The Sacramento Municipal Utility District sponsored a Tiny House Competition, modeled on the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathalon, started in October of 2014 and presented to the public on October 15, 2016. The goal was for each team to design and build a zero net energy house on wheels for 100 – 400 square feet, with up to $25,000, using green building techniques and sustainable living.
I’ve been interested in tiny houses since first seeing some of the Tumbleweed homes at Maker Faire many years ago. In the last few years it seems like the idea of tiny homes has really exploded – with multiple television shows devoted to the design, construction, and purchase of very small homes.
The event this weekend was held in a parking lot at the Cosumnes River College in Elk Grove from 9am through 4pm and included music, prizes, food trucks, and a little bit of windy and rainy weather. Despite the seeming niche appeal of the competition and inclement weather, the crowds and lines to each the houses were unreal. People were waiting 45 to 60 minutes to see the inside of these houses! Since each house is so small and only reasonably accommodate a few people at a time, the lines moved slowly. While we were able to talk to a few people from the various colleges and teams, we didn’t get a chance to see the inside of any of the houses.
A big part of the competition was “communication” including documentation, brochures, and educational videos. Unfortunately, most of the tiny homes either didn’t have or had run out of their materials by the time we arrived around noon. Some of the teams had websites or Facebook pages for their projects, while others had a few posts on their college’s pages. Hopefully the teams will post more information and pictures in the weeks to come. (More than one team suggested they’d get right on it – after they caught up on their homework…) Here’s the links I was able to find:
- CSU Fresno
- Laney College
- College of the Sequoias
- UC Berkeley
- Cosumnes River College
- Santa Clara University
- San Jose City College
- UC Santa Cruz & Cabrillo College
- CSU Sacramento
- CSU Chico