The tiny house movement is getting big.
More people want to live small and off the grid (using as little public utility power as possible.) And builders are interested to see if they have what it takes to build one.
This week, construction and engineering students from Fresno State and College of the Sequoias are sending two tiny houses to a state competition that promotes energy conservation, energy efficiency and solar technologies.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is holding its inaugural Tiny House Competition at Cosumnes River College. Eight other schools are participating including Chico State, Sacramento State, Cosumnes; Laney College, San Jose City College, Santa Clara University, UC Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College and UC Berkeley.
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Students, who have spent almost two years on the project, will exhibit their houses and be judged in architectural design, livability, communication, affordability, energy efficiency and balance, appliance load, technology/electrical and mechanical systems, transportation, sustainability and documentation. Trophies and monetary prizes will be awarded.
Here’s a look at the central San Joaquin Valley’s two tiny houses:
Construction management students used 100-year-old reclaimed wood and corrugated metal for the siding of their 190-square-foot tiny house.
The home has rain gutters which collect water to irrigate planters attached to the side of the home. Eight solar panels on the roof generate enough energy to live off the grid for at least three days, said student Thomas Dailey. And the entire building – about the size of a one-car garage – has a grey water system that can recycle shower and sink water.
Step inside and the tiny house has a custom L-shaped couch with storage underneath, a walnut butcher block countertop, a standing shower and a loft big enough for a California King-sized bed.
“I’m pretty proud of it,” said Dailey, the only member of the eight-person tiny house team to work on the project for more than a year.
The house will return to Fresno State after the competition and be used for educational purposes. A smart monitoring system was installed in the house allowing students to monitor its energy usage. The Fresno State team plans to leave Tuesday morning for the competition.
College of the Sequoias
Construction technology students at College of the Sequoias designed and built a 280-square-foot tiny home that looks like a log cabin with green roof for the cool climate of the Puget Sound in Washington state.
The floor of the house is heated by a warm water radiant floor heat system. Ventilation fans at each end of the home circulate air and keeps the house cool during the summer. A grey water system recycles water used in the home while gutters collect rain on the outside.
The loft fits a queen-sized bed and a bonus room over the patio fits a single sleeper. The kitchen cabinets are made of recycled cedar cabinets.
The construction technology department typically builds a single-family house, but entered the tiny house competition because it “was of interest to us and something different,” said professor John Rector.
The house will be used as a vacation home in Washington after the competition. The team left Visalia over the weekend.