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I'm Building An Off-Grid Community (update 1): Tiny-Home Living

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posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 05:36 PM
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Hello everyone, long-time-no-update.

Some of you may remember a topic I posted here back in April of this year (You can find it here for more information). I'm happy to say that the concept is still on the go, but with the current recession here in Canada, we're going to have to lengthen our previously mentioned timeline on when we expect things to be completed.

At this point in time we're going to focus on varying our aquaponics system designs so when we do get construction up and running, we'll have the most productive system we know of, and the most energy efficient.

We're also trying to catalog all available 'progressive' mechanisms we can find to replace common household amenities with more environmentally friendly, and sustainable versions (think 'composting toilets' for example).

The biggest change we're considering making -currently- is to our housing size. Initially we wanted to go with Average, to near-average sized homes for everyone. Our mentality when it came to that is that it would be more appealing for others to see that you don't need to sacrifice all the luxuries of modern living when you go off-grid and self sustainable. We realized that doing so is a bit of an oxymoron in relation to our total focus. Larger homes require more energy to build, heat, cool, and sustain, not to mention the excessive amount of materials needed to make them. So instead, we're considering shrinking the housing sizes dramatically, and want your input on the idea.

The average sized home in Canada is just under 2000 square feet. This, to us, is just absurdly large. In the States the average is even bigger at 2600 square feet. My wife and I live in a 720 square foot, four level split, and even now we are noticing that we don't need all this room. We calculated that we have at least 200 square feet that we aren't using, and the rooms that we are using aren't very efficient at storing, well, anything really.

So our plan is to reduce our home-living size from the average 2000 sq/f (and current 720 sq/f) to between 200-500 sq/f. Here's a visual difference to really wrap your head around the size differences.

2000 square foot average sized home (in canada)


550 square foot house with full sized appliances


200 square foot Interior design with some full sized appliances. (full size is optional)


It's a pretty big difference, and one that we understand would be extremely difficult for some people to change to. However, the smaller size gives us more reasons to be healthy and active outside, it will reduce all our energy needs, the materials cost is minimal, and the variety in shapes and sizes with current designs is massive!

If you're still unsure about the idea, try watching an episode of Tiny Homes Nation (all episodes are available on youtube)
One of the best episodes shows a 500 square foot "mansion" that I highly suggest taking a look at. For the reveal of the new home, head to the time 31:35 in the video



Our ultimate goal for the community is to grow and sell massive amounts of produce and fish for a drastically lower price, when still trying to maintain the lowest possible ecological footprint, while also spreading these concepts (and hopefully success) to others who have similar goals, and hopefully convincing the one's who don't share those goals to consider it as a less expensive, healthier, sustainable way of living.

Do you think these reduced housing concepts would bring in and entice new people, or scare the away?

We know a lot of you out there have off grid homes, or even just specific home appliances that help you to reduce energy costs and maintain sustainability. So we want to know what devices you have, or designs you've made that we could also consider integrating into our off-grid community.





posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 05:43 PM
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I think that is a cool idea, but I don't quite understand why you would want to live in a cramped little space. Can't you be off the grid in a house that doesn't look so cramped as the one in your picture?

I think it is cool you are pursuing your dreams, but I don't think I could live comfortably in someplace that small. Maybe it is because I am a bigger person (6'+).



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 05:52 PM
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Very cool! I'm in love with tiny houses and off grid micro communities. It's my dream to build out a community sometime in the future. I finally have a stable stream of income that's pretty well guaranteed outside my hobby side monies, so am starting to save for land and the first tiny house which will become my own. Paps is in construction so we know crews for everything. Figure I can build out a tiny home under 80k decked out in a few years.

a reply to: Metallicus

I'm 6ft1. No reason you can't scale as needed. Was thinking ~650sqft for my pad. The more creative and resourceful the less space needed. I've been designing custom houses on pad and in my head with thousands of variations since my earliest memories.
edit on 19-10-2015 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 05:58 PM
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a reply to: Metallicus

Also after watching an episode of tiny homes and seeing that they can go for 20k plus I would much rather get an rv or travel trailer with slide outs that can be more comfortable and more mobile.



It's a cool concept but I think for the same investment you could do better wit other options.
edit on 071031America/ChicagoMon, 19 Oct 2015 18:07:44 -0500000000p3142 by interupt42 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 05:58 PM
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a reply to: Metallicus

I completely understand your concern. It all comes down to varying factors from each individuals needs, requirements, and wants.

Some people like to entertain, and the standard thought that comes to mind is "I need space to do that". However, smaller homes that have multi functional rooms, furniture, staircases, floors, and so forth can accommodate the most common household activities if built correctly, and still have a comfortable feel to it.

In our current home we have a ridiculously large couch for the two of us, it's footprint in the house is about 40 square feet. If we were to rebuild that couch, having the same dimensions and cushions and comfort, we could easily fit that same square footage inside the frame of the couch, reducing the number of other furniture designed specifically for storage (such as storage bins, book shelves, or anything else you can think of.

At the moment, none of our furniture is multi functional. Our bed is a bed. Our couch is a couch. our table is a table. However, they all have the ability to be multi functional, thus reducing the need for various other things.

Take a Murphy Bed for example.







A standard queen size bed has a 35 square foot footprint. You can easily completely erase that footprint, AND have it double as a storage unit, and also a desk (or couch or what have you).

Just things to consider



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 05:59 PM
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a reply to: Metallicus

Smaller quarters make for warmer interior. I lived in a 470 sq foot studio with no kitchen, for 5 years, back in my younger years. You can get quite creative in tiny spaces.


OP, I applaud you!



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

Actually is good idea to start with an small house and consider expand it according to your needs later. Best wishes for your project.



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:07 PM
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My strategy for off the grid here in Alaska has always been a modest 400-sq ft main cabin for the kitchen and livingroom with 2 smaller flanker cabins for sleeping quarters. I'm not worried about storage space, either. A ConEx trailer makes the perfect storage unit plus toy garage. A second ConEx makes an ideal workshop and by partitioning off half of it, meat locker/game/hide processing station.



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:09 PM
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originally posted by: burdman30ott6
My strategy for off the grid here in Alaska has always been a modest 400-sq ft main cabin for the kitchen and livingroom with 2 smaller flanker cabins for sleeping quarters. I'm not worried about storage space, either. A ConEx trailer makes the perfect storage unit plus toy garage. A second ConEx makes an ideal workshop and by partitioning off half of it, meat locker/game/hide processing station.


Sounds cool! So the house is modular then?



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:15 PM
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Everytime I stay in a nice hotel suite I come away wondering why our homes are so big. I stayed in a gorgeous apartment/hotel type place in Miami, it had a big L shaped room which had a nice sized kitchen which over looked a living area with a huge sofa and behind that was a big double bed with wardrobes along the wall. The only other room was a bathroom behind the kitchen. I was sat in there thinking I could easily live in this place for the rest of my life and not need anything bigger.

To make it perfect id say it would need some outdoor space and maybe 1 other seperate room if your a couple and want a bit of 'me time'. I get how something that size wouldnt work for families with kids, but even then people live in places with 10 or 12 rooms and only end up using about half of them and filling the rest with junk.

Id be quite happy to live in a small 2 or 3 roomed house as long as it was well designed.



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:17 PM
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Hats off for actually taking steps to live on your terms. I think the off-the-grid lifestyle has so much appeal to those of us living in the rat race but rarely does anyone take the plunge.

Please keep us updated on your progress. I am very interested see how it turns out.

Regarding the smaller housing units, for me at least, it all about having a space to myself once in awhile. If it were just my wife and I, I don't think it would be a problem as long as I could spend time outside. If my kids were in there with me, you'd find me sleeping under a tree every night or hanging from it eventually



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:24 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

That is really cool. Maybe I am just claustrophobic.

I LOVE your ability to live off the grid.

I hope it all works out for you!




posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:25 PM
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originally posted by: burdman30ott6
My strategy for off the grid here in Alaska has always been a modest 400-sq ft main cabin for the kitchen and livingroom with 2 smaller flanker cabins for sleeping quarters. I'm not worried about storage space, either. A ConEx trailer makes the perfect storage unit plus toy garage. A second ConEx makes an ideal workshop and by partitioning off half of it, meat locker/game/hide processing station.


You are my hero. I wish I had the skill set to live like you do.

It sounds perfect.



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:26 PM
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originally posted by: Idonthaveabeard
Everytime I stay in a nice hotel suite I come away wondering why our homes are so big. I stayed in a gorgeous apartment/hotel type place in Miami, it had a big L shaped room which had a nice sized kitchen which over looked a living area with a huge sofa and behind that was a big double bed with wardrobes along the wall. The only other room was a bathroom behind the kitchen. I was sat in there thinking I could easily live in this place for the rest of my life and not need anything bigger.

To make it perfect id say it would need some outdoor space and maybe 1 other seperate room if your a couple and want a bit of 'me time'. I get how something that size wouldnt work for families with kids, but even then people live in places with 10 or 12 rooms and only end up using about half of them and filling the rest with junk.

Id be quite happy to live in a small 2 or 3 roomed house as long as it was well designed.


precisely our line of thinking. Thanks for the support, and I completely agree, outdoor living space is a big need.

There's nothing stopping us from making a great deck, or a sheltered outdoor area



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:30 PM
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My only gripe is having to find someone who shares the same outlook on life. If you are single and attempt to live this way, proceed with caution. You may want to find that "special" someone before you take the plunge.

LOL, look what I found!!!

Tiny House Dating




posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:32 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

You're in Canada. Why are going with conventional materials? If you want to go off grid, shouldn't you be thinking about a traditional log cabin? The logs would be good insulation wouldn't they? Better than planks, and that would reduce your heating even more.

I would also think about looking at shipping containers for storage. They can be grounded and serve as Faraday cages in a pinch. My parents bought one for simple outdoor storage in a rural area, but since my dad had a pacemaker put in, I have mentioned the Faraday concept should things get bad.


edit on 19-10-2015 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)

edit on 19-10-2015 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:39 PM
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I think tiny houses would work pretty well with the concept you have, especially if you have a community common area that would give a little more space to stretch out and be social with others.



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:43 PM
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I love the idea of a tiny homes community. I do well in small spaces, and I would love it.



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:44 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

No, the central cabin serves as living space until the flankers are built. Final step for the flankers is to chainsaw the doorway between the main cabin and the flanker, then finish with ripped timbers.



posted on Oct, 19 2015 @ 06:46 PM
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My wife and I have lived small for many years. We camp nearly every weekend in a 24 foot motorhome and couldn't be any happier. Basically we live on Lake Michigan in a garage and sleep in the house. The neighbors do think were nuts but most are in Chicago most of the time.

A side note most places will not let you live in a small house





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