energy
  • moderate high winds
  • filter water and moderate erosion
  • increase real estate values
  • as well as providing benefits to people such as calming us and helping us slow down a bit.

You’ll also find quite a lot of info about increasing home energy efficiency using trees and other plants in our book, “Creating A Sustainable Home: Fast, Cheap, and Easy Ways to Save Energy and Money.”

Great News About Energy and Environmental Restoration

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From an environmental standpoint, there’s plenty to be concerned about. But there’s also great news about energy and environmental restoration. Filmmaker John Liu’s “Green Gold” shows the remarkable restoration of degraded areas in China and Ethiopia. The speed with which degraded landscapes can be stabilized then improved is surprising.

 

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Amory Lovins’ article from August 15 debunks critical accounts of Germany’s success in using renewable energy. Germany produced nearly 25% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2012. Great to learn what works.