Off-Gri(n)d Tiny House

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DevilsBrew

Minister of Fire
Apr 21, 2013
687
You might want to look at or build a four season trailer, something similar to an Artic Fox.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,324
Eastern Central PA
A camper modified for off grid and 4 seasons in the way to go,all the R&D and construction is already done. Plus the miniature appliances and ability to work off propane or 12v.
Even if you dont plan to move it,also the designation of a camper would probably eliminate the property tax bill of a permanent structure.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,693
Northern MN
A camper modified for off grid and 4 seasons in the way to go
This appears to be good but I think would be very difficult. It seems to me that at least R20 insulation is needed all around, floor, walls and maybe more in the ceiling - that's 4" of foam. Modifying a trailer for this would involve tearing it all apart, and then it wouldn't fit back together again. Even the Arctic Fox 4 season models have design features that aren't conducive to off-grid, although they may be better insulated than other trailers, as they are heavily dependent on abundant electric power and propane.

The apartment article referenced and the modular apartment building leads to the idea of a manufactured off-grid home if designed up front to be off-grid. I think it needs to be transportable to a site but not designed to be travel-trailered. Water and disposal system that can handle different climates, down to -20F+ for northern climates, as well as heating, are all extremely important. The off-grid concept that intrigues me is quite minimalist, as solar electric, hot water and hot air all need to be very space conservative.
 
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DevilsBrew

Minister of Fire
Apr 21, 2013
687
Micro/Mini apartments - I did that a long time ago before the spin term. It was called a Dorm Room. No thanks. :)

I'm still trying to figure out the best way and place to "escape".
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,324
Eastern Central PA
Im very interested in all the options here as im in the planning stages of replacing a crumbling cabin in the woods.
My dilemma is i need to keep it designated as a campsite NOT a residence. Othwerwise all the nasty sewer requirement regulations come into play.
The lot is in a low lying area so even if i wanted to put in a huge costly septic system(WHich i dont) it probably would not be permitted.
I want a small off grid cabin with possibly a composting or camper toilet and the ability to have all systems work likewater,heat,light,bathroom regardless of available electricity. I will still have electricity but not really have to use it.
 

Chain

Feeling the Heat
Im very interested in all the options here as im in the planning stages of replacing a crumbling cabin in the woods.
My dilemma is i need to keep it designated as a campsite NOT a residence. Othwerwise all the nasty sewer requirement regulations come into play.
The lot is in a low lying area so even if i wanted to put in a huge costly septic system(WHich i dont) it probably would not be permitted.
I want a small off grid cabin with possibly a composting or camper toilet and the ability to have all systems work likewater,heat,light,bathroom regardless of available electricity. I will still have electricity but not really have to use it.
Check out this organization. They were featured a few years ago on either a Discovery channel or TLC program a few years ago regarding their custom built, portable mini cabins. They built many other products on site and are located about 30 minutes from where I'm typing this and I have heard very good things about their products. Obviously several hours drive from you but they sell their product line all over the country and I believe deliver:

http://www.bearcreekcarpentry.com/
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,324
Eastern Central PA
Yea thats what im looking at. THe outfit around here is quite a bit cheaper for the shell. IOll do the inside myself ,just need the shell with those exterior log boards they sell at Home Depot down south. THey use them all over the southern states ,basically a 2x8 shaved round with a tab at the top and a notch at the bottom/ Put em up like siding. Very nice
 

Michael Golden

Feeling the Heat
May 17, 2012
291
Ohio
I don't know about no 20k septic! I just built a house last year 1250 sq ft, 2 bedroom 2 bath full basement. I installed the aerator system myself after a simple test along with 400 ft of leach field and had right around 3k in it! The whole system only took my father in law and myself two days to install. That's a far cry from 20k, I would love to be a installer in your area!
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,324
Eastern Central PA
I don't know about no 20k septic! I just built a house last year 1250 sq ft, 2 bedroom 2 bath full basement. I installed the aerator system myself after a simple test along with 400 ft of leach field and had right around 3k in it! The whole system only took my father in law and myself two days to install. That's a far cry from 20k, I would love to be a installer in your area!
If you have a WET area the whole thing ,that even if you can get the permit has to go on top the ground, a giant sand mound,with tanks and manhole covers and pumps and switches,and of course most people cant do it themselves.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,324
Eastern Central PA
. I installed the aerator system myself after a simple test along with 400 ft of leach field and had right around 3k in it! The whole system only took my father in law and myself two days to install. That's a far cry from 20k,
Get an estimate for the work you did yourself. Dont be surprised if it double or triple what you spent.
 

Michael Golden

Feeling the Heat
May 17, 2012
291
Ohio
Get an estimate for the work you did yourself. Dont be surprised if it double or triple what you spent.
Wow above ground! It would look like the Indian serpent mound if I had to do that.
 

Ehouse

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2011
906
Upstate NY
My take on this whole scheme is a house boat/shanty boat for further combined function. Both my properties have sizable ponds. by the time the local officials figure out how to harass you, you'll be long gone. Park it on dry land, cruise the canals, pull into your bunker in cold weather, if the SHTF, or motor/sail out to the middle of the lake if the hills are ablaze. Build it yourself on pontoons instead of skids and you're good to go. Ahoy, matey!!
 

Chain

Feeling the Heat
My take on this whole scheme is a house boat/shanty boat for further combined function. Both my properties have sizable ponds. by the time the local officials figure out how to harass you, you'll be long gone. Park it on dry land, cruise the canals, pull into your bunker in cold weather, if the SHTF, or motor/sail out to the middle of the lake if the hills are ablaze. Build it yourself on pontoons instead of skids and you're good to go. Ahoy, matey!!
I like this plan....
 

Ehouse

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2011
906
Upstate NY
I'm thinking vintage Airstream Bambi on pontoons for my Aqua Terra recreational/escape/survival pod.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,693
Northern MN
I can smell the poo from the poo-ntoon going right into the lake. People tend to get lazy and think public waters are waste disposal sites.
 

Ehouse

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2011
906
Upstate NY
I can smell the poo from the poo-ntoon going right into the lake. People tend to get lazy and think public waters are waste disposal sites.

I assume your sediments are not directed toward me personally.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,080
South Puget Sound, WA
LOL. This thread is getting wasted.
 

Badfish740

Minister of Fire
Oct 3, 2007
1,540
Count me as interested. This is a topic I'd like to learn more about as one of our dreams to own property in the Great North Woods of Maine. Some of the most affordable properties are off grid and quite remote, so a low impact, net zero dwelling would be key.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,693
Northern MN
Seems to me that if a person genuinely is interested in an off-grid tiny house that is energy self-sufficient, most of the ideas offered realistically will not work. "Extreme" travel trailers will not work in a cold environment without lots of btu's provided by a fuel source; ditto pontoons, log-style tiny homes, etc. Assume 240 sq ft, 12 x 20 x 8, R40 walls and floors and R80 ceiling, 60 sq ft of windows and door at R4, 2 residents, very tight construction: at -10F, still need about 3000 btuH; at 0F need about 2500 btuH. Many of the ideas presented are tiny houses, but I don't think any even begin to approach a workable energy self-sufficient solution.

Nothing wrong to dream about a tiny house, on a trailer or not: that is achievable. To make it energy self-sufficient also is achievable, but a lot more is involved than just a tiny house dream.
 

Ehouse

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2011
906
Upstate NY
Seems to me that if a person genuinely is interested in an off-grid tiny house that is energy self-sufficient, most of the ideas offered realistically will not work. "Extreme" travel trailers will not work in a cold environment without lots of btu's provided by a fuel source; ditto pontoons, log-style tiny homes, etc. Assume 240 sq ft, 12 x 20 x 8, R40 walls and floors and R80 ceiling, 60 sq ft of windows and door at R4, 2 residents, very tight construction: at -10F, still need about 3000 btuH; at 0F need about 2500 btuH. Many of the ideas presented are tiny houses, but I don't think any even begin to approach a workable energy self-sufficient solution.

Nothing wrong to dream about a tiny house, on a trailer or not: that is achievable. To make it energy self-sufficient also is achievable, but a lot more is involved than just a tiny house dream.

I agree. I once lived in a 9'x9' tiny house I built for 2 summers while I was building my first real house. A rain barrel fed by a tarp was my water supply. I never slept better in my life and loved it. All bets were off by mid October, however, and I had to get an apt. All systems need careful consideration for 4 season use, (as you pointed out above, where to poo?).
 
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