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Tiny Houses

Off-grid container-based home is tiny in size and cost

Pin-Up Houses, the Czech firm behind the rather colorful DIY US$10,000 tiny house, recently completed a new model that's based on a shipping container and cost $21,000 to build. Named Gaia, it offers full off-the-grid functionality with solar panels, a wind turbine, and rainwater collection system.

Gaia is based on a standard used shipping container measuring 6 x 2.4 m (20 x 8 ft) that has been modified. An additional roof shade made up of galvanized metal, plus some spray foam insulation, have been added to mitigate the poor thermal performance of shipping containers. There's also a drop-down deck area that's operated with a hand winch and can be used to boost outdoor living space or raised to close off the home.

Gaia is accessed by a glass sliding door that, along with the existing container doors, really opens it up to the outside. Its interior is finished in spruce plywood and available floorspace is largely taken up by one single area that doubles as living room and bedroom, with a sofa bed and lots of storage space made up of small cupboards and nooks. A wood-burning stove provides heat.

A small kitchenette with a sink, fridge, and propane-powered two-burner stove, sits next to the living area, plus the home has a bathroom with a sink, shower, and toilet.

Gaia's interior decor features a utilitarian finish of spruce plywood, while its simple layout offers lots of storage space
Jakub Zdechovan

There's quite a lot of off-grid gear packed into this one. Power comes from a rooftop solar panel array comprising three 165-W panels, as well as a 400-W wind turbine. Both are hooked up to batteries and the battery level, current power consumption, charging rate, etc can be monitored remotely by using a mobile app. Additionally, a rainwater storage tank contains filters and a water pump, and will hold up to 1,000 L (264 gal) of water.

Pin-Up Houses says the home was built as an experiment and isn't officially up for sale, however the firm's Joshua Woodsman told us that he would be happy to sell it or make another if asked. The plans are also up for sale on the company's website for $190.

Source: Pin-Up Houses

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8 comments
paul314
Looks kinda horrific to live in by itself, but as a module it could be really cool.
FB36
IMHO shipping container architecture is the solution for all/global cheap housing problems but it needs to be deployed at massive/industrial scale!
(Imagine skyscraper metal skeleton buildings which just provide slots of standard shipping container housing units which are produced at large scale, like cars!)
Michael son of Lester
Nice. One of these would make a great bunkie for extra guests when space is short or to install on a hunk of land as a retreat from the daily grind. 👍
guzmanchinky
Those tiny homes are so cool but you read articles all the time about how they are illegal everywhere.
Wombat56
If you were installing it as a permanently sited "granny flat" or similar (City Council regs permitting) you could ditch all the off-road gear like solar cells, wind turbine, battery etc which would bring the cost down by an appreciable amount.
Nobody
I don't understand the fascination with these poorly designed tiny homes??? My 19 foot travel trailer was actually livable and made far better use of the limited space plus I could take it anywhere. Travel trailers are already set up to run on 12 volt battery power or 110 volt AC power along with a real kitchen and automatically select-able powered refrigerator. Water, grey water and black water plumbing are included. With a couple deep cycle batteries and a 3500 watt generator we lived off grid for weeks at a time on vacation. Even the furnace would run off of 12 volts and a couple 30 pound tanks of propane. The generator was used only to recharge the batteries and to run the air conditioner and microwave. Total cost is around $12,000. In moderate temperatures we only used about 5 gallons of gas every two weeks to keep the batteries charged. We also had a large ceiling exhaust fan that would usually keep the trailer comfortable on warm days if the trailer was in the shade. The only thing we lacked was solar panels and windmill which would have been far more expensive than the small $350 generator. But the solar panels and windmill would also be inadequate to run the air and microwave. We also learned how to take a very good shower on 1-1/2 gallons of water. Living off the grid isn't very hard but it requires a little planning. Most of the tiny house designers seem to be doing a poor job of reinventing something that already exists at a far cheaper price. It doesn't seem like most of them have actually ever lived off of the grid. Instead of looking for more technology to get off the grid, they should be looking back when country folk really did live without the grid.
nick101
"A wood-burning stove provides heat." Hey, isn't wood a form of carbon, maaaaan? :D
ljaques
Yeah, I could live in ten or twelve of these modules. One for me, one kitchen, one computer room, one rec room, one wood shop, one metal shop, one Maker shop, one unfinished solar control room, etc. ALL would need sound deadening, because 6 planes of reflected audio would be hell. Like living in a bathroom or (dry) septic tank. ;) OTOH, I'm fine in my 134 m2 ranch home.