Simple Solar Homesteading

                          Off-Grid Cabin and Tiny House Designs and Supplies Not-For-Profit Social Service Organization


Jonathan Marcoux Squared Eco House

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 10:05 AM

What is special about this tiny house is its ability to harvest water, food, and power in a mere 185 sq. ft. with a budget of around 10,000$.

This is a square tiny house 12’3”x12’3” featuring a water harvesting system, solar and woodstove water heater, two 20 square feet solar panels and an integrated aquaponics system for plant and fish harvesting.


Materials and Construction

Construction consists of regular building material with 2”x4” structure and conventional or alternative insulation. It could, however, also be built using wood-stacking or hay-ball method which would increase the footprint to about 196-200 sq. ft. because of the thicker walls. An aluminium rooftop provides a surface for rainwater harvesting, solar panels array, and a sun water heater. These installations are found on one side of the roof while the other side has a hinged rooftop over the sleeping loft and sliding solarium over the aquaponics grow bed. In nice weather these can be opened to provide a rooftop deck area. The grey water is drained into a dissipation tank buried 8 ft. underground to prevent freezing in winter.



Heating and Cooling

This house can be used completely off the grid in cold climates where firewood is available for main heating and cooking, although a propane system can easily be integrated if so desired. The following design shows installation with propane integration. During summer, cooling and ventilation is achieved through passive heat transfer methods using the two top large windows and the smaller windows below. Water heating in summer is done primarily by the roof solar water heater and in winter by the wood stove water heater. If propane is available an instant hot water heater can also be used.



As seen sun energy is used for the water heating but also for the electrical system.

The electrical system consisting of a maximum of two 20 sq ft. solar panels provide ample recharging capacity for the deep-cycle marine batteries. These batteries in turn provide power to an inverter for AC appliances (computer, TV, etc…) and DC power to the pump for the aquaponics system. Aquaponics use water from a fish tank to water a grow bed, in this case water needs to be pumped to the grow bed on the roof from the fish tank under the sofa. Again propane could also be used as an energy source if so desired. A wind turbine could also easily be linked to the electrical system. The other main source of energy is wood. A wood stove provides heating, cooking and hot water during the cold winter months.



The interior features an elevated split-level, which maximizes space. The lower level includes the bathroom, with a 3x3 feet shower/tub and a composting toilet. The kitchen is located on the opposite wall from the bathroom. The kitchen has an ample 21inch by 6 feet total working area with a sink, mini fridge, and an optional propane burner/stove. Between the bathroom and the kitchen is the dinning table. The sitting area for one side of the table is the edge of the split-level, this design proves to be good for space saving. The water tanks, batteries, fish tank and general storage area can be found under the split-level. Having all this under the floor is another great space saving feature. On top of the split-level is found the studying desk, on the same side as the kitchen, the wood stove on the back wall and the living area/sofa on the adjacent wall (same as bathroom). The sleeping loft is located over the bathroom and features an opening roof, which makes for an enjoyable living area in nice weather.


Categories: 2014 Contest Submissions

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Reply Carl Tourtellotte
10:56 PM on June 27, 2014 
I have a 12x12 house to but picked the one on wheels for the contest I really like your house I have a green house at the ground floor but putting up top makes your house keep the 12x12 that most places do not require a permit
Reply jonnie
1:13 PM on June 25, 2014 
Would work except e pto for the climbing into the loft. Physically unable to do such things.