Tiny Houses

Ultra-simple tiny house built for under $1,500

Ultra-simple tiny house built ...
As you'd probably guess, the $1,500 cost doesn't include the purchase of any land and Greenfield has his tiny house installed in someone else's garden in Orlando
As you'd probably guess, the $1,500 cost doesn't include the purchase of any land and Greenfield has his tiny house installed in someone else's garden in Orlando
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Greenfield's outdoor kitchen includes a solar oven
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Greenfield's outdoor kitchen includes a solar oven
Greenfield's shower is basically a bowl that's fed by rainwater and some burlap for privacy 
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Greenfield's shower is basically a bowl that's fed by rainwater and some burlap for privacy 
Greenfield's shower is basically a bowl that's fed by rainwater and some burlap for privacy 
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Greenfield's shower is basically a bowl that's fed by rainwater and some burlap for privacy 
Greenfield's kitchen is outside
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Greenfield's kitchen is outside
Greenfield's toilet is also outside 
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Greenfield's toilet is also outside 
Greenfield's kitchen is built from leftover materials from the tiny house build
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Greenfield's kitchen is built from leftover materials from the tiny house build
Greenfield's kitchen includes a water filtration system that filters rainwater
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Greenfield's kitchen includes a water filtration system that filters rainwater
Greenfield has a biogas stove system that converts food waste he gets from a nearby restaurant into methane to cook with
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Greenfield has a biogas stove system that converts food waste he gets from a nearby restaurant into methane to cook with
Greenfield's "toilet roll" is a mint plant with, he assures us, very soft leaves
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Greenfield's "toilet roll" is a mint plant with, he assures us, very soft leaves
Greenfield's sink water is reused for irrigation
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Greenfield's sink water is reused for irrigation
Greenfield also does a lot of composting 
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Greenfield also does a lot of composting 
Greenfield's kitchen includes a water filtration system that filters rainwater
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Greenfield's kitchen includes a water filtration system that filters rainwater
Greenfield's toilet is a composting system with two toilets, one for each type of waste
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Greenfield's toilet is a composting system with two toilets, one for each type of waste
Greenfield showing how he uses his composting toilet
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Greenfield showing how he uses his composting toilet
Greenfield's tiny house is clad in reclaimed materials
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Greenfield's tiny house is clad in reclaimed materials
Greenfield's toilet waste is composted 
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Greenfield's toilet waste is composted 
The tiny house measures just 100 sq ft (9.2 sq m)
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The tiny house measures just 100 sq ft (9.2 sq m)
The tiny house includes a small desk made from wood scraps
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The tiny house includes a small desk made from wood scraps
The tiny house floor is decked out in wood salvaged from a flooded home
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The tiny house floor is decked out in wood salvaged from a flooded home
The tiny house is designed to look like a shed
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The tiny house is designed to look like a shed
As you'd probably guess, the $1,500 cost doesn't include the purchase of any land and Greenfield has his tiny house installed in someone else's garden in Orlando
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As you'd probably guess, the $1,500 cost doesn't include the purchase of any land and Greenfield has his tiny house installed in someone else's garden in Orlando
Greenfield's kitchen is built from leftover materials from the tiny house build
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Greenfield's kitchen is built from leftover materials from the tiny house build
A lot of the tiny house interior is given over to food storage space
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A lot of the tiny house interior is given over to food storage space
The tiny house gets power from a mains hookup
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The tiny house gets power from a mains hookup
The tiny house is located in Orlando, Florida
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The tiny house is located in Orlando, Florida
Greenfield plans to live in the tiny house for about two years
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Greenfield plans to live in the tiny house for about two years
The tiny house includes a small desk made from wood scraps
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The tiny house includes a small desk made from wood scraps
Greenfield's bed is made from wood scraps
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Greenfield's bed is made from wood scraps
Impressively, Greenfield's tiny house build only produced 30 lb (13 kg) of waste
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Impressively, Greenfield's tiny house build only produced 30 lb (13 kg) of waste

Adventurer, environmental activist and "Dude Making a Difference" Rob Greenfield is also involved in the tiny house movement but feels that the rise in luxury models is missing the point. In a bid to prove that small living can be done on a modest budget, he recently built a tiny house for under US$1,500 in Florida using mostly recycled materials.

"I often find tiny houses to be very inaccessible," explains Greenfield on his blog. "At the festival I went to in Oregon there were plenty of houses in the $40,000-$80,000 range and even some as costly as $150,000. Don't get me wrong, they were amazing tiny houses, but I know many people just find that idea to be totally absurd. There's no way I could afford a tiny house that expensive, even if I wanted one, which I don't. I love simple living, and living far more simply than most tiny house dwellers even."

His tiny house measures just 100 sq ft (9.2 sq m) and was built using different recycled materials, such as pieces of fencing and plywood. The build was carried out with a lot of help from friends and only produced 30 lb (13 kg) of waste. There's currently no insulation and Greenfield considered adding some or a wood-burning stove to keep the chill at bay, but says he's been fine so far.

The tiny house measures just 100 sq ft (9.2 sq m)
The tiny house measures just 100 sq ft (9.2 sq m)

A good chunk of the snug interior is taken up by storage for Greenfield's homegrown foods. A small desk is made from wood scraps and the floor is decked out in wood that was being thrown out from a house that flooded. The bed is made from more scrap wood.

Greenfield originally planned to live totally off-the-grid but it didn't make sense to install solar power with the tiny amount of electricity he uses (the bill is roughly $100 per year), so he makes use of a hookup to power a deep chest freezer.

The kitchen is located outside in a little shelter made from leftover materials from the tiny house build. It has a small solar-powered light, propane camp stove, a solar oven, and a biogas stove. A fire pit is also nearby. The sink is fed by a rainwater collection system and the water is then reused for irrigation.

Greenfield's kitchen is built from leftover materials from the tiny house build
Greenfield's kitchen is built from leftover materials from the tiny house build

The toilet is also outside and is a composting system with two separate toilet seats, one for each type of waste. The resulting waste is then either diluted with water and poured onto plants, or composted for a year and used to grow more plants. The "toilet paper" is a mint leaf grown on the property, which Greenfield says is very soft. His shower is basically a bowl fed by rainwater, with burlap surrounding it for privacy.

As you'd probably guess, the $1,500 cost doesn't include the purchase of any land and Greenfield has his tiny house installed in someone else's garden in Orlando. Instead of paying rent, he helps out around the house and does garden work. Once he leaves in about two years, the owner will get to keep the tiny house.

Greenfield's toilet is also outside 
Greenfield's toilet is also outside 

Greenfield has a lot going on. He gives talks on sustainable living, and has also headed a campaign that strives to end food waste in the USA. Check out the video below to learn more on his tiny house and lifestyle.

Source: Rob Greenfield

Simple and Sustainable Living in My 100 Square Foot Tiny House

18 comments
MerlinGuy
You too can live like a rail yard hobo in the comfort of a Hi Tech city.
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
Inspiring work Rob, great energy and aspiration! You have addressed all aspects of Sustainability-Kudos on you!
Fairly Reasoner
You built a nice shed. Next.
chidrbmt
It works in a semi-tropical location. They could provide shelter at a low cost for homeless there,though.
ryan40
I'm not sure you can call it sustainable if it requires mooching off your friends. This is not a real solution. I want to see him cook dinner or take a shower when the wind is blowing 40mph and it's 25 F outside.
toyhouse
That's $1500 too much. I appreciate creativity and looking to lesson the impact on resources, but I don't understand the fascination with something like this. It's a step backwards. It wins few over on curb appeal. It looks like it belongs in a homeless camp out in california. The guy himself says high-end tiny houses miss the point. Who's point? He wants houses to look like this and I'm sure he has his fans,... but to each, his or her own. For me, it makes me like the tiny house movement even less.
paul314
This is cool, but. Only really workable when you have free labor and mostly free materials and apparently aren't subject to any of the codes involving the construction of houses, trailers or toilets.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I guess it's for between hurricanes but so is a lot of the other housing. I like the rainwater. I tried it in the Mojave Desert but it was bad for drinking, even after distillation, because of the roof tar. His house is really a lot bigger because he is mostly living outside. By the way, when I was in Florida, I saw something i didn't see anywhere else--screened in patios! If he really lives in this, he must really not be bothered by bugs! Tiny houses are basically mobile homes and have the same siting problems. Tiny house zoning might be useful but it would have the same problem as mobile home zoning--high price, undesirable features.
Grunchy
HD Thoreau pulled the exact same stunt on his buddy Ralph W Emerson in the 1840s, in Massachusetts. I actually bought the video game "Walden" for PS4, it begins with a very similar yet much abbreviated hut. You don't actually need to live like this to find out what it's like, you can try the video game or else read all his whacky adventures on internet sites such as Project Gutenberg for $0!
Michael son of Lester
I'm looking forward to the second installment where the author talks about how well this tiny home stood up to a hurricane.