Episode-1365- Chris Haynes on Off Grid and Tiny House Living
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Chris Haynes is an electrical and software engineer. He is finishing up a major lifestyle change moving from a full size grid connected house to an off grid tiny house located on a rural lot. He has built a very small (66sf) tiny house and a code compliant 252sf tiny house where he currently lives.
He has been living off grid for over 2 years using a very simple and inexpensive solar system. He shares his experiences in tiny house living at conferences held in the northeast US.
Join Us As We Discuss…
- Living off grid in the modern day
- Building an inexpensive off grid power system
- Making lifestyle changes in order to live off grid
- Reasons to choose a tiny house
- Why you might choose to use DC power for most needs
- Dealing with building inspectors when self building
- Using “super insulation” for energy conservation
- Heating and cooling when off grid
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- The Most Honest Assessment of Climate Change I Have Ever Seen
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Glad you liked the global warming video – you should have Ben on the show, that would be a great interview. He’s kicking off the Observatory Project on June 14, perhaps he can swing through Texas.
He would be welcome any time, just needs to complete the guest form.
This was absolutely one of my favorite shows. I find tiny home design very fascinating. It’s such a different way of thinking than we are used to living in this bigger is better society.
As you can tell by my username lowwattliving, I really enjoyed the fact that he lives on extremely small amounts of power. Battery bank systems and solar panels are my passions and this as with Steven Harris’s shows are some of the best shows for folks like me. I hope to hear from Chris again.
Just thought I would make yall laugh
George Bush on Global Warming Spoof by Will Ferrell
What good timing. I was talking with my cousin last night about him building a tiny house on his property and then this comes out.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not finding the link to the global warming video. I’m on my iphone, is that the problem?
Link doesn’t use the phrase warming at all, go up look at resources and look at the last bullet it says, “The Most Honest Assessment of Climate Change I Have Ever Seen”
Thanks for adding that. It wasn’t there yesterday
I’m somewhat more of an energy pig. I have a 1100 sq foot log home, 1600 watts of solar, six surrette s530’s and an outback vfx2812. I am by no means off grid but I do have on demand hot water, and I heat with wood. Our winters are colder than MA, but comparable . Interesting comment about the pressure tanks, that is something I should upgrade. My well is 120 feet , not sure what the static is, but the pump is a submersible, and is fifteen years old, I could get a DC submersible and an extra tank, my existing pressure tank is only 20 gallons. I worked as an Oracle Consultant in Westboro for EMC in early 2000, and saw some beautiful houses and cottages. Always like MA, but it is pricey
The only issue with the DC pumps is their low flow rate. You really gotta size the pressure tank so you have enough water to deal with things like a washing machine. At 1/2GPM if you run out it takes a while to fill 🙂 .
A couple tricks I have been toying with is a 12 to 24 volt booster so I can crank up the GPM when I do laundry. Sort of a turbo switch….the pump supports up to 30 volts and will pump close to a gallon per minute at 30v.
Another gadget that needs inventing is a resettable pressure switch for the pressure tank. By 3PM my batteries are mostly charged and there is sunlight left to harvest. It would be really cool to reset the pressure switch at a defined time and refill the water tank with that spare sunlight.
@Chris, I like the turbo switch idea. Since I have a pretty good PV array, I may opt for a higher DC voltage. I live alone and don’t do alot of laundry. The other option maybe is to have a 115v pump and run it off my inverter (2400 watt). My daily draw is about 7kw. November is difficult due to low sun and more cloud. Great interview Chris, hope to hear you back on again
I am also in a particular situation where I have some nice red oak that I have to make a decision about soon, since they may start to shade my PV. I am thinking about a roof mount, since I have 8 AWG running from my array to battery box (about 30 Feet). I also have two Blue Sky MPPT charge controllers, 50 amps each, so I am maxed out on those two now
It seems like a direct correlation that the more you know the less you need. All my life my desired house size has gotten continuously smaller. Several other reality based thinkers I’ve known tell me the same thing. Fellow high school grad here, Jack. Those who can’t do, teach. LOL. Just trying to be inflammatory.
What a great episode, and it turns out I’m practically a neighbor with this guy?! Nice to meet ya, Chris.
nice to meet you Jenna!
Jack, I loved your take on the history segment of why the Jews returned to Germany after being expelled. Although I stand by my take, your take was a more inclusive answer and, frankly, better.
Climate Change/Global Warming
I had heard about some of what this guy is describing years ago, when I took this stuff seriously. In fact, I even read a couple of books that went over the historical data and discussed the sunspot/irradiation theory. Basically, it is the only thing that made any sense to me.
A big part of this video is the corruption endemic in science. Few people are aware of this stuff, but it is very much the case. You always have to toe the line whether it is the professor you are working under or the dogma of whatever organization you are trying to get funding from. It is publish or perish, and the easiest way to get published is to follow the party line. And of course, the whole peer reviewed journal idea is pretty much a joke.
The whole diet-heart hypothesis thing to support the low fat/high carb diet, which is finally beginning to implode after making the whole US population sick, is an outstanding example of the corruption in science. You could not even get ten cents from NIH to study anything that was counter to prevailing views. NIH spent $1B on the WHI and bombed big time. It would have been better to just find out how Jack Spirko eats.
My guess is that if this point of view catches on, Congress will pass a law to stimulate sunspots in order to stem the predicted effects.
For off-grid cooling, i wonder how effective a zeer-pot type setup would be for tiny houses. Double-thickness walls filled with sand would act as a great insulator, especially if the walls had removable caps that allowed you to wet the sand with rainwater for natural air conditioning and cover them in the winter. Prob a few kinks to work out.
In the northeast heat usually comes with humidity which reduces the effectiveness of evaporation cooling methods. In a drier climate perhaps.
What was the cost of the build itself (land not included)?
As Jack always says it depends, if you live in an area where you can do everything yourself the cost is much lower and it depends on the size you want in some states and or counties some tiny homes don’t qualify as houses they are considered sheds so they so not fall into some zoning laws…Here’s a YouTube channel by my friend Lamar who lives in Utah and built his tiny off grid home for under $2000 and sells books on how to do it yourself, hope you like it he’s an awesome guy!
I’ve been working out a slide for my porcfest presentation to give a better idea of cost.
+ Without land costs its about $53K
+ If you strip out some of luxury and excess costs (super insulation, plumber, dirt for grass, etc) it could be done for about $37K (house only no land)
If you can recycle building materials especially windows, doors, flooring, siding you can knock those costs down by a decent amount.
I should also add that the “house only” includes well and septic which were about $6K and $13.5K.
and one more thing….
+ Composting toilet can be had for $1000 saving the $13.5K septic if you can get away with some kind of gray water pit/trench.
+ in some areas a dug well and/or rainwater with cistern works well. I use say 12 gallons per day with flush toilet. A 500 gallon cistern would hold close to 6 weeks worth of water.
Without regulations there are ways to save a ton of money.
Great, great show today! I will be listening to this a few times to make some upgrades to my current “suburban house,” and edits to the “future house”
Jack and Chris I absolutely loved this show on tiny homes thanks. Jack I’ve been listening your podcasts since the days of the Jetta. Thank you for all of the information you have given us. You have given me the inspiration to start my own business, homeschool my kids and to be prepared for any curveball life might throw us.
I am in the process of building my own tiny home from scratch. The difference is that we converting school bus into our tiny home. The reason for the bus is that we were not sure where we wanted to live so we decided to make our home mobile. This would allow us to get a taste of the different locations we were thinking of moving. Why not an RV? We have a pretty large family and when we were looking at RVs none of them seems to fit our needs. If anyone is interested in what we are doing we are documenting each step with videos and blog post at http://www.lemonheadpress.com. Maybe if I build up the nerves and when I get further along in my project I will Sign-up to be a guest. Again, thanks for the podcast. It has given me given me the inspiration to move forward and never look back.
I live in your area.I learned whitewater canoeing on the Millers Rive out on route 2. I am also a software engineer but electrical plumbing and construction I know very little. based on your commute time I have a pretty good idea where you live. I live just inside 495
I drive by the Birch hill dam pretty much every day. The millers river is awesome!
there’s a big rapid on the Millers called the funnel. we used to run that even when the river was at flood stage. that was pretty crazy and I’ve calmed down quite a bit since then.you are farther west than I imagined I don’t think there’s so many jobs out that way.most of the software is inside of 495. I used to run the Deerfield River a lot as well
I have a yurt in maine with no electrical anything. when it’s below zero the yurt is too cold.if I wanted to live there year round I would have to build maybe a small shed that was heavily insulated and heat it with a wood stove and stay in there when it was very cold
Do you have a linky for the well pump you mentioned about?
the alt-e store stocks them.
Here’s a good little clip on risk management, don’t let the title put you off ????
It’s about yen minutes long.