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:

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Silver Bullet Tiny House Tour Dispatch #2

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After sleeping off a storm in the tiny house on Mount Echo I headed through Ohio and stopped at the Newark Earthworks where Don Moder, the executive director, gave me a personal impassioned history of the indigenous people’s who constructed them. These earthworks are huge and amazing to hike around in. I can’t wait to come back and investigate the infamous Serpent Mound in Southern Ohio with some of my tiny house friends!

 

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You never know who you might meet at the next rest or truck stop!

I met some ‘schoolies’ who had incorporated their perfectly level, floating DJ table right into their tiny home on wheels. Austin and Troy of noblesavage_us, please come to the Tiny House Jamboree!

That red truck cab in the left corner was being repaired at the truck stop I slept at that night. Yikes, the cab was as long as my tiny – 18′!

And there is always time to give an impromptu tour to a lovely group of ‘tiny curious’ women. I’m in there somewhere!IMG_3516

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However, that was not the only excitement of the day. I had my first FB tiny house stalker who found me! LOL. She’s a really great gal, a trucker. No wonder she figured out where I was. I wish I had heard here knock at the door. We could have had a slumber party!

 

 

 

I headed for Fairfield, Iowa, the global capital of Transcendental Meditation training. I parked along the side of the town square and had fun looking at all the mini-libraries.

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The Silver Bullet was toured by Maharishi University professors, students, neighbors and the ‘tiny house curious’ as it sat at the Seed Center, in the middle of an idyllic farm field.Met so many lovely folks that really appreciated the net zero, all renewable energy tiny house I designed and built based on bio-mimicry.And everyone seems to enjoy my Tuftex awnings. Who knew?

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The Midwest is mostly flat. I grew up in Minnesota. It’s the beef belt, the dairy belt, the cheese belt, the corn belt and the wheat belt. So I could hardly wait to get to Colorado and the mountains! Because my July workshop venue got cancelled I would now have three weeks of vacation for myself! Yippee! I haven’t had one in five years, it’s about time.
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And my daughter tells me I was featured in the Boston Globe. Woot, woot!

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By the time I got to my parking spot I was so sick I could barely stand. Oh yeah, AMS, an acute case of elevation or mountain sickness. The vertigo and congestion kept me from climbing up to the loft. Thankfully I got over it by resting and drinking tons of water. I spent my 2nd weeks of vacation in Colorado Springs playing tourista visiting sites I hadn’t seen since the 1980’s!

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I visited a friend in Fort Garland who built his own tiny and have hosted many dinner-tours at the Silver Bullet with other tinyhousers and friends. I am currently completing two books and prepping my booth for the 2016 Tiny House Jamboree! I’ll be in Vendor Booth #13 next to Onduline and Unforgettable Fire (Kimberly stoves) so come on by for some tiny house talk and sustainable lifestyle education! My sustainable lifestyle workshop is being held on Saturday morning 9:30-10:00AM at the workshop area! Hope to see you there.

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A few more interesting tiny house questions (and answers) from this touring/workshop segment:

  1. “What do you mean your house breathes like an animal?” I’ve lived in several parts of the country where my homes suffered from too much moisture and mold (Atlanta,Asheville) and I wanted to design a non-toxic net zero home that would have the ability to dry itself off and maintain decent air quality. I did that by designing an innovative vented roof, baffles, eave vents and rain screen layers based on biomimicry. Read more here.
  2. “What are those adorable little spherical windows?” Derek Diedricksen, my tiny house mentor, turned me onto those 4 years ago, they are available here.
  3. “Why are you already needing a 2nd generation solar system?” My first generation solar system was two 1450Yeti Goal Zero packages. I found both the batteries bulky, because you have to have them inside and plug everything into them. That means cords all over the place and it is unsightly. Also, I found that they could not guarantee their panels would last for more than 825 charges. Plus after 8 months, the batteries had issues. After doing a keynote speech at the Georgia Tiny House Festival last year, I met some fellows from Renogy, a Canadian firm. I watched their demonstration, raised the funds for a robust 2000W system and it works beautifully for me most of the year with only 2-250W/24V panels; in the winter, I use all four panels in New England.

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This segment’s lessons were learned the hard way:

  1. 5D7288C3-1AC2-43BB-95E9-DAF5D3DE27E4Sometimes your back end will need a lift. Timbrens will help Hi Ho Silver (my Ford 250 SuperDuty) haul my 9,280 lb. Silver Bullet and all my solar panels and tools. My anti-sway bars also help.
  2. Make sure you bring leveling blocks with you wherever you park.
  3. Try to suppress your disgust when revisiting pristine state and national parks when you see how they have changed after 40 years.
  4. It never gets old to see the excitement when folks visit and tour your net zero, all renewable tiny house.
  5. Hiking and walking in nature always brings a smile while soothing the soul.

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Why Tiny? Why Now?

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Last week I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a brief history of the tiny house movement and speak about my Silver Bullet tiny house journey/build to a group that convenes monthly called Local Poverty Matters.

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I spoke about my moral imperative of solving climate change, the desperate lack of affordable housing, and my homelessness as a single human in a world of diminishing resources.

Most of the homeless, like me, do not want a hand-out. We want a hand-up. After being socially ostracized, discounted and marginalized, we are often invisible to other Americans. The American Dream I grew up with is dead. So I invented and chose a new American Dream. I created the Silver Bullet Tiny House Challenge.

Could I build a non-toxic, off-grid, all renewable energy fed, resilient sustainable lifestyle in a mobile tiny house on wheels? Could it be made of reclaimed, repurposed sustainable materials and cost less than $20,000.? Could it serve as a mobile educational exhibit that could inspire individuals and families to decrease their carbon footprint, their economic costs and improve their community involvement by freeing up more time and control of their lives?

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Taking my future in my own hands, I designed a beautiful, biomimetic tiny house that nurtures my sustainable lifestyle. I used reclaimed resources, found sponsors, repurposed what others left on the roadside, and made my own home. Nature is never more than four feet away from me in any direction. I love that.

The details of my story and build are in my recently released e-Book, if you want to know more. Proceeds from the book support me giving workshops on sustainable living across the USA starting in Spring, 2016.

Here’s the thing about my homelessness. Deciding to take my own fate in my own hands, even with obstacles like my disabilities*, my poor health, no funds, no social or career possibilities imminent, fostered within me a resilience I only fantasized was possible. That is, until I achieved my solution.

Creating my own hand-up was not easy; however, others were inspired by my passion, drive and commitment to live a simple, tiny, healthier, zero-waste footprint lifestyle and they helped me any way they could.

I gained self-esteem, construction skills galore, lost weight, grew muscle (both physically and psychologically), found my “happy place” and finally, I gained social and community acceptance. The journey was incredibly challenging with many turning points in which I almost quit. But like all great journeys and projects, when finished, the joy and glory of seeing my accomplishment, knowing I reached all my goals, was an amazing reward.

I have achieved wellness all around. I will live in a non-toxic, all renewable energy, self bio-mimetically designed, hand-built, mobile home.

That’s why “tiny” and that’s why “now”.

You can donate here. Every dollar helps me to help others.

* Although I have been classified by the State of Massachusetts as disabled, I have never collected any disability income from any source, private or public, Federal or State.

Biomimicry in Tiny House Roofing?

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What is biomimicry in construction design and planning? You can find some examples of biomimetic architecture here.

Traditional solutions like plywood, roofing felt, and shingles is basic residential roofing, right? I grew up in, purchased and lived most of my life in homes built like this without realizing how toxic those materials can be to human health and how little their manufactured design prevents rotting, mold, airflow and longevity of the life of the resource/product. And that’s not even thinking of how to recycle, reuse or repurpose those resources!

For my tiny house/classroom build, I chose to use healthier alternatives while applying biomimetic principles by creating a traditional looking structure as close to mimicking our integumentary and skeletal systems as possible. After all, our bodies are incredible human machines! And if we treat them right, they are quite sustainable!

I choose innovative and well designed products AND manufacturers that embody sustainable practices in their product’s manufacturing and/or their management/operating practices.

I designed the Silver Bullet’s “envelope” to imitate nature with great “bones” (advanced framing) and great “skin and hair” to be waterproof, regulate temperature, and circulate air to dry itself  (or should I say Zip panels by Huber and Homeslicker Rainscreen or CedarBreather by Benjamin Obdyke).

This material comes in about a  62′ long roll, 39″ wide and is very easy to install, especially for a novice builder like me. And the manufacturer was helpful in explaining to me how to install their product for my customized purposes.

CedarBreather is a nylon mesh type matrix that has repeated mesh 3D cupcake forms across its surface. This 1/4″ compressed layer provides cushioning, eliminates moisture, prevents cupping, rotting, and is fire resistant. Ideal for the common issues that normally plague all tiny-housers.

Below you can see the layers I built. The Zip board over the rafters, the Cedarbreather over that, then the corrugated steel panels. CedarBreather allows controlled airflow over the roof deck between the ridge beam, baffled rafters and vented eave louvres.

Another tiny house construction project completed by an amateur successfully! Yay! And this means the sound of rain on the roof will be a little softer as I fall asleep looking at the stars in one of my lofts. And the last thing on my mind will be the effects of moisture on my tiny house structure!

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*Check out a similar ventilated underlayment, Homeslicker Rainscreen, I installed on my walls here.

Article in Green Builder Media about the Silver Bullet:

http://www.greenbuildermedia.com/tiny-houses/underlayments-protect-tiny-house-from-excess-moisture

A Tiny House that Breathes?

Three years ago I was thinking about my future tiny house envelope and chose to incorporate biomimicry as much as I could. This traveling educational exhibit, traditionally designed, to educate others on sustainable lifestyles and building retrofits, rehabs and/or repurposed construction can still incorporate biomimetics in its product choices. My next tiny house will be far more organic in design, with eco-skins, almost imperceptible from its natural surroundings. But I digress.

Nature’s design as inspiration is not new (Sacred Geometry, Golden Mean, etc.). Biomimicry, Cradle to Cradle or LCA (life cycle analysis) concepts are basic inspiration for Smart Sustainable Design.

Deciding on a vented breathing roof and rain screened walls delayed my build a bit and it was well worth it. I began installing Benjamin Obdyke’s product, Homeslicker rainscreen in late Spring during a workshop I held for tiny house enthusiast’s, video below.

My siding applications were done in sections around the house over the summer.*

Later Rainscreen

Note in the middle picture that 3 inches of screen was folded around the edges to allow drainage but discourage insect infestation. More about how to install Homeslicker here.

Homeslicker is a nylon mesh matrix that comes in a 40″ x 46′ roll and has little vertical channels that direct rain flow down the walls surface. It is very easy to install (I’m not a builder) and provides about a 1/8″- 1/4″ air layer, when compressed, between my Zip panels and my metal or wood siding.

Homeslicker will protect your wall assembly from rot and mold, allow moisture to escape, a thermal break, and prevents damage from surfactants between your vapor and siding. A great solution for tiny housers!

*Check out a similar ventilated underlayment, CedarBreather, I installed on my roof here.

Article in Green Builder Media about the Silver Bullet:

http://www.greenbuildermedia.com/tiny-houses/underlayments-protect-tiny-house-from-excess-moisture