Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Micro Home Progress Report July 15th 2008 by Walt Barrett

Well we found enough time between customers today to get 99% of the sheathing on the micro home. The next step is to lay out the roof rafters. I am dreading the job. Where are my carpenter friends when I need them?
I'm telling you one thing, this is the last building I will ever do stick built!
We could have dome it all in three days on an assembly line easily. It's so hard to keep everything square and get the proper fits. At least for me anyway. At 75 I'm not exactly Mr. Super Carpenter. I never did it for a living. My gig is designing and selling things. I have been a production line guy all my life, Working with metal, and it's the only way to go! Anyway, I am posting the photos for better or for worse.
We welcome your comments.

Micro Home Report

Yesterday we had time to install about a third of the exterior sheathing. We expect to finish today. I have pre-cut most of it already.
I will try to post the latest photos this afternoon.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

About building the off grid micro home by Walt Barrett

I have included some photos of our 1 kw wind turbine kit that can be used to provide additional power to our micro homes.
Please note that the Micro Home Blogs are a series, and in order to properly enjoy the posts you should scroll down to the first installment with the photos of the empty lot overlooking the lake.
Yesterday we erected the four wall frames and today we will start the sheathing install . I doubt we will finish today as we need some time off. We have been running the business and pounding nails between customer calls.
This unit will be totally off grid with solar as the energy source.
I would also like to add that I am somewhat disappointed and surprised with the low traffic numbers on this blog. I am really concerned that with the major energy problems, low cost housing shortages we are facing, and the fact that things are only going to get worse. We expected more interest. Please tell your friends about our blog!
Thanks and Happy Solaring!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Erecting The Micro Home Walls by Walt Barrett

This morning we finally found the time to erect the four walls that we had built previously. It took us exactly an hour, but then we have never done it before. It took the most time to get every thing square and level. Because we built up against and also on some uneven terrain you may get the illusion that things are crooked or twisted. Believe me, they are not. You might also notice that before we assembled the wall that all of the studs were pre-drilled for wiring and all in the same place. We marked them and drilled them right off the chop saw. We think this will save us time during the wiring stages.
I have posted four photos. If anyone thinks we need any more structural bracing anywhere on the frames please to not hesitate to drop us a line. wbarrett1@aol.com The roof will be peaked with a sleeping loft. We welcome your suggestions.



Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Micro Home Construction Update by Walt Barrett

Well yesterday it finally stopped raining and I built the third and probably the most complicated wall of the micro home. It will have two Anderson windows installed in it and I had to frame in the windows properly so as not to compromise the strength of the wall.
Today I will build the final wall with the front door and window openings in it. I will try to get some photos posted this afternoon. I'm looking forward to the next step when we erect the four walls and start on the floor of the loft space.
We have located some space in an abandoned textile mill nearby so that if we do decide to go into production with this tiny home and some larger models we will be able to jump right into production. It certainly will be a lot easier than stick building! These tiny homes will employ a solar electric system, passive solar heating, and solar hot water heating and shower. Toilets will be of the composting type unless otherwise specified. Various options and sizes will be offered. The model we are currently building is for a maximum of two people.

Personally, I see these tiny micro homes as a housing solution for people whom would normally never get a shot at owning their own home, or who may be homeless currently. I like the idea that they provide most of their own green energy. I have noticed that several cities on the west coast have changed their zoning to allow these micro homes to be built in the back yards of existing homes in order to help alleviate the existing low income housing shortages. Several people have commented to me that they could not possibly live in a home that small, and my response has been "That's because you are currently not living in a cardboard box, or sleeping in a shelter, or under a bridge!" That could make a difference in your thinking! We are trying to make them attractive looking, because many we have seen are just plain ugly boxes.
Please stay tuned and please tell your friends about our project. We will be seeking dealers as soon as we get a handle on all of the costs. We expect to have the lowest prices in the country. With us, it's not about the money! We need to provide jobs and housing in our area.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Solar Micro Home project by Walt Barrett

This is an ongoing off the grid solar micro home construction project. See it below.
There is a 75 year old micro home in the background (lower photos) on the left that was built by my grandfather. They just called them cabins then. it is where he retired on very little money. He lived there until he died in 1948. I used to spend a lot of time there in the thirties and forties. It had oil lamps and outdoor plumbing. We used to play cards and checkers by the lamp light. Those were better times! We plan to renovate it completely. It is 12' x 20' and we plan to put it to good use in the near future. It needs a total rehab now! It's full of antiques.



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The Micro Home As An Alternate Lifestyle by Walt Barrett

It is raining today so we will not be working on our demonstration model of an off grid micro home. I do not like wasting time so I have decided to make a few comments and express my views of the current mess we are in.
This morning when I turned on the news I heard that our local electric utility that our government allowed a foreign company to purchase has requested a twenty-one percent rate increase. At age seventy-five I have long since lost my idealistic beliefs in the honesty of our politicians on every level. We have been sold out! Many people that I speak with in my daily process of doing business feel betrayed and trapped by a system that has definitely spun out of control. They feel powerless to do anything to correct the problem because the politicians in both political parties appear to be corrupt, bought and paid for, or just plain stupid. It is obvious that any system allowing campaign donations is just a legal form of bribery that allows the big money guys to hold our congress and us all captive. We should make them stop!
Having said all that, I believe that one of the best ways that we can beat this situation where we are all slaves to the large energy companies is to keep finding ways to use as little fuel and electricity as possible. You don’t need to have a lot of money to accomplish this. As a matter of fact you can save money by fighting back. Every time a light bulb blows out simply replace it with an energy saving bulb that uses a fraction of the watts (power), and if you shop carefully you can find them at the large box stores on bargain specials. Of course, you can save the most money by simply turning all unnecessary lights and appliances off. Many appliances are now power on all the time type which is very wasteful. There are power strips available that you can plug several items into and then shut them all off at once. I am now always shutting off or putting my computer on sleep mode when not using it. Mostly I shut it off.
One of the biggest wastes of fuel I have ever seen is that many of the people I know seem to look for reasons to hop in the car and run to the store etc. with no planning, rhyme, or reason. It is a known fact that the fuel business is a supply and demand business and even a ten percent drop in fuel usage would affect the prices.
I have oil hot water heat in my home and I found that my service man had the water temperature cranked up to 200 degrees F. Wintertime water temp is usually 180 degrees F. I have also turned the temp down to 125 degrees for the summer because the only reason the boiler is running for is to make hot water. It is saving a great deal of oil but running the boiler in the summer is very wasteful. We cannot have a solar hot water heater because we are on a heavily treed north slope. Our entire lot is shaded by our neighbor’s trees and he is not about to cut them down. I can’t say that I blame him and I would not even ask!
I’m seriously considering building a new all solar off the grid micro home elsewhere for myself. Our town is so poorly managed, or should I say mismanaged that we are being literally taxed out of existence. Any normal retiree can no longer afford to live in the town. If we ran our businesses the way they run this town we would be broke in a month!
Elderly people are leaving the town in droves to move into the elderly housing (brick prison cells) in the nearby cities.
All of the above is the reason that we have embarked on this off the grid micro home project. If we receive enough positive response, we will set up an assembly line to mass-produce them. It is definitely an alternate life style. Personally, I was raised in a micro sized home with no utilities for many years until we got power and indoor plumbing. Power and plumbing are no longer a problem. We have been involved in solar for over thirty-five years, and on a micro sized basis it’s relatively cheap. We have a person in Utah (link on our blog) that is spending only $200.00 a year to heat and power his micro home. Unless you are really quite well of you should seriously consider downsizing. My own particular daydream is to have a micro home in a rural low tax town in Maine for the summer and another one in a warm climate for the winter. We could actually move the solar electric modules back and forth if we wanted to go to the bother. Thanks to the Internet, we can run our business anywhere, as will many of you. With a micro home you can just kick back and live more easily on your pension. We know it’s not for everyone, but for many, there may not be any choice. It’s a good thing to think about anyway. It’s never too soon to plan for your future. If you don’t, who will?
Please take our survey in the previous Blog below, and also please comment back to us. We need your inputs

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Micro Home Project Work Day Six by Walt Barrett

Well yesterday and today so far we have managed to fabricate two of the side walls between the time spent in servicing our China Depot customers.

This stick built method is quite time consuming compared to what we plan to do on our proposed production line. Stick building gives us plenty of good ideas for the production line. We hope to be able to cut our time by a minimum of half. Hopefully we will be ready to put the roof on by Saturday. We are going with a sleeping loft on this tiny model. There will still be a place to sleep on the first floor too. We are trying to see just how far we can push the envelope on a sixty-four square foot first floor and about fifty square feet in the loft. This is our smallest model. Personally I would prefer 8' x 16' for two people.

I have included a photo of John and Dave holding up a wall that John and I built yesterday and this morning. We have now completed a second wall by noon.
If this size home seems impractical to you please consider the cost and also the fact that there a many people in our country including war veterans sleeping under bridges and in cardboard boxes. I don't know about you, but this sad fact bothers me a great deal!
Please tell your friends about our project and please stay tuned for more progress reports daily.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Off Grid Solar Micro Home Survey by Walt Barrett

Very low cost solar powered micro home survey

We think that the Micro Homes that are currently on the market are greatly over priced. We are fully prepared to start mass producing off the grid solar micro homes if we see enough interest in the market place. If you have an opinion or comment we are interested. We have a list of concerns to comment on below. Our prices will start below $10,000.00

We are a New England based corporation currently building a prototype model of a micro home. Our unit is designed to be totally off the power grid with the electricity and hot water to be supplied by solar energy with a tiny propane or wood backup if necessary. These homes are much lower in cost, and the energy bills are a fraction of full size conventional homes. Energy costs by current micro home dwellers are reported to be as low as $200.00 a year. Some of our models sell for under $10,000.00, less than a new automobile. You must provide your own lot and fresh water supply. We view them as excellent for singles or couples, and retirees who may reside up north in the summer and down south or the desert for the winter. They are a very economical way to live if you can appreciate the life style. We also view these homes as possibly the only alternative for many people to ever own a home in this hostile economy, and seniors whom can no longer pay the ridiculous property taxes in most cities and towns.
If you are interest in this life style you could help us by answering just a few short questions.
Thank you
1.Would you ever consider owning a very low cost but very attractive Micro Home?

2.With some Micro Homes on the market starting at the extremely small size of 64 square feet plus a sleeping or storage loft of 50 square feet.
What is the smallest number of square feet you would consider living in? 64 square feet = 8 feet X 8 feet

3. Can you live without a home laundry if necessary due to space considerations?

4. Can you live with just a shower and no tub?

5. Would you consider using a 100% odor free composting toilet?

6. Would you use a space saving sleeping loft with windows at either end for ventilation and safety, or do you need extra space for a bed on the main floor? (Lofts not recommended for seniors.)

7. Can you find a space to place this micro home if you wanted one?

8.Do you need a full foundation or just concrete blocks to set the unit on?

9. Do you think the micro home is a good idea for low income and retired people, or just plain stupid?

10. How many people would occupy your micro home if you had one?

11. If the models varied in size from 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 8 x 12, 8 x 14, 8 x 16, or 8x20’ is there a size that you would prefer realizing that the 8’ x 20’ is most likely to be nearly triple the cost of that 8 x8’ model, and the energy bills would also be higher?

12 Other comments

We will be happy to answer any questions pertaining to these homes

Thank you,
Walt Barrett President
A to Z global marketing Inc

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Building The Low Cost Micro Home Work Day Four By Walt Barrett

Today was another part time day for John and I to work on the Micro Home. We did manage to get the sub floor glued and screwed down. The home is not close to a power source so we purchased an 18 volt battery operated Skil screw driver gun and it did a terrific job! We also managed to get to the Home Depot and purchased four Anderson windows. and pick out a door. This will enable me to lay out the exterior walls including the rough openings for the windows and doors. This morning I will purchase about thirty-five pieces 2"x4"x8' lumber to frame the walls and have some extras for temporary wall bracing. We are using only the best grade lumber. There is a progress photo attached. Our model home is a totally autonomous off the grid home. However, it will have a two burner cook stove that will run from the smaller size propane bottle. Electricity and jot water will be solar. There is a shower and composting toilet. We plan to mass produce several sizes and styles if there is enough interest in the product. We are aiming at sharply reduced prices compared the the current Micro Homes we have seen on the Internet. We invite you to contact us if you are interested in Low Cost Micro Homes. Please tell your friends about this project blog. We are going for A Micro Home at Micro Cost.



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Micro Home Floor Platform Working Day Three by Walt Barrett

In spite of the extremely bad weather we managed to set up the foundation platform for the micro cube home today. Tomorrow we will put in the blocking between the floor joists to keep them from twisting and then we will glue and screw the floor down. We are very excited about the project and the progress we are making in spite of the very bad weather. We will probably get the four walls and the roof up over the weekend. We used all pressure treated 2 x 6 lumber for the base platform. We are going first class quality all the way! Imagine how much easier it will be on our new assembly line! This is just a stick build test project.
John And i can only spare a few hours a day because
http://www.chinadepot.com/ keeps us very busy. We hope to create a lot of jobs in our community by building these homes here in the USA.
We are very interested in your comments, good or bad, and your suggestions or ideas.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Micro Home Site Prep II by Walt Barrett

Please click on the photos to enlarge them.

Well yesterday John and I did most of the site preparation. The display model of our new micro home product is 8' x 8' and the site needed leveling off before we can set the foundation blocks. We purposely did the work by hand using pick, shovel, hoe, and wheel barrow. Although we own a large tractor and equipment distributorship we opted to do the work ourselves by hand to show our potential customers for the homes that you don't have to spend a lot of money on site prep. We are firm believers in "sweat equity." That's the way my parents built their home in 1929-1932 and we all lived very happily there for many years.
Our thinking is that if we are going to build and market these micro homes we need to show our potential customers how doable the project really is without a lot of expensive equipment. I am attaching the photos from yesterday's work that my son John and I did together on the site prep.

John is the CEO of http://www.chinadepot.com/ .
Hard work never killed anyone!
The next installment will show us setting the foundation blocks and laying down the sill. We are stick building our demo model, but are going to build all future models on an assembly line.More coming soon.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Micro Home Progress - Site Preperation by Walt Barrett

We will continue to publish reports on the construction of our new Micro Home model. It is all solar and totally off the power grid.
Yesterday I personally took time out from the office to clear the space and stake off the area so the grade can be set and the foundation blocks can be set in place. I will personally build the unit with the assistance of My son John Barrett who is now the CEO of www.chinadepot.com , leaving me the time to develop new projects such as our Micro Home program.
I have included photos of the Micro Home lot and the views from the lot.
When the home is completed it will be open for inspection to the public by appointment, and we will be taking orders for completed units built on the new assembly line we are planning if the home is accepted by the buying public.
The model home is 8' long and 8' wide. We can offer many sizes including the 8' X 8' cube off grid economy model. Stay with us for weekly postings including photos.
Yes, it overlooks a lake!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Free Battery Reconditioning Training Program by Walt Barrett

For those of you that are interested in our free battery reconditioning program, this is the link to the free video.
It is the full explanation and runs close to ten minutes.
If you would like to receive the full training manual in a printable word file via email then click here and request it.
wbarrett1@aol.com .
This program is sponsored in full by our parent company
A to Z Global Marketing Inc.
A to Z Global Marketing Inc is the owner of the web site www.chinadepot.com .
This training program is 100% free with no obligations. Our soul purpose is to familiarize the public with our reconditioning product. You may obtain a free sample by simply paying the shipping costs. Ordering may be accomplished at our EBay store, just Google "china-depot-100" . We accept Pay Pal and there is a shipping calculator on the store site.
Remember, there is no need to spend thousands of dollars to get started in the battery reconditioning business. We'll show you how to get the necessary battery charger and testers for under $500.00, and you don't have to buy them from us. We just want to sell you our additive that has been proven successful for over 25 years..
Let us put you in business!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A to Z Global Marketing To Mass Produce Micro Homes starting around $10,000.00 by Walt Barrett

Well this has been a while in coming, but the time has finally arrived. A to Z Global Marketing Inc, the parent company of www.chinadepot.com is building a test model of a totally off the grid Solar Micro Home. The proof of concept model will be evaluated and used to solicit orders. These units will be trucked over the road at eight feet wide, and lengths from eight, ten, twelve, fourteen and sixteen feet will be available. Electricity and hot water will be provided by solar energy. Heat will be passive solar with a small backup heater for inclement weather. If a realistic demand is proven an assembly line will be set up for the mass production of the units. Prices for the tiny solar homes will start in the ten thousand dollar range plus delivery, or may be picked up at the factory. Prices could come down as the sales and production increase. These units will be built entirely in the USA using green energy materials. The model home project is currently underway and mass production could start as early as September if the model home proves marketable. Current housing costs for both rental and purchase make it impossible for huge number of working class couples and singles to afford a decent place to live. If you add the current high prices of heat, fuel, and electricity it is virtually impossible for most American workers to ever rent, or own decent housing. People living in the colder climates like New England are looking at impossible winter energy costs, and the prices of fuel and electricity are still climbing. Unfortunately, wages have failed to keep up with these ever-rising costs. Therefore we have decided to use our considerable technology to provide an autonomous home at the lowest possible price.

The project will be financed totally with China Depot's considerable profits from the global sale of tractors, generators and other products, and the EBay store China-Depot-100 a large part of which will now be used to benefit low-income American workers and retirees. Interested parties should contact Walter H. Barrett for more details, or to get on a special mailing list progress report. We also invite your comments and suggestions.
It’s about time we took a whole new approach to housing for the masses. without price gouging and excess profits. It’s not about the money. It’s about the people.