Silver Bullet is going to Earth Day Texas 2017

We are excited to announce that Vera is the Renogy Solar Ambassador to Earth Day Texas, April 21-23, 2017. Earth Day Texas is the largest global Earth Day event and takes place at Fair Park, Dallas, Texas, 10AM to 6PM each day.

It is our pleasure to provide tours of the zero-waste, all clean energy, solar powered Silver Bullet Tiny House. Take your shoes off, bring your sense of humor and meet Vera Struck, who designed and built a simple, off-grid, sustainable life style.

Her tiny house journey and build are available in her sustainable e-book, ‘Living the Sustainable Tiny Life’ (discount code is available to attendees).

She will be premiering the 2nd edition of her e-book, ‘Living the Sustainable Tiny Life Handbook’, a ten-week process workbook to get you on the road to designing your own sustainable lifestyle!

Step inside the creative, non-toxic, healthy, all sustainable materials tiny house on wheels built by this sustainability dynamo. Her design, based on bio-mimicry, made a tiny home that breathes just like the rest of us.

Be sure to be the first in line each day to see Vera’s Silver Bullet Tiny House for a special Top 5 Sustainable Lifestyle Practice Demo! We’ll see you there!

 

The Silver Bullet Tiny House is powered by a solar solution purchased from:

 

 

2017 Tiny House Summit

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Sign up for the Tiny House Summit

What is the 2017 Tiny House Summit?

February 20-24  Five Days!

An online conference where you can learn all about tiny houses and small-scale living from tiny house community leaders!

Join the Silver Bullet Tiny House designer/builder/dweller/author, Vera Struck, along with many of her friends and colleagues!

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Best Tiny Home Award

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So honored that my Silver Bullet Tiny House won the best ‘Tiny Home’ award out of 90 tiny structures on wheels at the Florida Tiny House Festival this month. I was also honored to be chosen as Renogy’s Solar Ambassador to the festival and am so pleased to be powered by Renogy.

I purchased my 2nd generation solar solution for the 5 year old tiny home early this year and love being powered solely by renewable energy. You can learn more about my choice here.

 

 

Solar Solutions for Tiny Houses

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As many of you know, the ‘Silver Bullet Challenge’ I set out to achieve back in 2012 took me a few years to attain. Building a good quality air ‘breathing’ building envelope, zero-waste, safe, sturdy, road-worthy, off-grid tiny house on wheels for less than $20,000 has been my pleasure to achieve.

As a reclamation artist and sustainability lifestyle educator I travel cross-country to give sustainable lifestyle workshops, presentations, find artistic inspiration and speak about the tiny house movement.

I and my Silver Bullet Tiny House will be at the Florida Tiny House Festival this week, November 18-20th at the Florida St. Augustine Fairgrounds. Come and see it!

Touring often takes me to urban or rural environments in freezing or warm weather so I built 4 portable solar panel holders for my Renogy 2000 Watt Solar System. I can set an array up quickly, keep them clean and maintain them easily. These robust panels have survived 9,000 miles of touring and provide me all the energy I need!

How to go solar can be challenging, but surmountable for a tiny house. My requirements were as follows:

  1. Good quality solar panels with a long life, durable, sturdy connectors, cords and brackets for my customized portable use.
  2. System expandability options, quality manufacturing, safe for tiny houses.
  3. Reasonably priced, easy to install and configure, mounting options for later permanent array completion.

Early this year I purchased a Renogy solar package as my 2nd generation solar solution for the reasons I listed above.*

First, I reduced my energy usage by solarizing everything I could and purchasing products that convert energy you use to cook into energy you need to charge. For most of the year, I cook on a Biolite grill/stove, which powers my tech toys while cooking. I also use both interior and exterior solar lights, 12 volt light fixtures, vacuum and heating, so I can easily function in any off-grid situation.

Secondly, I assessed my wattage usage. That calculation can be made with several online wattage calculators, based on your daily usage and wattage draw from your appliances.

In my case, as a single person at this point in my life, my appliances are minimal. When I called Renogy, they were very informative and tolerant of all my questions and came up with a customized kit based on my wattage calculation, my specific tiny house build and installation requirements.

This is my system:

Renogy 2000 Watt Solar System is installed inside my insulated and vented storage cabinet that sits over my extended trailer yoke. (4-250W solar panels, Midnite Classic 200 Charge Controller, Midnite Combiner Box, Midnite Circuit Breaker, 2000W Inverter, and assorted cables, quad enclosure, etc.)

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I love my clean renewable energy Renogy solution! It works for me.

* My first generation solar solution was a Yeti 1250 Kit from Goal Zero. That clean energy solution worked well for pre-living wattage needs and some small building tools; however, their product, by their own admission, last only “hundreds of cycles”. Thus, I was looking for a more permanent long-life solution.

Systems Thinking for your Tiny House on Wheels

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Drawing by Peter Senge, author of the Fifth Discipline, The Art and Practice of the Leadership Organization

 

I was introduced to Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows back in the 90’s. Applying her principles of sustainable stewardship was a challenge. It took me five years from 2004 – 2009 to downsize and transition into a simpler, minimal resource, substantive lifestyle. 

“Systems thinking is a management discipline that concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the components that comprise the entirety of that defined system.” Fixing one part doesn’t cut it. Hence, why it took me so long.

For tiny house on wheels designers, builders, dwellers and enthusiasts, that means examining all parts of your tiny house design, your lifestyle needs, and understanding the impact and interactions between your environmental, social, cultural and economic responsibilities.

It was not until 2012, after several workshops and fundraising that I began to design and build the Silver Bullet Tiny House.

At tiny house festivals, tours and my workshops I am constantly asked how I did it. There is much information here in the website archives and I also wrote about my journey and gave details about my build in my first e-book, Living the Sustainable Lifestyle. My second e-book, Living the Sustainable Lifestyle Workbook is the playbook that will, through a series of exercises, help you design your own sustainable lifestyle. And I guarantee you, it won’t take 5 years, like it did me. You can do it in ten weeks because I have made all the mistakes, done the research and can help you do it.

My life is still a work in progress and my Silver Bullet Tiny House has gone through many changes evolving as I go to a more efficient, zero-waste, all renewables, off-grid functional home that is mobile, safe and free of fossil fuel dependencies.

Here are some useful reduction tips and tricks I used to lower my carbon and water footprint. After calculating my wattage usage for my few appliances and electronics, it was easier to find a renewable energy solution. These simple practices and others have saved me considerable time and money, giving me greater opportunities to socialize and travel while saving the planet for my child and her children and other generations to come.

WATER:

• I save 35 gallons of potable water a day (at my age 5 flushes @7 gallons per), or 12,800 gallons per year with a compost toilet.  By composting your organic material, you are able to sequester 80 pounds of carbon into usable fertilizer. Read Humanure, a great handbook.

• With 3 ‘military showers‘ a week you can reduce your water usage to 6 gallons a week or 312 gallons a year. I will warn you, it takes a couple of weeks to perfect your technique!

The average American uses 32,850 gallons of water a day, I reduced my total water usage to 1,900 gallons per year and I believe you can too!* (That includes my consumption in juice or water of 2 gallons a day.)

LIGHT/ELECTRICITY/HEAT:

• 90% of my evening lighting comes from solar sources, the remaining lights are 12V LED’s.

• 70% of the year I cook on my Biolite grill/stove which charges my electronics while I cook, make hot soup or tea. The other 30% I use a toaster oven and small electric one burner unit. Making cold press coffee is not only healthier for you, but saves considerable energy.

• I have had two generations of wood-burning stoves, even as small at 12″ square and they were both too hot for my 34R value building envelope in 148 SF tiny home on wheels. Currently I am using a small electric unit which only requires evening usage during the Fall, and all day usage during the winter in New England. I am still searching for an even smaller wood stove (I like seeing logs burn, even tiny ones!) or other evolved heating solutions.

• I have reduced my appliances to a toaster oven, small burner unit, a tiny refrigerator, my 4 gallon water heater, my 12V pump and the occasional use of my VitaMix, which allows me to get by with a 2000W solar system.

FOOD:

• I maintain an exterior organic garden and a vertical garden (herbs and lettuce) that uses water that I harvest from rain. A  10′ x 12′ garden plot requires 74 gallons of potable water per week. By water harvesting, I save up to 3,500 gallons of potable water per year! This obviously is adjusted based on rain, your water harvesting system storage size, etc.

Although these are just a few sustainable tips and tricks I utilize, a more extensive design and strategic plan can be found in my handbook.

Next week I will go into more details about that calculation and my clean energy solar solution for the Silver Bullet Tiny House.

 

 

*This does not include indirect water consumption for other environmental services. For example, how much water it takes to grow the vegetables I eat, make the t-shirt I’m wearing, etc.

Silver Bullet becomes Renogy Ambassador to Florida Tiny House Festival


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We are pleased to be Renogy‘s Solar Ambassador to the Florida Tiny House Festival November 18-20th at the St. Augustine Fairgrounds!

It is our pleasure to provide tours of the zero-waste, all clean solar powered Silver Bullet Tiny House. Take your shoes off, bring your sense of humor and meet Vera Struck, who designed and built a simple, off-grid, sustainable life style.

Her tiny house journey and build are available in her sustainable e-book, ‘Living the Sustainable Tiny Life’ (discount code is available to attendees).

She will be premiering her new e-book, ‘Living the Sustainable Tiny Life Handbook’, a ten-week process workbook to get you on the road to designing your own sustainable lifestyle!

Step inside the creative, non-toxic, healthy, all sustainable materials tiny house on wheels built by this sustainability dynamo. Her design based on bio-mimicry made a tiny home that breathes just like the rest of us.

You can find her speaker and workshop schedule at the festival here.

 

The Silver Bullet Tiny House is powered by a solar solution purchased from:

renogylogo

See the Silver Bullet at Deek’s Summer Camp #4

Hi everybody! I got back home from the tour September 1st and I have been rushing to get the Silver Bullet clean, repaired and ready to show all of Derek Diedricksen’s attendees at his annual Summer Camp (#4) in Vermont. I am heading up this morning and cannot wait to see you all!

For those of you who want to hear the NPR interview I had in Ohio, click here. My piece begins at 5:20 in this 30 minute segment.

Feel free to check out my new Living the Sustainable Tiny Life Workbook here.

Fall-1025 - This was presented by tiny house rock star, Andrew Morrison when he spoke in Brazil!

Fall-1025 – This was presented by tiny house rock star, Andrew Morrison when he spoke in Brazil!