We all know the environmental mantra by now: Have a smaller footprint. Recycle more. Live more simply.
The home, built almost entirely from reclaimed materials cost only $1,927 to build as part of assistant environmental studies professor Lucas Brown’s design & build course. Students helped pay for it with a $100 per student course fee – and only went over their budget by a few dollars. The house cost $20 per square foot to build – a far cry from the $80 to $200 per square foot it costs for new construction, said student Todd Sirak of Poultney in a press release.
Of course, it may be a bit crowded inside but the home’s construction was a learning exercise for students in sustainable building. The course was part of the Renewable Energy and EcoDesign certificate program which is open to Green Mountain College undergraduates in any academic major.
Students collaborated on the tiny house design, visiting the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Warren, Vt. for inspiration and ideas. Based on interviews with mock clients, student teams developed several designs.
Students settled on a rectangular building with one low corner to create a curved roof that rainwater can pour off of and be collected. A sloped back wall helped make the home feel more spacious and a loft, furnishings and lighting fixtures were also designed and constructed by students. Sheep wool was even added for insulation into the window casing. Construction took two months.
When students needed to purchase new products like hardware and metal roofing, they bought from local building supply companies.
The class expects to recoup its investment by selling the house in the spring. By then, the moveable structure will be equipped with a solar powered electrical system. Another design & build course next semester, which will be taught by GMC alumnus Khanti Munro of Solar Energy International, will focus on photovoltaics.
About the green blog
Helping Boston live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.
Christopher Reidy covers business for the Globe.
Doug Struck covers environmental issues from Boston.
Glenn Yoder produces Boston.com's Lifestyle pages.
Eric Bauer is site architect of Boston.com.
Bennie DiNardo is the Boston Globe's deputy managing editor/multimedia.
Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.