Things you need to know about off-grid tiny house
If you sincerely believe that simple living means sophisticated living, then an off-grid tiny house could be ideal for you.
Imagine living in an eco-friendly house, amid nature, with no clutter and boundless freedom. As more and more Americans are embracing the lifestyle of living in a self-reliant and sustainable way, living in an off-grid tiny house is gaining popularity. Generally, a residential structure with an area under 400 square feet is considered a tiny house. This article aims to give you some information about the same.
Building off-grid tiny House
The tiny house movement started in the USA around 2018 and people started favoring the concept as tiny houses are affordable, takes less time to build, and can be moved if required. At the core, the idea behind building tiny houses is to reduce environmental footprint. This also aims to turn wastes into resources for further uses.
Tiny houses are great for a minimalist lifestyle. Cured lumbers are great for their construction. You can also use woods with steel or aluminum frames to give it strength.
- Solar Panels: They are the most popular way of harnessing renewable energy. Considering that the tiny house will be mostly stationary, you must orient your house so that it receives the maximum sunlight throughout the year. The system runs with photovoltaic cells and stores current in the inverter and batteries. Installing 6 solar panels totaling 1.86 kilowatts can provide a lot of power. Although it involves high initial investment, it can supply abundant energy with little maintenance cost.
- Wind Turbines: These are a great source of energy if the locality has a high wind speed all around the year. A 900-watt wind turbine is sufficient for a tiny house. As there are several moving parts, wind turbines need more maintenance than solar panels.
- Micro-hydro electricity: It runs on the energy available from running water such as a stream or a waterfall. As water flows down from a higher elevation, it turns the turbine and produces electricity.
- Bio Gas Digester: It is a big bladder of water and biomaterial like food scraps, garden waste, or anything that will break down by sun rays. The bacteria munch it and turn into methane gas. It can be used for cooking and also gives liquid fertilizer, as a byproduct, that can be used in the garden. This is more efficient in the summer.
Harvesting water is the most important once you get the tiny house ready. There are several options. You can dig out a well, or can store rainwater in a catchment container. A 10,000-liter tank is enough for a stationary home. This can be used for showering and washing laundry. It is better to filter it for drinking purposes. The grey-water comes handy if you have a garden.
Sewage and waste handling
Creating a composting toilet makes the off-grid tiny house more effective. As the output contains pathogens, it can be used as a fertilizer in your vegetable garden. In case you are building the tiny house on a trailer, you can get a travel-ready composting toilet for that.
Restrictions for off-grid tiny house
If you talk about legality, tiny houses lie in the grey area between traditional buildings and travel trailers. There is no uniform and specific law. Some states are friendly to tiny houses, and others are not. The biggest problem one faces is that you may acquire a zoning permit for building a tiny house. But you may not be allowed to live there fulltime. Because of this, many people prefer moveable tiny houses.
Moreover, getting a tiny house on a trailer is a way to avoid certain building code regulations. But they are not actually without limit. There are size restrictions. In most of the US states, you are allowed to pull your tiny house, without the need for a special permit, if that is of 13.5 feet height, 8.5 feet width, and 40 feet length. The maximum length allowed is 65 feet including the vehicle. One should always check the local restrictions for following this route.
Other criteria to fit the codes
Other than eating, living, sleeping, and washing facilities, a tiny house must have a separate bathroom. You can create a loft with a stair or ladder. The ceiling height of the living space must be 6 feet and 8 inches minimum. The bathroom and kitchen can be lowered down up to 6 feet and 4 inches. There is no fixed number for windows, but it must conform to the standard for emergency-exists.
The off-grid tiny house craze is steadily increasing among the eco-friendly folks. Unfortunately, most of the tiny homes do not qualify for a mortgage and loan. Tiny houses are different from traditional houses. As such, problems exist for appraising the property. Moreover, their square footage is much below the requirement for getting a mortgage.
The ability to move is an attractive feature for tiny homes. But, mortgages are not supposed to move, this makes mortgage difficult. The banks and financial institutions treat this as a low-resale, niche property. Even, if you build a tiny house on a foundation, the banks are mostly reluctant to finance because of the low processing fee they will receive.
However, these do not shut off all loan options. You can apply for an RV loan for a tiny home that is ready for the road. Considering personal loans and peer-to-peer lending inside the community could be the other finance options.
How much does an off-grid tiny house cost?
It depends on several factors. Whether it is a DIY project or you are buying it, its location, material used, how you want to heat, if it is simple or luxurious, and your budget for off-grid energy sources and like that. Generally, a nice comfortable tiny house can cost around $26,000.
The most important takeaway of living in an off-grid tiny house is to reduce your ecological footprint. But it should not be taken as a competition but a way to live a simple life with things that truly matter.