Monday, September 1, 2014

Tiny house building workshop announced!

Hey Everyone,

I am excited to announce that I will be helping to teach a one week workshop offered through Worcester Think Tank on building a tiny house! We will start with a 20' trailer, and in one week build the frame, sheath it, add windows, a roof, and siding. You will learn everything you need to know to build your own tiny house to the point that it is weather tight. This will be taking place on a farm in Leicester MA, just outside of Worcester. Send me an email if you have any questions, but spaces are filling fast!

Here is the website for the course.
Registration can be done here.


Once I installed the steel roof, I was finally able to put the solar panel back up on the roof. See this post for more info on the system. Not much has changed with the system other than a little house to keep the batteries in.

Eventually these will live in the basement.

I am still not catching as much energy as I should be because of the shade from the trees, but as long as I am careful about turning things off when they are not being used, I am getting enough energy to power three lights, the water pump, an amplifier for music, and an inverter to charge computers, phones and power a wireless router. It is amazing how little electricity we need if we are careful.

This is a short time lapse video showing the shade patterns on the roof throughout the day. It is far from ideal for a solar panel, but it works for now.


For the past four years, I have had some version of a tarp on the roof. I went through a couple of regular tarps, and two retired billboards. I have been trying to hold out for the final standing seam copper roof, but is is going to be expensive and complicated to construct. When it came time for a new tarp this summer, I finally broke down and bought the most inexpensive galvanized steel roofing I could get. For about $250 and 5 hours of work, I have a leak proof roof that I don't need to worry about. Eventually when I build the skylights and copper roof, the steel can just be unscrewed and used on another project. I wish I did this four years ago...


For the past few months we have had running hot water! The system is still in testing mode and I will have to reconfigure it for winter, but it has been nice to turn on the tap and have instant hot or cold water.

Right now the system consists of two 55 gallon drums that I fill with a hose, then drive up to the house. These two drums last about a month before needing to be refilled. Once at the house, I hook them up the the panel you see in the photo. There is a 12V SureFlo pump that turns on when the tap opens. From there the water either goes straight to the cold tap, or through an on-demand propane water heater. The water heater is an Ecotemp L5. After a few months of using it, I can barely feel a difference in the weight of the propane tank. Right now the sink drain just goes through the floor and drains onto the ground.

Before winter I hope to have a basement finished for the house (more on that later). When that happens, I am going to try to sink a drive-point well in the basement. See this site for information on what that is. This will also give me a spot to run all of my plumbing that will be easier to protect from freezing. I will also have to dig a small drainage field for the grey water.