Monday, June 25, 2007


I have noticed that several people have commented about the high cost of the micro homes, and I would like to comment that as an experiment we have been gathering used, and surplus materials for free. We find that in our area there are literally container loads of practically new sheets of plywood, and many other types of construction materials going to the landfills on a daily basis. Also, there are many people, and contractors trying to get rid of used tempered glass sliding doors and windows that will go to the landfills. These used glass units can be separated with a razor knife if they are filled with moisture and used as single glazed windows or non sealed double glazed units simply by making new wooden frames for them. If you are poor with no home you can't be splitting hairs about single or double glazing, especially in a mild or warm climate. It all depends on your budget.
My calculations indicate that a 16' long X 8' high x 10' wide exterior shell can be built for practically zero dollars using these recycled materials. The worst-case scenario is that you might have to spend $300.00 for additional materials to build an empty shell. The recycled sliding glass doors will save a fortune in siding etc by turning them into solid walls. That leaves a great deal of money for someone to do a custom interior design for his or her own particular requirements.
Another thing that bothers me about the published costs of these tiny homes is that you can purchase a deluxe larger size aluminum camping trailer for two thirds ($37,000.00) or less of the published cost of many of these homes at $50,000.00 or higher. There is even one camping trailer advertised in Germany for only $6000.00 and two people can easily live in it. What makes a micro home cost, in this case, nearly ten times the cost of a metal camping trailer that is even larger? Personally, I think a little more research into the costs is needed by the consumers. These tiny homes can be mass produced on a low dollar basis, and a business can still make a fair profit doing it.
We also need more research into newer materials that have hit the market recently. There is a honeycomb material that is currently being used in the construction of truck cargo compartment bodies. It will give you an exterior and interior wall all in one unit. The only sacrifice is that the wiring would have to be exterior mounted on the walls and ceilings. There are several attractive products for that purpose on the market now. Low voltage LED lighting can also be used for a great savings in power.
Of course, the problem of land costs remains the greatest problem in our area. We have to get a handle on that. I believe that eventually the powers that be will have to make changes in how the available space in neighborhoods will be used to relieve the pressure in the housing market.

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