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:

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

June Tiny House Tours/Workshops at the Klay Winery

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Come to the beautiful Laurel mountains, 65 miles SE of Pittsburgh, PA. and learn all about tiny houses on wheels. Take a 30 minute tour of the charming Silver Bullet Tiny House, by designer, builder, artist and author, Vera Struck for $15. You will discover repurposed and reclaimed resources, renewable energy systems, a zero waste, off-grid tiny house on wheels made from sustainable non-toxic materials. For the serious tiny house enthusiasts we recommend the 3 hour workshop  $75., where you will learn tiny house building systems, tiny house decisions about trailers, materials, building design, parking, zoning, etc.

30 minute tours for the tiny house curious, $15., $20 at the door. Pre-purchase your tickets here for whichever day you wish to come. Pre-ticket holders get preference over at the door buyers.

The 30 minute tours are limited to 12 attendees per session

June 11th: 30 minute tour (on the hour 1PM, 2PM, 3PM, 4PM)

June 12th: 30 minute tour (on the hour 10AM, 11AM, 1PM, 2PM)

June 18th: 30 minute tour (on the hour 1PM, 2PM, 3PM, 4PM)

June 19th: 30 minute tour (on the hour 10AM, 11AM, 1PM, 2PM)

The 3 hour tiny house workshop gets you:

• entrance to the enchanting grounds of the Christian W. Klay Winery

• 3 hour tour and workshop in and around the Silver Bullet Tiny House. Learn about the tiny house movement and Vera’s personal tiny house journey. Ms. Struck will share her building envelope design based on bio-mimicry. She will discuss many of the tiny house decisions that face those enthusiast’s curious about the movement. Trailer modification, design process, framing, sheathing, downsizing transitions, insulation and energy systems will be covered. Includes light refreshments, building samples and 30 minute Q&A session. Bring your sense of humor!!

• Includes light refreshments, and building resource samples (as long as they last, so register early)

• a copy of her e-book, “Living the Sustainable Tiny Life” will be included in the tour/workshop

• after each workshop the Christian W. Klay Winery will provide a wine tasting

June 11th: 9-12 AM Limited to 12 attendees 

June 18th: 9-12 AM Limited to 12 attendees

If you are planning an entire weekend of enjoyment in the Laurel Highlands, we suggest:

• enjoying one of the many local white water rafting challenges

• visiting one of the three Frank Lloyd Wright homes (including Falling Water, 10 minutes away)

• visit the Ridge Runner Distillery across the street

• take in a swim, golf, a spa treatment, or a holistic healing session at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

Comments about her book:
Once I started reading Living the Sustainable Tiny Life, I couldn’t put it down. In addition to Vera’s inspiring personal journey, she gives the reader a detailed look at how and why she designed each element of her house the way that she did. I was surprised to learn that she managed to get her floor to have an R value of 33 with an ingenious design and construction method. I definitely recommend this book for anyone considering but isn’t sure if they can gain the skills required to do it themselves. Living the Sustainable Tiny Life will give you the kick you need to get moving!” – Ethan Waldman, Tiny House Designer/Builder/Dweller/Author of Tiny House DecisionsTiny House Parking
Other comments about her e-book by tiny house movement leaders can be seen here.

 

How 2016 Begins for the Silver Bullet Tiny House

Yikes! It has been a busy 2015 bringing the Silver Bullet Tiny House to 95% completion, facilitating my own and other tiny house leader workshops, speaking regionally and nationally. The good news, is that I’ll finally be able to get out on the road and meet you all and have the privilege of inspiring others to live the “sustainable tiny life”. The bad news is that my commitment to my sustainable education non-profit, my funding work, tiny house community work and construction have kept me too busy to blog frequently. That will change.

I am still refining the interior and waiting to install the wooden stove (it has taken months to be hand-crafted carefully) and add the permanent solar solution before trekking out on tour this summer. I am so excited to help others dive deeper into new renewable technologies, smarter products, re-up their resource stewardship, learn reclamation and resource repurposing, understand social and cultural responsibility, improve their sustainable lifestyle choices and find more affordable and efficient ways to embed those into their lifestyles.

Most of all, I cannot wait to meet all of my fellow tinyhousers and hear your amazing stories and journeys to a simpler more substantive lifestyle.

This year I will be blogging from the road about our direct engagement and outreach to individuals, families and workers through our continued speaking engagements, co-sponsoring of workshop events, and our Silver Bullet Tiny House American tour this summer. The tour schedule is just beginning to take shape and will remain fluid with stops at corporate sponsor locations, universities, schools and community locations across the country. The tour schedule will be posted later in Spring. See you down the road…if you have an organization, college, university or tiny house group along the way that would value a visit, please notify me in the comments.

In the mean time, a quick heads-up about my mentor, Deek Diedricksen, tiny house luminary extraordinare. He has a stellar cast of tiny housers at his next workshop, Feb. 5-7 at an amazing venue, the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton. My friend Palo, Martin, and others will be speaking and working right along with you! Make sure you sign up quickly as he sells out fast! Click on this link, BUILD SMALL.

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Note from the fashion world. What do you do with leftovers from a tiny house or micro shelter build? I have free-cycled them, given them away AND repurposed them into eco couture to raise money for one of my other favorite sustainability non-profits, Long Way Home. Check this out from Benjamin Obdyke:

http://www.benjaminobdyke.com/education-events/slicker-becoming-a-fashion-accessory/

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A Not So “Tiny” New Year Announcement

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A Not So “Tiny” New Year Announcement

We are pleased to announce that on December  31, 2015 EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO), powerful online research database, donated funds to sponsor a solar renewable energy system to TerraBluTeams.org, our 501c3 non-profit, to complete a unique sustainable education project built in Massachusetts.

Ms. Vera Struck, explains that her project, Silver Bullet Tiny House, is an innovative example of sustainable renewable energy design and is based on bio-mimicry. She will inspire individuals with the Silver Bullet at regional workshops, and institutions, capping off a summer tour in Colorado Springs, August 5-7th, 2016, at the 2nd International Tiny House Jamboree.

Struck said,” The Silver Bullet Tiny House is an excellent classroom exhibit for living a sustainable lifestyle. All the materials were sustainably vetted and are non-toxic; of which 60% are reclaimed and repurposed resources. EBSCO gave us our first seed money to develop sustainable lifestyle curriculum and has provided scholarships for dozens of students to our hands-on Living the Sustainable Tiny Life workshops since 2012. We are thrilled they will be helping us complete the project to enable us to expand our educational outreach.”
 
EBSCO will sponsor an event this Spring at their Ipswich facility kicking off the TerraBluTeams National Sustainable Lifestyle Tour. The Silver Bullet Tiny House has been featured globally on Youtube, and the personal story of Ms. Struck’s tiny house journey was recently released in an e-book, “Living the Sustainable Tiny Life”.

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.