February 15, 2017

Community

John’s nomadic house truck

 

The older I get, the more I like seeing grey haired (geezers) living the life! This is no different, yes John is living his dream, he has built 12 tiny homes on wheels so he has the process down pretty well, he knows what he likes and what doesn’t work as well.

I like the looks of his house truck, it’s large enough to be spacious, it is high off the ground and 4 wheel drive, but it also has a compactness to it that makes it look easier to drive and park. I could live like that if I was to become a mobilista. What do you think? Do you like it?

https://youtu.be/wLqX7qbLqbUv



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Urban

Breathe easier: new tech monitors urban pollution

One of the many appeals about living off-grid is breathing in that fresh clean air.

It’s safe to say the air quality in any city isn’t exactly top notch! High levels of pollution have been linked to serious health conditions such as asthma and emphysema. A report in the Guardian has found that in heavily polluted cities exercising can do more harm than good because of the high levels of particulate matter in the air. But for many people going off-grid and leaving city life behind tomorrow isn’t exactly feasible.

So until then, monitoring the air quality in your home and as you’re out and about in your everyday life is a good way to go. Not only will it make you more aware of the air you breathe, it will also help you take preventative measures to improve it. Whether this be through taking a different route on your way back from work, opening the windows or switching on the ventilation when you’re cooking.

If you have tried any of the technologies discussed below, please comment and give us your feedback – we’d love to know how you’re getting on with them!

Only want to monitor your air quality at home?

Sources of particulate matter include burning wood and oil, smoking tobacco products, pesticides and even some household cleaners. The indoor air quality monitor Speck detects fine particulate matter in the air and informs you about the changes you can make to improve your air quality. The 4 inch by 3 inch model comes with a touch screen and only needs to be plugged in for you to start receiving feedback straight away. The toggle feature allows you to look back over the past 12 hours of data to see how your actions, like cooking or cleaning with certain products, influences your personal air quality. Not only this, but the Speck has enough memory to collect up to two years’ worth of data without any need to connect online.

Free Speck software or the mobile app lets you upload data to your computer, tablet or smartphone to monitor the data collected. The SpeckSensor app also allows you to compare your personal air quality to the government’s air quality index stations. If you want to check out the outdoor air quality in your area, you will need to be within 40 km of a regulated particulate matter station. Currently, this service is only available for customers in the US and parts of Canada and Mexico.

This Speck model currently can’t be used outdoors, however the development of an outdoor friendly model is currently in progress. Although, this is a pricey option at $200 per unit, the Speck is easy to use with a range of features.

If you want something for on the go – try these!

Atmotube is a portable air pollution monitor which detects volatile organic compounds and …

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Meg with husband in tiny house
People

Getting hooked on tiny houses

American architect and designer Meg Stevens was “immediately hooked” on tiny houses when she discovered them five years ago. She set a plan in motion to design and build her own tiny house – which was realized last year when she moved into The Lucky Linden, a tiny house RV measuring about 170 square feet.

Meg grew up in Michigan in a neighborhood under construction. Spending her spare time helping her dad with building projects, her interest in architecture, design and building was piqued at an early age. When she became interested in tiny houses in 2013, she purchased a ticket to a workshop at Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, an organisation focused on designing tiny house RVs, in order to learn more about the process. She ended up being hired as an architect, and her Lucky Linden RV design is one she created for the company – with a few changes made to suit her (and her husband Dan’s) personal living style.

“We decided to build a tiny house about five years ago, and immediately started planning (and saving up money),” Meg said. “We didn’t want to go into debt for the house, so I would work on the build as we had the funds, and put it into storage while saving up for the next phase. It took three years to build this way, and it was in storage for stretches of time from six months to over a year.”

“While we were building, we gradually downsized until we were living in a 330 sq ft studio apartment,” she said. “The apartment was just a bit over double the size of the tiny house, so when we finally finished the build and moved in to the tiny house it wasn’t much of an adjustment at all. We love it!”

Tiny houses can be anything smaller than the normal for family size, according to Meg. A four-person family living in a 600 sq ft house is tiny, because there is only 250 sq ft per person. But conventionally – at least in terms of the growing Tiny House Movement across the US – a tiny house is between 100 and 400 sq ft. And the majority of them are built for off-grid living.

Meg, a prominent member of the Tiny House Movement – a community of like-minded individuals across the US advocating tiny houses as energy efficient living spaces – says the American tiny house community has experienced “rapid, almost exponential growth” in the last four years, owing to environmental concerns, financial issues as the cost of living rises, and the desire for more time and freedom.

“Designing especially is more difficult in a small space, but it’s rewarding. Efficiency is everything, and really considering ‘needs’ vs ‘wants’ vs ‘nice-to-haves,’” Meg said.

“Tiny houses are more energy efficient just because of their size, but also I think the general …

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