Tim’s Tiny Home Project Notes 4

An ongoing series.  Part three here.

Gambling on Solar

Solar Gambles

Minimum and Maximum Wagers

Maximum: (600 WATT HOURS/DAY)  

Based on real world experience with a modern high-output 10 watt LED lightbulb, Tim’s Tiny Home’s total energy budget for LED lighting is being set at 100 watts energy draw per hour.   That seems weighted far enough into the “overkill zone” to cover even my most fanciful ambiance illumination ruminations. Running all 100 watts of LED lighting simultaneously for six hours requires 600 watt/hours of daily energy capacity.

Minimum: (100 WATT HOURS/DAY)

In a minimalist configuration, the light from my current 10 watt LED bulb is quite sufficient to adequately light my little corner of Europe.  Running that solitary, yet powerful high-output bulb (or a combination of smaller bulbs totaling ten watts) a full six hours every night would require a mere 60 watt/hours of daily energy generation and collection!  In an all-out survival mode I could switch from a single ten watt bulb to a five watt (or less!) bulb, cutting the total tiny home solar illumination budget to a mere 20 watt hours/day.  For expediency, I’m going to use the 60 watt hour per day minimalist figure and round that up to 100 watt/hours per day.  Adding “excess” capacity covers unavoidable innate system inefficiencies which I suspect might be more pronounced in a system design so close to the margin.

TV illumination

In addition to the dedicated 12V solar lighting system in Tim’s Tiny Home there will also be a parallel solar system of much larger capacity designed to run 110 volt electrical appliances that will be fleshed out in the near future.  One of those appliances will be an LED TV/monitor (or LED DLP projector!!) which will cast a good dose of light into the living room on it’s own accord.

Budgetary Considerations

Twelve Hundred Dollar Bargain

This light can be yours for just under $1200!

In order to keep my overall tiny home budget somewhat under the construction cost of the Taj Mahal, my target budget for lighting is 1000 dollars.  Setting a thousand dollars as a limit constrains possible system permutations to a manageable amount.

The various parts of any total system must work together in harmony no matter what budget you set for your solar design project.

There’s something internally satisfying about being able to say that my entire home lighting system, top to bottom, costs less than a good chandelier for the entry foyer of an average yuppie McMansion!
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Tim’s Tiny Home Project Notes 3

This is a continuing series.  Part two is here.

Tiny Home Infrastructure and Systems


The Future of Lighting

I’ve always been a huge fan of mood and indirect ambient lighting so I’d like to try and incorporate as much indirect and ambient lighting as I can in Tim’s Tiny Home. It would be really sweet to integrated the lighting directly into the building design whenever possible. Workspaces will make use of built-in LED spot and down lights . Space lighting will be provided by two or three 10 watt LED light bulbs. I’m paying less than ten euro for these types of bulbs now and they are the first bulbs I’ve seen that can match ‘normal’ incandescents in light quality.  I can’t imagine needing any more than two or three to brightly and cheerfully illuminate the interior of such a diminutive environment.
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Tim’s Tiny Home Project Notes 2

This is the second part of a continuing series.  Part one here.

Construction Issues

Stylized Tiny Home of Wheels

Many of the current tiny homes are built on trailers to avoid odious issues with building codes as well as to aid in their being more easily transported and relocated. While understandable, this imposes some serious limitations on the weight, size and height of the overall structure, as well as the type of building materials and construction details involved in the planning thereof. The smallest tiny homes are under a hundred square feet and the largest I’d consider ‘tiny’ would measure in at under twenty feet per side. Anything more than ten or twelve feet wide is going to be near impossible to relocate at any reasonable cost. Any way you slice it, portable or fixed location, a home with less of a footprint than four hundred square feet is definitely tiny by any normative American standard.
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