Subtitle: "A Good Way To Introduce Green Building On A Mass Scale"
Here is a tiny house of around 800 square feet that sports some of the better concepts in energy efficiency along with solar heating. With design devoted to lowering the energy signature of the structure it does not take much in terms of energy to run such a home. Yet the home can have two bedrooms and a laundry room although such rooms as the living room and dining area may end up small, however one of the bed rooms can be used as a den or home office / work shop if a single individual decides on such a home, in which case this would make a good retirement home investment.
One thing you can note about this design based upon the rendering of its 3D model, is that the south facing wall with its two windows and solar space heating panel are completely shaded in the summer months. In the winter time the sun will shine in under the shaded over hang of the roof providing daylight and solar heating. Hence this design will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter by smart design.
The idea of such a home is to make the design affordable via both the construction method and the size, although the same method can make a larger design affordable and hence competitive, this design is believed to be something that can bring energy efficiency with solar heating to market in a wide spread way. However the home here is designed to provide a Net Zero energy scheme if solar PV panels are added along with a wind turbine, where the investment into these added renewable would be scaled down due to the energy efficiency of the structure. The model of this home comes with its own energy calculator based upon the square footage and R factors of the design, and demonstrates the monthly, annual and 10 year cost of energy for this design. The calculator can assist in sizing a solar PV system if the owner wishes to invest in such. Furthermore any architect can alter the calculator based upon the actual finished layout of the design as they choose.
It's true that the living room is not very large, just enough space to sit and watch a flat screen tv mounted to the wall, yet there is plenty enough space for a dining table and the main walk way (or the flow) of the house serves as the kitchen which turns out to provide plenty of kitchen work space. Furthermore something smart about the design as was mentioned earlier, is its solar shading, and hence the north side of the home has a large shaded porch area that stays cool all summer long and provides a nice place to resort to, to cool off when one has been doing lawn work. Another thing which is an option of the design, is to line the wall opposite the kitchen work space with brick for both thermal mass and to add a nice interior look. For such a small home this option is affordable and desirable for energy and interior comfort reasons. Perhaps the unusual thing here with this design, is that although insulated wood floors where first considered for the design, ease of construction was taken into account and hence the home came to be designed on an on grade slab where the rest of the design was devoted to making up for energy losses through the slab. Where energy looses where reduced further in other areas, as well as in choosing the right backer board for the ceramic tile to be used in the floors. the right backer board will raise the R factor of the slab and result in reduced losses, hence this is required for such a design to be feasible with regards to lowering the energy losses and if one should ever desire to move towards a Net Zero energy scenario. If there is anything unusual about this house it is the amount of insulation in the attic, however since this is done during construction the method of installation can be considered and then the best method to make it easy to apply can be employed on the site. Thick batt insulation still would require some blown in insulation to acquire the desired level of R factor. The exterior walls require 2x6 studded frames and R 19 backed with at least 1 inch of foam insulation. To lower the effects of heat gain the exterior should have a thermal mass of brick around it, and remember that the south facing wall will be shaded in the summer and hence this will reduce the heat gain along with choosing the right roofing method and materials for the roof with plenty of ventilation. Solar powered attic fans can be added to the design.
Same house model with a different roof depicting the west end and north side with recessed porch.
Small does not mean dysfunctional.