Tiny House

Live small, live efficiently! This is the concept of Folkecenter’s Tiny House!
The building is constructed using sustainable materials which, at the same time, guarantee good indoor climate and which reduce the energy expenses.

What is a Tiny House?

We consider a tiny house a buiding which area is up to 25 m2. Sure, this looks like a small house, but do you really think you need a bigger one?
There are several groups of people for whom a large building is not necessary: for example, young people who would like to become independent without starting a mortgage, or seniors, for whom the house suddenly became too big. By building a tiny house (or living in one), people can get their own space without for that sacrificing years of salary. At the same time, a tiny house can be more sustainable, because it will require a lower amount of energy to heat it up.

Folkecenter’s tiny house is special: not only there is an attention to the financial aspect, but also to the sustainability of the materials: the house is built using natural and recyclable materials as much as possible and its core is constituted by straw panels, which are assembled together as Lego bricks!

Tiny House Workshop(s)

Learn by doing is important, which is why we organized a workshop where people could come and learn how to actually build a tiny house! The workshop took place in the period 24-28 August 2020 and it showed a lot of interest: not only all the places were sold out, but we also had a long waiting list.

The sliding pictures above represent some of the moments of the workshop, with the people taking care of a wide variety of tasks: from moving the straw elements with our electric van, to building the roof structures, everyone did its part. The result is astonishing: in only five days we could raise the house and prepare all the main parts for the next stages!

Tiny house workshop - Folkecenter
Participants of the first workshop (24-28 August 2020) after finishing the work

Build your Own Tiny House Workshop – Part 2

Despite the many efforts we did during the first workshop, it was not possible to finish the Tiny House, which is why a second workshop was organized; contrary to the first one, this was more restricted and the participants were mostly Folkecenter’s trainees and collaborators, with few external people.

The workshop took place on 12-13 October 2020, but Folkecenter people continue working on it for the whole week.

During these days we installed parts of the natural ventilation system, we plastered the walls, finished the ceiling and, most
important of all, we installed the second-hand windows and doors; this means that we can now continue working indoors,
protected from the weather.
Further workshops were planned to take place, so that the process could continue, however, due to the current health restrictions in place, chances are that a lot will be done by Folkecenter team and by the workshop leaders, Lars Keller and Jakob Rasmussen (UPSTRAW Montage)

The Tiny House Construction Continues!

Besides the usual office work, in this period we also had the chance to do some practical work: we are talking about the
construction of our Tiny House, which is appraoching every time more to it finishing line.
The original plan was to have this workshop open for public, but given the health restrictions we had to limit the participation to Folkecenter people (plus Lars Keller and Jo Morandin, the workshop leaders).
Despite that, we managed to progress considerably: we finished the first layer of plastering, we installed a net which gives strength to the material and we almost finished the top plastering layer. Actually, we could have finished it already this time, but we ran out of materials. Nevermind, it will be the first task for the next workshop!

As you can see from the pictures, the weather was not very favourable, but luckily most of the work took place indoors!

The workshop took place on 5-6 December 2020.

Tiny House – Here we go again!

It has been quite some time since we talked about our tiny house, but don’t worry! We haven’t forgotten about that!
The reason for the long silence was partly due to COVID restrictions, which limited our chances of organizing in-person workshops,
but also due to the fact that the two workshop leaders were busy with other projects.
Nevertheless, we have started to work on the house again (4-6 March 2022), also together with our trainees: we have completed the
exterior wood cover and painted it and we are now ready to move to the following steps: the roof and the interior.

Time for some Energy!

After a number of workshops where we took care of the building elements of our Tiny house, it is now time to focus on the habitability: while Jane Bonnerup, the designer who is taking care of the furniture, is drawing her ideas, we have decided to move on with something we are more familiar with: giving electricity to the building!

Needless to say, our trainees have been a crucial part of this task; with the supervision of our Anker Mardal, they had to design and install the off-grid system, starting from some second hand batteries.

The first part of the project, which was the installation of two PV panels for charging the batteries, was carried out by Ramiro and Rasmus back in April. Luisa joined them in May, so with the additional help, the international team could move on much quicker.

First, they needed to take the individual batteries and join them together, so that a decent capacity could be obtained. The design of the battery pack was, by far, the task that took most time, since they had to first learn about batteries in general and then solder the connections between all the 48 units.

Next, they installed the off-grid inverter, which was kindly donated by Victron Energy (together with a lot of other very interesting material). The batteries were then placed under one of the terraces of the Tiny house, so that visitors can see them, in a way that they can be protected from rain.

The final wiring took 3-4 days, during which the trainees followed both the instructions of Anker and the ones provided by the manual from Victron Energy. The system was also designed in a way so that the battery pack can be expanded, if needed.

As a result, the Tiny house is now equipped with a solar-powered 168 Ah battery, which we expect that can cover the needs of the building (few lamps and a computer) for 2-3 days*; in principle, a longer time could be achieved, but keeping discharging the battery after 50% would considerably reduce its lifetime.

Joachim, our new media person, has published a video where the off-grid Tiny house is shown, and where the trainees talk about their experience. You can find the video here.

* considering a consumption of 120 Wh for 3.5 hours/day

Stay tuned: more news will follow!