Here’s a tiny house I hadn’t seen before that I get to show you thanks to SpacesTV and my friend Ali.
And it’s got a one of a kind way of generating free heat which I’ll show you below.
It was designed and built by Yestermorrow Design Build School students.
Yestermorrow Tiny House
It was built in Vermont where Yestermorrow is located and the home is now in Massachusetts.
Don’t miss the video tour below, too (along with the rest of the pictures):
Bedroom in a Tiny House
This is a great tiny home because it has a real bedroom instead of an upstairs sleeping loft. And you can see there’s still plenty of built-in storage.
I like how they use a simple desk lamp for lighting in the bedroom.
Bedroom Storage in Tiny Homes
Another thing you’ll notice if you watch the video tour below is that the bed is elevated high enough where there are plenty of drawers under the bed so you have lots of built-in storage.
But the bed is not so high that you have to climb up to it or anything.
Tiny House Kitchen
The kitchen is really small but is still functional. And the backsplash is recycled steel.
Open shelving versus large cabinets always helps it feel larger especially in the kitchen. But don’t worry, there are still cabinets above the open shelving (you’ll see in the video tour below).
Genius Dish & Utensil Storage Dry Rack Above Kitchen Sink for Drainage
My favorite part of the kitchen, which you’ll also see in the video, is how they created a built-in dish and utensil storage directly above the sink so you never have to dry them.
Great use of space and saves you time every day.
The Entire Bathroom is a Shower with a Drain
The floor and bench here are made of rot-resistant wood with built-in floor drainage so the room is a shower.
Salvaged Plumbing Parts for Lighting
Multi-Purpose Living Room/Kitchen
Floor Plan for this Tiny House
Pretty simple design, isn’t it?
Free Heat for Tiny Houses Using Poop?
I knew you wouldn’t expect this. And neither did I when I watched but they’ve actually set up a system to heat a tiny home and heat water for free using a large pile of hay bales with wood chips, sawdust, and manure with a 600 ft pipe that loops inside. What!
Video Tour of this Yestermorrow Tiny House
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Nice house but the heating is most interesting.
They need to wrap it on plastic and you control the heat by how much water you put on it.
I’d use recycled metal fence to make a 10-15′ dia circle 8-10′ high covered with construction plastic, tarp, etc with a bunch of poly pipe to suck the heat out and a hose with holes in the top to introduce extra water when needed. you don’t need much as a pile done well can heat for the whole winter from my studies.
Interesting idea Jerry!! Thanks for sharing as usual 😀
For more information on the compost powered hot water, visit http://www.compostpower.org or come take a 2 day workshop at Yestermorrow this fall to learn how to build your own! http://www.yestermorrow.org/workshops/detail/compost-powered-hot-water-combustion-free-energy
Actually, I seen this style of heating before with permaculturist and organic farmers experimenting with what they can do with their big piles of compose. I seen them put it up against greenhouses to provide enough heat to grow cold weather plants in the middle of winter to actually using the same method in the video from SpaceTV to heat water for bathing. The hay bales actually help keep the heat from escaping while contributes to the composing as it decays slower.
I know someone who did this a couple of years ago and it supplied hot water for showers for about 4 months. However, it is dishonest to say it provides free hot water. Hay/straw costs money or labour. Plastic piping costs money. Building the pile takes a lot of work, and so does dismantling it and recovering the pipe. Finally the whole system is bulky and takes up more space than some tiny houses do.
If you’re gonna be building giant compost heaps anyway, it might be worth considering. However, I’ve never heard of anyone who has done this twice without using heavy duty machinery to process the materials.
It can easily be done for less as in most places yard wastes and wood chippings are free and delivered in many cases,
Does piping cost? Sure but not much and likely good for 20 yrs in this service.
A 10-12′ dia unit 8′ tall could do the heating, hot water from the examples I’ve studied. It’s not a new idea by any means.
Important is controlling water input to throttle/less water/increase heat more water but only a gal at a time or so for the reaction so it lasts.
As others said it’s been used on greenhouses, and on homes, barns, etc for 10k yrs likely far, far more.
It’s not like early man was going to bypass this life giving heat that was around them in nature. You notice when only a piece of ground not only not covered in snow but steaming and you are freezing, it doesn’t take much to figure out the rest.
From reading your comments on this topic, I get the impression that you have not actually done this yourself. You say things like “I would” and “it could” and you mention the “studies” you’ve done on it. If I’ve made an incorrect assumption, I apologise in advance.
I have a large organic vegetable garden and 1 acre of a permaculture food forest. It’s backbreaking work. It annoys me to read people describing it as “easy”. I’ve lost count of the number of compost heaps I’ve built. There’s about 10-12 out there right now, each of them are 2-3m^3 in size. They’re built from untreated pallet wood, because the metal fencing you advocated above is very expensive material to use for this purpose.
The point where you mentioned yard sweepings caught my attention. To build the pile you suggested (25m^3) out of yard sweepings requires a very dirty yard of an area of at least 3000m^2 and will involve moving about 300 wheelbarrows of material. Assuming that you work very hard and you collect, move and dump 6 barrows per hour, that’s still 50 man-hours of very hard work. A hot compost pile needs to be built of the right mix of materials to get the right carbon:nitrogen ration. You can’t build a proper compost pile out of just wood chippings. I know it has been done by that French dude decades ago, but he had access to 1000’s of tons and had the machinery needed to handle it. Assuming the right mixture of composting materials can be delivered, free of charge, (which I seriously doubt), you still have to move it to the location of your composter, and you have to layer it in approximately the right proportions, which will still take you about 50 man-hours of work.
From the studies you’ve done about compost, you’ll know that the piles are constantly shrinking as they decompose. As it shrinks, the composted material also sets into a hard compacted mass. It is bound together by unrotted plant fibres and mycelium from the fungi that populate it. The pressure from the material above it and the heat from the compost also contributes to the binding effect. The bigger the pile the more compacted it gets. I use a pickaxe to break up my piles before I can move them with a shovel. Plastic piping will not survive being struck with a pickaxe. Ideally, a compost pile should be turned at least once during it’s life, to allow air to infiltrate again and to mix the layers of material together. For your 25m^3 pile, this will involve another few days of hard work. I admit, I don’t always bother, because it’s hard work and just leaving them lie there for an extra year achieves pretty much the same effect.
Some people have asked me why I don’t amalgamate all my compost into one big pile. They are distributed around the plot is smaller piles because that saves an enormous amount of work hauling material from one end to the other. It also saves work in hauling finished compost after the microrobes have done their job. A fundamental permaculture principle is “Relative location”. Put stuff close to where it’s needed. Finally, any leachate that does come off the piles is distributed around the plot and doesn’t damage the plants by over fertilising any area.
It’s good to see more people getting interested in low impact lifestyles. I wish you well in your journey whereever it takes you. I started on my journey by reading posts like yours on the internet many years ago. I just feel that I was a bit of an idiot to believe everything I read. The truth about the practical side of things turned out to be quite different.
Everything you said is true for you.
But I wasn’t talking about having enough of your own yard waste as it would take quite a yard.
You should consider a small tractor with lift if you have that much labor. A good one can be made from a golf cart and even solar powered cheaply ;^P
Nor was I planning much extra labor I have to rake, put my own somewhere and neighbors can put theirs on it too.
Mostly I was talking about for most of having lawn/tree service bringing it for free straight from the truck into the pile.
They save dumping fees and the dumpee gets nearly free, low work heat. This is a common practice at least here in Fla.
As far as work compare it to gathering, dealing with wood for the same heat?
As you show, it depends. While it may be work, etc for you, others are more creative and done well, less work that other forms of heating.
Everyone needs to understand this same tech causing many fires if not done right. That’s why using water to regulate ‘burn’ rate is important to control the temp inside. Would be wise to check it’s temp regularly.
I have to reply here because the forum won’t let me reply to your last post.
Jerry, I gotta be honest with you. You don’t need a hot water compost pile because you’re full of hot air. If this stuff is so easy, why haven’t you been doing it for years?
I live off grid using a combination of solar and wind generated electricity. It is more expensive than grid electricity but I chose to do it anyway. Some people have to lead the way forward. Because of my lifestyle I have a pretty solid idea of how much power it is feasable to produce, and what kind of use I can get out of it. My average power usage is about 5% of the average for my country. Right now, my entire house is using about 16W. Granted, I don’t live in sunny florida, but neither does 99% of the people on the internet.
> You should consider a small tractor with lift if you have that much labor. A good one can be made from a golf cart and even solar powered cheaply ;^P
This is absolute nonsense. I have access to a small diesel tractor and it is completely useless in a food forest. A golf cart is not a suitable substitute, I’d need 1 meter wide paths everywhere I need to go. I’d have more paths than beds in my veg garden. Anything that I move with the tractor also has to be moved by wheelbarrow, either before or afterwards.
Do yourself a favour, stop “studying” all this stuff and actually go and do some of the things you’re telling everyone else that they should do. You’ll learn a lot more, and a lot more quickly.
I have an odd question.
My building code allows up to 12 sq. feet with no permit, as in a shed.
I think the code people are closing in on my height answer, (12 or 15 feet!).
What they haven’t addressed is this: can I go up 7 feet and then use cantilever principles to make a bigger upper storage area, (floor)?
My footing meets criteria.
Nobody seems to know.
Anybody else ever run into this?
Most once the second floor looks like one start counting that sq’ too. If making a larger overhanging one isn’t going to get missed.
Put a small trailer under it and call it cargo ;^P
PS I wasn’t really kidding. If you put in on a flatbed trailer, not attached permanently legally it’s just something on a flatbed trailer and not regulated even 12′ wide. I mean if they want to play legal, they are many ways around the rules.
For instance if you need more than 12’x12′ just build 2!! You can even spread them out 12′ apart and make a 12′ wide center if you build them with that in mind. Very low cost and legal in many places that allow 150sq’ without permits like SE of Tampa and most of Fla.
Also here if you don’t hook up to utilities you don’t need an occupancy permit and you can live on a boat too in most places.
I saw this tiny house at their open house and now there is another at nearby Hampshire College. It’s so great to see more tiny houses in New England! The Yestermorrow Fair looks like it will be very rich with resources. It is in Vermont, can’t get better than that in the summer! Keep the movement growing in New England, too, folks!
I know, they tend to multiply ;^P
I just built my 12’x12′ cabin and my neighbor built one too even before I was done.
On the bed height I do that a lot and set it at about 40” below the ceiling so sitting up isn’t a problem and you have a nice deep chest, set of drawers or whatever kind of storage you want.
I’ve even put hot tubs under beds which works amazingly well.
The roof/deck on my trimaran sailboat is going on and the first interior from the front is my head/bath forward, then closets and then a tall berth as I call them on one side and a similar desk/workbench/etc on the other. Lots of storage in both plus closets and the 4′ bow section in front of the head.
At that point I’m moving in!! All I really need is a head, a desk and a reclining bed/chair.
Later put in the twin settees/couches and the large galley/kitchen. All these are in a 5-6′ wide/high epoxy/plywood tube 34′ long.
Hello all. I’ve been studying up on tiny houses for the last couple of years and I think I’m ready to take the plunge. The only thing is that I have a not so tiny home.
I own a couple pieces of property. On one of them, I have a 1200 sqft shell of a house. I used to live in it but it needed an extensive overhaul. Currently, it is completely stripped on the inside and the outside is basically finished. I’m thinking about using it for my tiny house. I’ve looked at a lot of plans but haven’t settled on any. I was wondering if any you had any suggestions. If possible, I would like to find a 3 bedroom plan being that I have a small family.
Thanks for any help!
PS. on my other property, I have an old home from the 1940s. I’m thinking of using it for reclaimed wood and such. Should I be concerned with lead paint and such?
Hi Doug welcome to the community! Neat that you’re starting some of your own small house projects. That’s awesome. Congratulations! Best of luck. Alex
Thanks, Alex. I really enjoy this website.
I think I’ve settled on a nice plan, but I’m still trying to figure out how strip lead paint of old lumber. I’m thinking of renting/buying a planer and going all in on it. We’ll see how it turns out!
Doug that plan sounds like the makings of a toxic waste site!! If you don’t know what you are doing with lead paint/etc, don’t mess with it until you do, especially planning or grinding it off.
How about just painting over it, trapping it instead?
If not wear full hazard suits, mask, goggles, external air, etc and work in a area that can be decontaminated.
Also the ground under the old walls have lead in them that you should move it to a safe place for it.
I think you are correct Jerry. I’ve done some more reading up on it and it appears that painting over it may be my best bet. On the other hand, I’ve had several scrappers/refurbishers contact me about tearing it down for me. They plan on using it for furniture. I may just let them do it.
the other big problem I need to solve there is it has an old timey well. The type that is about 3 1/2 feet in diameter and sticks up out of the ground. I figure it to be 40 feet deep. I’m going to get it filled in pronto. I don’t want to be liable for that thing.
You know, my apartment kitchen has less counter space than this one.
Composting shuts down in the winter.by the way.
Composting, if done well, will continue to compost even in winter. Being as I’ve run a 160°F hot pile in Zone 7 winter conditions of New Jersey, where temps can get down into the single digits, I’m speaking from personal experience. As with many other sorts of things, good composting takes good planning, and lots of nitrogenous material isn’t necessarily easy to come by in the winter. That’s why a prudent composter will have a multi-year plan, and not expect miracles.
I’m not sure that I would want to rely on a composting heat solution, if for no other reason than that extracting heat from your compost can lead to suboptimal temps in your compost pile. Externalising energy production allows for denser living and denser living in and of itself tends to be energy-efficient. It’s important to critically interrogate all our assumptions about sustainability. A lot of things that look sustainable aren’t, including some of the basic concepts behind tiny houses. The high the ratio of external surface area to internal volume, the lower the overall energy efficiency is going to be, all other things being equal. This is why cities are such efficient machines for living, and rural living isn’t.
I’ve been a big fan of Yestermorrow ever since I bought the first edition of the book “Homing Instinct”. I’m glad to see they are on board with tiny houses.