Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wiring the Micro home II by Walt Barrett

The electrical system for the Micro Home will consist of the following components.
1. Solar power modules and mounting racks.
2. A solar charging regulator.
3. A battery bank of solar type deep draw batteries in a sealed and vented to the exterior storage bin. Batteries perform better at normal room temperature.
4. A 12 volt DC to 120 volt A/C inverter.
5. A 120 volt circuit breaker panel.
6. Standard house wiring consisting of electrical boxes for plug sockets, light switches and light fixtures. Number 12 and 14 wire will be used as required.
If the batteries are to be stored inside the building then the sealing and exterior venting of the battery storage box is very important because the hydrogen and other gasses emitted from the batteries during the charging process can be toxic and explosive.
During the process of pre cutting all of the framing material we ran all of the studs through a drill press and pre drilled all of the 1/2" holes for the wiring. It's a lot easier than on site drilling. Each hole is exactly 24 inches off the floor and is on center exactly. This is particularly handy when you have to snake the wire around a corner inside the walls. I have personally seen electricians "butcher " the inside corner of a wall in order to get wire around the corner. They really weaken the structure for one thing and it is also just plain sloppy work in my opinion.
Another important point is that the electrical codes should be followed implicitly at all times. You have to figure the total load on each electrical circuit and size the wire and breakers accordingly. When designing a solar power system you need to start by figuring the wattage on every electrical appliance and light. You have to then choose the proper inverter, wire and electrical supply panel and circuit breakers. The total wattage consumption and solar insolation (Watts or BTU per sq ft per hour for your climate also determines the number of storage batteries and number of solar modules and the amperage rating off the solar charging regulator.
Obviously, if you tone down the number of appliances and use low wattage lighting you can have an almost bargain basement price on the solar electric system. We are investigating all of the low wattage refrigerators. These units will determine how low we can go on the cost of the system. We have found one 5.8 cu ft unit so far that runs on one 85 watt solar module and two deep draw batteries. They also offer the unit as a freezer.
I hope to post some photos of the wiring soon. We are experiencing heavy sales of tractors and generators right now, and it is really eating into our time schedule. That's what pays the bills and finances our micro home research project. Our goal is to develop the lowest priced and most efficient micro home design.
Any questions,
We welcome your suggestions and ideas.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wiring the Micro Home by Walt Barrett

Yesterday we went to Lowe's because it was a no sales tax special weekend deal that the state Massachusetts sponsors one weekend a year to stimulate business. We live just over the boarder in Rhode Island so the RI businesses lost a ton of sales this past weekend. The state of RI never met a dollar, a tax, or a fee that they didn't fall in love with. Twenty percent of the population is on some kind of public assistance and, the illegals are literally killing us in more ways that one! We may be the first state in the union to go bankrupt. We are considering moving our company to another state, probably to a warmer climate too.
We bought everything we need to wire the Micro Home, plus the rest of the OSB for the roof, the roof shingles, drip edge, the underlayment, the nails, and more 2" x 4" lumber. Between the sales tax savings and some Lowe's coupons we saved fifty dollars. We will be posting photos of the wiring process and the roofing process very soon now. It looks like we are getting a break in the weather.
The electrical system will be totally solar. We will make DC and store it in batteries and then invert it to A/C as we need it. We also plan to charge spare batteries while driving our cars and pickup truck. We have a special wiring harness for that project. This plan will save a fortune is solar panels.
I have forty years experience in the solar business so the electric, the heat, and the hot water are a relatively simple task. When I say off the grid, I mean off the grid! We need more people to get with the program. You have to think about your future. The less energy you use, the more money you save. It's the same with your motor vehicles. Imagine how much money you would save if you figured out how to do without a car, and just rented one for vacations etc.,or when you really needed one? Of course, everyone can't do that, but suppose they could. You could easily save enough money to retire on. Owning a Micro Home is a similar proposition. You build it or buy it for a fraction of a huge typical American home and have either no mortgage , or a very small one. Now there's a deal! It's the same thing for a Micro Apartment. Just take a look at the Micro Apartments In Japan, and to add to that they ride bikes besides. No wonder they lead the world in savings accounts!
Well I have to go out and work on the project now. I'll post more photos soon.
Please tell your friends and stay tuned!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

LED Lighting For The Micro Home Project by Walt Barrett

Light emitting diode technology has come a very long way in recent years. These units give off incredible amounts of light using only milliwatts and up to 4 watts in the home lighting range. They barely trickle electricity from your battery storage bank. They come in 12 volt DC and 120 volt A/C configurations. You don't even need an inverter to run the 12 volt DC type. This makes them ideal for off the grid living.
We have finally found a source for these thrifty units that is reasonable and will be installing them in our Micro Home. We will use the 120 volt A/C units as we are also going to run a wireless computer and need to power a TV, and radio. We can also tap into our 12 volt battery bank separately to run our 12 volt well pump and any other 12 volt appliance etc. that we may choose.
It is also interesting to note that these bulbs can be installed in your current residence and save even more electricity than the popular energy saving fluorescent bulbs that we are already using in our own home. We will soon be switching to the New LED units though. Our electricity rate was just increased by 28% and I don't think that is the end of it yet! I can't believe the government even allowed a foreign company to buy our local electric company here in New England. I think it's a bunch of Bull#$%*, but that's another story!
Personally I would like to see as many people as possible get off the power grid and also find alternate ways to heat and cool their homes. I feel that retirees and singles or childless couples are ideal candidates for Micro Homes or Micro Apartments that are either partially or totally off the power grid. Micro Homes may be the only way for the working class to ever own a home the way we are all getting screwd over these days.
Also , we have so much water pollution here in our rivers, streams and the ocean (Narragansett Bay) That we need to develop new, and more convenient methods of using composting toilets. The water treatment plants are overwhelmed, and constantly overflowing raw sewerage into the rivers and the bay. Think about that every time you are tempted to eat raw seafood. We are building a composting toilet for our Micro Home. The compost will then go right into a bin and then when it is ready, a flower garden. We are going to do our part to save the rivers and our beautiful bay.
Well, I have a very busy day ahead of me and have to sign off now.
Please register for the site feed if you haven't already and make a comment now and then. We need your inputs!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Visit Business Success Stories by Walt Barrett

I may not be the greatest writer in the world, but I have a lot of interesting stories to tell. Please visit one of my favorite blogs that I write, I have four.
We have an interesting recycling story on there today!
Thanks, and if you like what you read please tell your friends because if we don't get more readers and comments, then I'm just wasting my time!

Totally Free by Walt Barrett

The rain has the micro home project at a standstill. We are currently researching small heaters that can run on used non toxic vegetable oil that we are getting free from a local restaurant. It looks very promising. Recent tests show that a quart of this free fuel will heat our current model for up to 24 hours. Heating and cooling cost savings are one of the main advantages of the tiny micro homes.
Another interesting item is that we have been contacted by off shore companies that are very interested in the micro home project. Some of them have offered us products. Some of them are interested in our low cost solar electric system. We will keep you posted on all of this interesting data.

Whether you have a product you wish to buy sell, or maybe you just want to join a ride share program in your area. Perhaps you have a used item that you would simply like to donate to a needy family. We have set up a web site and it has totally free classifieds for you to advertise on.
One word of caution though. As with any classified ad site be very wary of work at home schemes and anyone asking for personal information. It's always best to deal in your own area where it is easier to check these things out. Never pay money for a job, or job information. Employers pay the companies that are job agencies. Be very careful of Job offers, never pay them money.
The golden rule as always is "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
In spite of all that, Free ads are a great way to sell a product or get your name out there. We list on as many of them as possible every day. If used properly, they can be very helpful and profitable.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Micro Home Composting Toilets & Baths by Walt Barrett

Micro Homes have to take advantage of every square foot of floor space possible. There is no tolerance for wasted space. I have noticed for many years that movable or portable composting toilets are the answer to a lot of problems related to expensive septic systems and water pollution etc. I have found a web site that really explains the whole subject, and their product is very inexpensive to either buy, or build. With the addition of a vent to the design it is probably the answer to the human waste disposal problem. This site is a great place to start in solving the problem. It has great videos and info and a book is available to purchase. Please note that we do not know these nice people nor are connected to their company in any way shape or form. However, we intend to use one of their units in our micro home, but will add a solar powered venting system that we have designed to eliminate any unpleasant odors from the unit. There is no way I would ever pay over $1000.00 for a fancy commercial unit. This is the way to go.
When we get to finishing the interior of the Micro Home we will post photos of our version. We are trying to keep these units affordable.
We are currently exploring an inexpensive way to build a light weight soaking type tub that can be easily store under a counter etc. This would be especially good for our tiny 8' x 8' model with the sleeping loft. We can easily supply all the necessary hot water with our solar system design. The other option is a special shower design we are working on. Obviously, the trick is to fit as much as you can in a small space without getting ridiculous! A permanent shower takes up about 8 square feet of floor space. We have seen outdoor toilet and shower facilities in the warm climates. This is another way to skate by in an 8' x 8' micro home
Stay tuned,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Micro Home Project Photo History by Walt Barrett

For your convenience we have posted a Picasa web album of the photo history of our micro home project. It will be added to as the project progresses. This is a 100% off the grid expandable home and it will serve as the test bed for our many energy saving projects. Here is the link.
We are still suffering from too many rainy days, and are currently packing a huge generator order, but we will try to get the roof rafters installed today. John and I are building the entire project ourselves so we will be totally familiar with the product if we decide to go into mass production. The whole idea depends upon public acceptance-- of course.
Thanks for your interest and please comment, good or bad we need your viewpoint.
Walt Barrett President
John Barrett CEO
A to Z Global Marketing Inc.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Micro Home Roof Rafter Installation by Walt Barrett

Please click on images to enlarge.

Well it was another terrible rainy day, but we managed to work between the down pours. We should have all the rafters screwed in place and aligned by the end of the day tomorrow. If they look a little funny in the photos it's because every thing is temporarily tacked down so we can make the final adjustments tomorrow. We are using metal hold down clips at both ends of each rafter. Nobody likes a roof shaped like an airplane propeller!

We are very pleased with the huge amount of space we gained by using the gambrel roof. It's a great place to sleep, and also has the height to hang clothes.

Stay tuned,


Micro Home Ridge Board And Rafters by Walt Barrett

Well it rained again for the best part of yesterday so I took a 2" x 6" board into the shop and made the ridge board for the gambrel roof. I like to think of the ridge board as kind of a spine that ties the roof rafters in a sturdy and solid fashion together at the peak of the roof.

The metal clips are on sixteen inch centers to match the spacing of the vertical studs below in the building walls. The rafters in the roof transfer the weight load directly down onto the double plate and studs, and from there to the foundation sill. There are also metal clips that tie the base of each stud to the building. I will post photos as soon as we install the roof rafters, which will be today if the rain ever stops!

We have put up a Micro Home/Micro Apartment page on our own server and will welcome and publish any material on the Micro Home subject including construction, alternate energy power and heating systems, solar hot water, and passive solar heating etc. Te site is , and the material submission address is Photos are also welcome if pertinent to the micro home and alternate energy . We sincerely hope that many of you will be willing to share your ideas and photos with us.

One other thing before I sign off this morning. Yesterday I was browsing the Internet and found a company selling a sixty-four square foot micro home with a low profile roof which doesn't leave much room for a sleeping loft, if there is one. They didn't say. The price was in the $16,000.00 range. Personally, I think that kind of pricing is a total turn off to the general public. That is $250.00 a square foot! My calculations based upon the present construction of our test model is that a completed 64 sq ft model with the sleeping loft which effectively takes it to 128 square feet with a solar lighting system included should easily sell for about $10,000.00 If we mass produce it. That includes four high quality windows and a steel door with a sliding window and screen. at takes us to about $78.00 a square foot, which is our target price counting the loft. Our figures are based on the current costs of building materials. Oh well, we are going to know very shortly if the rain ever stops!
Stay tuned,

Monday, August 11, 2008

Micro Home Discussion Page for All by Walt Barrett

Please note that this is my third post this morning on this site. There is Micro Home news below this post.
I have decided to start a Micro Home Discussion Page. We have registered a new Domain and it will be up this afternoon. I am preparing data for Dave, our in house web master now.
This will be a free discussion page where participants can post Articles, tips and comments to the moderator for posting to the site. Photos are allowed if pertinent to the Micro Home or Alternate Energy field. We are open to all kinds of suggestions. This site is sponsored by us to help you in a free exchange of ideas. We have to get a handle on the rising housing and energy costs, and I hope you will get excited about the idea.
I have discovered that there are many people hungry for this type of information, and I'm willing to pay the freight, as they say, for this project.
All submissions may be sent to and just tell me if you do not want your address shown on the site.
Thanks for participating.
Walt Barrett President
A to Z global Marketing Inc

Free Battery Reconditioning Course by Walt Barrett

For the free Video and training manual files please write to: .
Why is it free you ask. Because we make our money selling our proven secret formula chemicals that I developed 23 years ago -- they work! Our products are available on eBay at the china-depot-100 store front.
Don't spend thousands of dollars! We even give you free samples, just pay the postage.
This is a reprint because we are getting tons of mail for free videos and manuals. If you didn't receive yours, please ask me again
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 .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 .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!

Building Micro Home roof rafters by Walt Barrett

It's raining again today here in Rhode Island. This is the wettest summer I have seen in many a year! Well anyway, I'm going to set up the ridge board inside the workshop and nail all the rafter clips to it. At least that will speed up the process of getting the roof on when the rain stops. Let me repeat, this is the last home we will ever build out doors, or stick by stick.
I will post photos of all the rafters installed ASAP.
I am currently planning the solar electric system. It has to be sized correctly. There will be enough power for the lighting, a radio, a TV, and a computer. We are not planning on any other electrical appliances. Each home will come with a solar clothes dryer. That's NASA talk for a free clothes line. You cannot be off the grid economically if you are planning on a bunch of energy sucking appliances.
The Micro life style is great way to save a ton of money!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Micro Home Rafters by Walt Barrett

We built several of the gambrel style roof rafters today. These are the design that I had previously laid out on the shop floor. Note that we used gussets on the joints and screwed and glued them down. I learned the technique by building wooden aircraft wings when I was a youngster in the USAF about a lifetime ago. We will be using metal hangers to fasten them to the ridge board. You can see the3 simple alignment fixture I built in the photo.We will post photos when we do that.


Micro Home comments from Bryan Ebbenga

The comments and suggestions below are from Bryan Ebbenga, and I will be answering each suggestion individually on another blog. These are all excellent suggestions. I will make two responses now though.
1. We are converting solar 12 volts to 120 volt 60 Hz House current as part of our being totally off the grid with these homes.
2. We already have the Tyvek vapor barrier and we will be fully insulated.
We welcome all comments and criticism's
Bryan's comments below
Thanks Bryan!
for long term energy saving and comfort.
consider insulating the ceiling and have a trap door that closes to keep the heat down in main living area in winter, and open in summer for cooling,
We always got a nice air flow in our farm house, 1st floor windows open, stairwell door open, and air flowing up through attic trapdoor through attic and out the roof vents, cools the house down overnight through convection.
Can post this to blog if you wish as a comment. Bryan Ebbenga

Wow! Nice job on the windows and doors! Vinyl will last forever, no painting and will never rot. Question- will you be using a plastic vapor barrier on the inside? Will the roof have venting from soffit to ridge or will it be through small windows in the end walls? When you wire the house, will you put in 120 volt and 12 volt lines? Phone and cable? Cable for sat dish? Provide for some watertight entries into the roof end walls for future roof installs for solar electric, sat dish, TV antenna, etc?
As simple a a piece of 1 inch PVC through the wall, tilted to the outside for drainage, caulk around it and put a cap on the inside.
I am waiting to see what products from China Depot you will be using for heat and light and water system.
Go Green!
Bryan Ebbenga 48564 Shanaska Creek Rd.,Kasota, MN 56050 CALL 507-995-1297 after 4 pm Central Distributor of manuals, memorabilia, apparel, flags, games, etc. We can order 3500 tractor parts, let us know your needs. Fixed Elec Rate 25 years, Residential Solar Electric Panels, Long Term Rental

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Micro Home Rafter Layout by Walt Barrett

Well it rained yesterday and this morning , So we took advantage of the spare time to lay out the gambrel roof rafters on my concrete shop floor. I had to figure out the lengths of the two piece rafters and the angles for the saw cuts. I'm no ace carpenter but I do know my math and geometry. We took some scrap and made some experimental cuts based on a mock up that we laid out on the shop floor. I knew the height I wanted to the bottom of the 2" x 6" ridge pole and I knew the height I needed down to the break in the rafter so it was a simple matter to lay out the lumber on the floor to get the proper inside dimensions and trace off the angles. Then we cut some sample pieces out of scrap and checked it out. It looked good so we then cut a set out of fresh 2"x 6" lumber. They were perfect-- beginners luck! I'll post a photo of this ASAP.
I noticed that some people do not use a ridge board on their gambrel roof designs, but for that little bit of extra work, we are gaining all kinds of strength and rigidity. We will screw and glue gussets to both sides of the rafter Angle cuts and use metal fastening brackets to tie them into the floor and ridge board. It's just plain good quality engineering practice.
We will not skimp on this product.
By changing from the gabled end roof to the gambrel roof, we may have detracted a bit from the cosmetics, but we have gained a great deal of head room for both sleeping and hanging clothing etc. We are more concerned in getting the maximum usage out of a given area than we are in cosmetics. We need practical housing for retirees and less fortunate people. Of course, we don't want ugly either.
It's getting pretty cozy in the building already now that the windows and doors are installed. John says he wants to use it for an office. It's a great spot for it overlooking our lake. I have recently visited the home of a well known writer in Connecticut and he has a great writers cabin in the woods a few hundred feet from the main house. As a struggling writer myself I find that it is really great to have a quiet spot where you can work with no interruptions.
If any of our readers can put us on to low cost land where we and put up these homes we would certainly appreciate it. It could mean jobs and an assembly shop for that area. You can only ship so far without spending an absolute fortune these days.
Please feel free to ask any questions or make any comments, positive or negative, that's how we learn. We are trying to refine our design and will soon be building an 8' x 16' foot spacious luxury mansion model, lol!
If these homes are too Small for you please look at them from the perspective of the homeless, or the people with gigantic heating bills, and no way to pay them. It made me think twice!
And don't be fooled by the dropping cost of oil, Their only fueling with us again! You'll see after the election!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Micro Home Photos 2 by Walt Barrett

This is a double post to fit all the photos. Please see the post below. All of the windows and doors are installed.


Micro Home Photos 08 05 08 by Walt Barrett

We had a lot to do today but we got the windows and the doors in and shimmed up. We have a little more shimming on the door, but it is basically tacked in for now.
We will finish up tomorrow, 08 06 08, and then we are going to lay out the roof rafters for the sleeping loft.
I have decided to go with a gambrel roof to give us more head room and storage space.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 04, 2008

Micro Home Report by Walt Barrett

Well today we are putting in the windows. We are still playing catchup from the lost time due to heavy orders and heavy rain, plus the problem with Google censorship we had to straighten out by starting a mirror blog on Yahoo just in case Google screws us over again.
I should have fresh photos tomorrow.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Is Google to powerful, or don't blame us, "the Robot did it." by Walt Barrett

Yesterday morning when I fired up my computer I quickly discovered that all four of my blogs on the Google Blogger pages were blocked! I was informed by a robot notice that their robots had determined that I was a spammer, and that my blogs would stay blocked until they determined other wise! Anyone who knows my blogs or me knows that I do not spam, nor do I publish or read any kind of smut.
All I have ever done is try to help people with my green energy Blog, and maybe entertain the a bit with my photo Blog.
Well I filed the necessary appeal form they left me for each of the four blogs that I write, and by late last night I was unblocked.

In the meantime though, I got very angry and have started a new Blog on Yahoo called Low Cost Micro Homes & Free Energy. It will be a mirror Blog with a different name and I will continue to transfer all of the Blog stories I have written to that site too. We are not getting enough readership or comments anyway. Like the man said, “Never put all your eggs in one basket.” I have been reminded of a good lesson.
I also did a thorough search for Google censorship complaints etc., and found hundreds of them. In most of the cases, the reason was “Our robots did it!” How very convenient! Especially blocking the Blogs that criticized certain political candidates, and were blocked!” “The robot did it” theme is very convenient!
Shades of Hal (2001)!

I have read the Google terms of service and according to them they can do just about anything they want to your blogs! I know they are into green energy etc there, and I am wondering if they heat their building on chilly days by burning books?
I’m not even sure if terms of agreement are legal if they deprive people of their first amendment rights, but we are going to find out.
Long story short, I’m writing my congressmen and complain that these people have entirely too much power, and it is growing daily. We don’t need anyone having that much control over what is seen or read on the Internet. Anyone with that much power is scary! I urge you all to write to your congressman and advise him of the dangers of letting any giant corporation exercise that kind of power over an important asset of the magnitude of the Internet. No one should be allowed to buy up the Internet either. I’m going to use Yahoo more often!
The blogs will continue unless Google blocks them again.

Micro Home construction continues on Monday, Google permitting!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Next Billionaires Will Be Green by Walt Barrett: The Micro Home Project by Walt Barrett

The Next Billionaires Will Be Green by Walt Barrett: The Micro Home Project by Walt Barrett

The Micro Home Project by Walt Barrett

Good Morning!
We have received several comments for moderation this morning and I have published them, but they have not shown up on the site as yet. I don't know why.
If you see a problem or have a question please be more specific. Someone referred to a broken link for example but did no paste in the link, so I can't fix it. There are many links on this blog and I don't have time to go looking for broken ones. We will also answer specific questions about alternate energy problems etc. if you send them. There was one comment this morning on the subject but it was not specific so I don't know how to answer it.
As far as the micro home goes, we are ready to wrap the exterior with Tyvek moisture proofing and install the windows and doors.
The ceiling rafters and loft are finished and temporarily covered with tarps because of the heavy rain we have been experiencing. I'll never build another building out doors! It's the assembly line for me from now on!
We had a problem with the 45 degree roof rafters but have laid them out on a flat surface and screwed together a mock up. We had a problem calculating the cuts for the birds mouth notched. It is of minor consequence in the overall scheme of things. We have taken almost zero waste of the lumber and are finding uses for every piece of scrap. We also build a lot of shipping crates and large pallets here too so we have learned how to utilize every piece of scrap. There is virtually nothing left even for kindling wood. We will photograph the building again after it is wrapped and again after the window and door installation. We are expecting more rain so please be patient. We lost two days building electric scooter shipping crates and packing them. The business has to come first.
We received a reply to our micro home questionnaire about living in a micro home today. I'm sure the sender won't mind if I leave his name out and publish it along with my specific comments to his original answers. It should be very helpful to all of you.
Here it is.
I have removed any brand names from his reply as it is not our intention to knock anyone on this blog, or even imply that we are knocking them. Our readers are fully aware of high prices for plans or buildings when they see them. That's what the Internet is for! Let the people with the big money spend thew big money if they wish. We are here to help people whom cannot afford to spend big bucks. It's not about the money with us.
My responses are in red.
Good Morning Again____________:
I have commented below in the body of your letter, but first I would like to emphasize that these companies are charging way too much money for plans to build a very simple tiny home. The materials to build an 8 x 8 micro are under $2000.00 including the Andersen windows and door that we purchased. I am not a builder and neither is my son John, yet we have done extremely well in just a few working days that we have managed to squeeze in between bad weather and our many tractors and generator shipments that we have to make weekly. We bought a book for About $15.00 and made our design from it. Also, there are plenty of books in the library, We have a friend that is supposed to draw up plans for an 8 x 16 , and if he does, we will send you a free copy, but they are really not necessary. There are plenty of free plans around. Try Home Depot or Lowe's. They give out a lot of plans.
The biggest problem we have here is that land is very expensive.

We can buy 40' containers here for less than $2000.00, but I think there is too much work involved to make them livable in a cold climate. Also if I were building stick by stick on site I would change the size to 12 x 20 or 24 feet because you don't have to move it over the road.
I would also start to gather up surplus materials as soon as I had land to store them on. You can save a ton of money by recycling. A lot of great stuff is being dumped off of the big construction sites.
I was raised in a tiny home and it never killed me! See my blog "From Oil Lamps To The Internet."
See comments below


your questionnaire:

1. Would you ever consider owning a very low cost but very attractive Micro Home?
Good thinking!
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 difficult to answer, probably 100-200 ft.
200 square feet is very affordable if you build it yourself.
3. Can you live without a home laundry if necessary due to space considerations?laundry facilities are a must for me. I prefer a small stacking system
Very doable with stacked units. We have them full size from Sears in our home.
4. Can you live with just a shower and no tub?while a tub would not be necessary for me, I would think a tub would be more water/energy efficient. A small 'stand up style tub would be fine, as I don't need to lay down in it.
You could consider a Japanese style soaking tub that you could actually build. Full baths take at least 5' x 5'
5. Would you consider using a 100% odor free composting toilet?
There are free plans on line for these too. Building one will save over $1000.00, and a lot of water!

I would like to see more info on this. Especially the process of emptying it.
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.)for me a loft would be fine as long as I could sit up in it without striking my head on the ceiling.
DIY construction is so much less expensive that you could afford any ceiling height you want, of even a full second story. You get double the space without changing the size of the foundation footprint. This saves a ton of money.
7. Can you find a space to place this micro home if you wanted one?at the moment, I am looking into a land purchase. Still looking for suitable land.
Land is our number one problem here. It is too expensive!
8.Do you need a full foundation or just concrete blocks to set the unit on?I would prefer a foundation and/or basement for storage. No heat necessary.
A full basement is great if you can afford it. Ours is very cool in the summer time and 55 F in the winter with no heat.
9. Do you think the micro home is a good idea for low income and retired people, or just plain stupid?I think its the best idea I've seen in years!
We are very pleased that you feel that way, and you are going to save a lot of money in the long run. Fuel is now a major expense and Micro's are very cheap to heat. You can also install a couple of hundred watts of solar and if you use it judiciously you can be off the grid, and off the grid land is much cheaper to buy.
10. How many people would occupy your micro home if you had one?1-2 max
11. If the models varied in size from 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 8 x 12, 8 x 14, 8 x 16, or 8 x 20' 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 x 8' model, and the energy bills would also be higher?
I would consider an 8 x 20
Good thought, but if site built I would go 12 x 20.
12. Other comments I have been researching small disappointingly expensive. (I have removed the brand names here. Walt).
homes for some time online. Most designs, while interesting are furthermore, for energy savings, I even looked at Domes
(Brand name removed. Walt) for a small energy efficient dome. Problem with (removed, Walt), is that it is an unusual construction, and would require specialized building techniques.
I also looked at containers,
also expensive to buy, and build it myself is still expensive. The containers here are $5000+ each.
You have to do what is right for you. That container price seems very high. We were offered around $2000.00 at last check. The least expensive is obviously a DIY using free plans and recycled materials as much as possible. Make sure to use six inch walls and lots of insulation though. Do not skim on the quality of the windows and doors either. You don't want to waste fuel. On the other side, make sure you have enough air changes per day, or the place will turn into a smelly swamp! Go with the full basement and pack all of the utilities into one corner to gain usable space.
I am not a wealthy man. I have no official trade; more like a 'jack of all trades'. I am adequate with power, hand and air tools.
I am looking to buy/build a place for myself, and a bit of storage(hence the basement/foundation. I believe that there is a second depression coming in our near future, and want to prepare for it
I agree with your thinking and there are millions of people like you out there. If you don't start to prepare for your own future, no one in government, or anyone else is going to do it for you.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to do this blog. REALLY appreciate it! :)
Thanks, we want to help as many people as we can. WE LIKE TO HEAR FROM THEM. We feel the future can be scary if people don't start to prepare for it now. The fuel situation is not looking good. Even if prices come down again temporarily we should not be fooled. These are marketing tactics by the energy companies. People should start to consider living as much off the grid as possible. It is not always possible to go 100%. People should also consider revamping larger city dwellings into "Micro Apartments" of about 100 to 200 square feet. We have studied many of these units in Tokyo. There are thousands of Micro's in Japan and throughout Asia. There are also many older tiny homes in Europe.
Good luck with your project and we will help you in any way we can. Just send us your questions. Our assistance is free. It's not about the money with us!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Micro Home Report by Walt Barrett

Well we managed to get the floor joists for the loft installed and get the loft floor screwed down. All this was between the rain showers that we have been having. We hope to get the roof rafters laid out and installed in the next couple of days. We are having an incredible amount of rain lately!
Now if I was a farmer, with my luck, we'd be having a drought!
There will be more photos coming soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Micro Home Progress Report by Walt Barrett

Due to a very heavy sales and shipping schedule combined with some extremely hot weather we have no progress to report on the Micro Home project. We do plan to get the loft and the roof rafters installed shortly. We will post photos ASAP.