I would recommend this living situation to anyone! I feel that this isn’t just a temporary fad but a trend that will continue especially for Millennials that are buried in debt, specifically student loans.
Follow-up: Moving off-the-grid and into a micro-house in the Southern Adirondacks
Matt Holleran and Michael Francis | BlueRock Energy Inc.
Attributable to Matt Holleran:
In the end, how long did the project take / when were you able to move in?
The project took about a month longer than I anticipated. I envisioned being in the Tiny House (the “TH”) about mid-May, and ultimately moved in mid-June. I began construction on the house March 19th 2016 so it took about 3 months to complete construction.
Looking back, what were the most difficult aspects of the project?
The most difficult part of the project was my elevator bed. I thought I would be able to complete this task in about a week or two, however it lasted a month. Between waiting on materials and three different failed designs I finally accomplished my desired outcome. In the end, I could have elected for an easier design, but from the beginning this was one of the signature aspects I wanted in the TH and one that people are most impressed with when they visit.
What are the biggest differences you’ve seen in your daily life since moving into your tiny house?
The biggest change was my quality of life. I was fortunate enough to enjoy beautiful sunsets on the lake every day, plus I developed a love for fishing and became much more organized. I was truly able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. This didn’t come without sacrifices, however—my commute is now much longer, and the subsequent 5 am alarm took some getting used to – but in the end, I would not change a thing. During the week I wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast on my commute, work, and am back on the road around 4 pm. I utilize my drive time to make some work calls and am back to the lake by 5:30 pm. I then fish until dark, cook dinner on the grill, shower, clean the TH, and get ready to repeat the next day.
Will you continue to stay in your tiny house? Do you consider them sustainable for long-term adaption or do you see it as a short-term experiment? Will you stay in the same location or will you move your tiny home?
I do have plans to utilize the TH during the winter months but not on a permanent basis. The main obstacle is water. There is no well so it is pumped out of a spring and water will be shut off in the next couple of weeks to avoid pipes freezing. If I had a way to have water and not worry about driving over an hour to work on roads less traveled I would not hesitate staying in the TH over the winter. I searched a couple of different options to move the TH closer but there were not many available.
Have you found your overall savings to be you had anticipated they would be?
This has been a fantastic way to save money. After this summer I am 100% debt free. I have no student load debt, no auto debt, no credit card debt. I was able to purchase a fishing boat on top of paying off my debt. To get to this point in my previous living situation it probably would have taken me an additional 28 months. At the age of 32 I am able to focus my finances on investments and saving instead of chipping away at my debt.
How has going solar fared for you? Would you recommend it?
Although solar was not installed until later in the summer when the sun was not as prevalent, it still performed all the tasks I needed. Every day it seems the price of solar is being driven down and especially for those situations where you have no grid tie in it is economical to invest in an off the grid system without paying the high overhead to get the utility to run wires and poles. BlueRock Solar’s community solar projects now make solar accessible to all New York State residents and businesses by tapping into off-site solar farms and using net metering. It’s such a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money. You also become energy conscientious and not just with electricity but also with waste. It changes your whole mindset.
What is your greatest piece of advice to other individuals hoping to build or move into their own tiny house? Would you recommend this?
Just do it! I spent endless hours researching and asking questions. Once you begin a project, your vision becomes clearer. It certainly was an amazing experience that is impactful for a lifetime. There is nothing more rewarding than having a vision and a plan become a reality. You appreciate and enjoy life more than you appreciate possessions. I would recommend this living situation to anyone! I feel that this isn’t just a temporary fad but a trend that will continue especially for Millennials that are buried in debt, specifically student loans.
Attributable to Michael Francis, General Manager of BlueRock Solar:
Do you have any recommendations for other individuals hoping to solar-power their own homes (or microhomes)?
Yes, I would recommend it as individuals can save money and reduce their carbon footprint. An estimated 75 percent of the population does not currently have the ability to invest in and utilize solar power. BlueRock Solar’s community solar projects will give all New York State residents the opportunity to benefit from solar by tapping into off-site solar farms and using net metering – a method which credits solar energy participants for the electricity they add to the grid. If an individual is considering solar but doesn’t own a house or have a site suitable, I’d recommend they take a look to see if their state allows for community distributed generation for solar, also known as community solar, because that’s a way people who can’t site solar at their house can go solar. If your state allows it, some companies are offering pay-as-you-go models that don’t offer a large upfront cost, including BlueRock Energy. These projects give residents and businesses with a utility provider access to remotely generated, environmentally friendly solar power, instead of just traditionally generated electricity from their local utility.
As a first step, I would recommend individuals look into their state’s rules on net-metering. If they’re unsure, BlueRock Energy can help with questions.
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