Is this tiny home the future of housing?



In the town of Brunwsick, Georgia, builder Stuart Muir Wilson constructed a tiny home with all the trimmings. Complete with solar panels and a composting toilet – and made from recycled wood. Wilson thinks this could be the future and hopes to build a business off the back of it.

The house, which is 2.3m by 5.8m, is built on wheels and can be towed anywhere. The solar panels fitted for power and water tanks are able to insulate the home from the cold, and Wilson’s clever arrangement of windows means that the temperature inside never rises above 25C – even in the hottest summer months.

After the success of this house, which he sold to be placed on a bush block, Wilson aims to build another four in the next year. He said “there’s a lot of people who live in the bush off the (energy) grid, you don’t have to be doing it tough to live off the grid.” Wilson added:

“We’re teaching people how to use the natural elements to cool or heat the place and in their own ecological footprint.” 

The project was created in conjunction with Jesuit Social Services and built with support from Hammertime, an initiative creating pathways into construction for women. Jesuit is receiving expressions of interest from people wanting to buy the homes.

The tiny house movement is on the rise in the USA as the demand for living small is getting bigger. According to a recent survey done by the National Association of Home Builders, more than 50 percent of Americans would now consider living in a home less than 600 square feet, and that number is even higher for millennials – 63 percent of whom would consider living in a tiny house.


Want to know more about this way of life? Have a read of The Tiny House Family blog. You can also read about some of the best companies responsible for constructing tiny houses here




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3D printed House in 24 hours

A house which was 3D printed in just 24 hours went up last month, in the town of Stupino, Western Russia.

With 3D printers producing more and more novel items –  in some cases even a rudimentary human organs – it was only a matter of time before a house would be printed successfully. Previously, parts of houses have been 3D printed and assembled but the Stupino house was printed entirely on-site.

A huge printer and a mortar mix

3D printing company Apis Cor used a 3D printer the size of a crane and had a mortar mix specially developed. They covered the whole operation with a heated tent.

The house, which is 38 Metres squared, is circular – whilst the roof is totally flat. Three right-angled protrusions allow for additional space and division of the inside area.

And what of its protection against the harsh Russian winters? The roof is made of polymer membranes and insulated with solid plates; its designed to withstand heavy snowfall and keep its inhabitants warm and cosy.

Apis Cor said that the total building cost came to $10,134, or approximately $275 per square meter – about $25 per square foot. A recent estimate put the average cost of building a 2,000 square feet home in the US at about $150 per square foot.


So are these the homes of the future?

They’re affordable and fast to build: is it only a matter of time before we’re all living in 3D printed concrete circles? Probably not—or, at least not until whole apartment buildings can be 3D printed.

The challenges the Stupino house would face being plopped in the middle if a city would be numerous. Whilst cities like Dubai are looking to build more 3D houses, most cities would accommodate 3D homes in the form of environmentally-friendly, data-integrated ‘smart buildings’.

Apis Cor claims that this residential building can last up to 175 years. And that in the future, both construction and insulation can be completed in tandem using dual extrusion.


You can read more about the world of 3D printing here 

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Understand Your Growing Zone

Growing your own food, and enough of it to last a while, is one of the pillars of living off the grid. Knowing about your Growing Zone is the key, allowing gardening off-grid to morp from a hobby to something vital to survival. And while there are other ways to put food on the table, gardening provides a balanced diet for the off-grid family as well as exercise and community.

A huge part of living off-grid involves understanding the area in which you are situated. Knowing your surroundings, including the success of past harvests, is essential to creating a garden that will sustain your lifestyle. Here are some tips for understanding your growing zone for a bountiful garden.


Know Your Spot on The Map

Go to map

To understand your climate and growing zone, you need to know where your land falls on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This useful tool assigns a number to each growing zone within the country. This number corresponds to how well different plants will grow in your area. For example, North Florida is in zone 8, which is great for growing apples. But you’ll have a tough time trying to grow grapes or cherries. Keep in mind that each growing region includes two subcategories as well. It’s possible that a plant that thrives in your growing zone won’t survive because of individual circumstances. However, staying with those plants rated for your growing zone number should help bring forth a bountiful harvest.


Know Your Soil

Another thing to consider when growing a substantial garden is the soil. You may have a wide range of plants in your growing zone, but not everything will do well in the ground on your property. Specific plants prefer a certain kind of soil that your land may not provide. You can add organic material to help fix soil conditions, but that doesn’t guarantee success.


Know Your Season

Northern homesteads will see cooler spring and fall seasons while southern ones will see plenty of hot weather. Different produce grows better in different seasons. It’s best to start out with cool-season vegetables like lettuce, peas, and broccoli well before hot weather arrives. If you’re living in the south, you may have no choice but to start with a warm weather crop like melons, zucchini, and cucumbers. Knowing your area and the average temperature for each season is vital to successfully sow seeds at the right time.


Know Past Weather Patterns

Taking note of past weather conditions within a season will help you understand and work your land better. Prolonged winter temperatures or a freak spring snowstorm can significantly decrease the amount of food that you can produce. Gardeners in Colorado know to wait until after Mother’s Day to plant. Yet the picture above was taken in late May, two weeks after the last forecast frost. …

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Extinction Rebellion to take part in the UK’s Timber Festival

Today it was announced that Extinction Rebellion (XR) will be part of the line up at Timber Festival in the north of England. XR will appear alongside other environmental pressure groups and political movements, including Action For Conservation.

Timber Festival, now in its second year running, is a weekend event hosting a range of workshops, talks, debates and activities focused on climate change. Set in the National Forest, Timber is a unique event that encourages its audience to connect with nature and take another look at their relationship with the natural world.

Debates include Future Activists – a panel of young people involved in the fight against climate change, hosted by The Ecologist’s Elizabeth Wainwright. With climate emergency catapulted into the spotlight by Greta Thunberg, young people all over the world are rising up to take part in climate activism. Are we finally waking up to reality and listening to the voices of these young people?

Timber Festival will also encourage audiences to develop their relationship with trees and wildlife through a range of hands-on workshops, talks and performances. These include workshops from The University of Cumbria’s National School of Forestry on how to monitor the health of trees (Sat and Sun, 10.30 and 3.30pm) and how to track wildlife (Sat and Sun, 11.30am and 4.30pm). Members of the National Forest Company’s Forestry Team will lead tree identification masterclasses (Fri 4.30pm, Sat and Sun 1.30pm), whilst the Met Office’s woodland weather station teaches visitors about the role trees play in our climate.

Wildlife-focussed sessions include a lively panel discussion with the International Union for Conservation of Nature on the sometimes-controversial topic of rewilding, which involves re-introducing native species back into their natural habitats (Sun, 12pm). Festivalgoers can also visit the biggest moth trap in the world to help Leicestershire Moth Recorder Adrian Russell to identify moth species (The Moth Hotel, all day every day), and pay a visit to one of the Bee Farmer’s 100 National Forest bee colonies (Fri 5.30pm, Sat and Sun 11.30am and 4.30pm).

Director of Wild Rumpus, co-founding organisation of Timber, described the festival as a means of inspiration, stating that she hoped ‘audiences will leave Timber feeling inspired that they can do their bit to tackle climate change.’

Timber Festival is a collaboration between the National Forest Company and award-winning arts organisation Wild Rumpus, who specialise in showcasing arts and culture in the natural environment.



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