Sunday, April 3, 2011


The phrase, "Living within your means" has taken on a completely new meaning in the past 50 years. For home ownership, this phrase now means "living within what you can hopefully pay off over 40% of your life if you work really hard at it." Inspired by Thoreau, Permaculture and the desire to live more simply, without debt and only minimum bills, the concept for the Integrated Tiny house began.

Imagine having no mortgage payment, virtually no utility payment, a minimal water bill and a large portion of your food easily grown on your own property. With the integrated tiny house, everything aside from minimal water usage and trash is paid for up front. The cost of this will be the cost of the land (Proposed at 6 months-1 year of household income) and the cost of building the home itself (6 months income) and the power system ($5,000-$10,000). This system will need to be variable to accommodate differing climates. I live in the desert of metropolitan Phoenix, so the issues germane to my region will be the ones I address.

The integrated tiny house will obviously be small. This has a couple of main advantages: cheaper to heat and cool, limits your accumulation of unnecessary clutter, by extension significantly less work ($) is needed to sustain your existence. How small will it be? I haven't arrived at a magic number yet, though I estimate it will be between 350-550 square feet on roughly a 300 square foot footprint. The goal will be that despite the small size it will feel comfortable due to excellent design and a lack of clutter.

Each house will have power generation on site (solar), rainwater catchment and storage, graywater systems (to reuse basically "clean" sink, shower, washing machine water for agriculture), composting and small livestock. The graywater, composting and small livestock will enable a permaculture-based largely edible landscape with minimal work and negligable outside inputs.

This is where the dream begins!