Santa Clara University students recently won California’s first tiny house competition with 238 square feet of technological and design genius. Called rEvolve House, referencing its ability to track the sun throughout the day to optimize solar gain, the prototypical home was designed in collaboration with Operation Freedom Paws as a low-cost housing solution for veterans training their own service dogs.
Powered by eight 330 Watt Sunmodule solar panels, the self-sufficient tiny home stores its energy in saltwater batteries that are the first to be Cradle-to-Cradle certified, and the Colossus solar tracking mechanism increases its absorption efficiency by 30 percent. In addition to being completely off-grid, the tiny home on wheels is also beautifully designed for surprising comfort. A transforming Murphy bed in the bedroom maximizes space during daylight hours, the full-sized kitchen has a seating area and fold-out table for the same reason, and the wet bathroom uses a dry-flush toilet to eliminate black water.
rEvolve House is not only about as green as they come, with small planters on the facade and a spiral staircase leading to a rooftop terrace, but also boasts deep humanitarian intentions. “The tiny house provides the first step in the journey of empowering veterans to evolve their independence and is a safe haven for them to acclimate and begin training their dogs prior to returning to their respective homes,” the students write in their design brief.
“The Tiny House Competition – Build Small and Win Big” is a new competition in the Sacramento region, challenging collegiate teams to design and build net-zero, tiny solar houses, writes the organizer, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD). “The event, held Saturday, October 15 at Consumnes River College, was open to all colleges and universities in California. Participation promoted an interest in energy conservation, energy efficiency and green building and solar technologies.”