Our first Christmas in the tiny house

Tiny House Christmas

How exciting!

Last year, we were sad that we didn’t manage to move into our house in time for Christmas. This year, we are even more excited about Christmas. Not only are we living in our cute house for almost a year now but we’ll be celebrating Christmas with dear friends.

We even have the most amazing Christmas tree.

We didn’t miss a thing at our tiny house Christmas party and even had a DIY Christmas tree with handmade reusable decoration. It’s amazing what you can do with some old timber and fabric scraps.

A not so tiny Christmas party

I was somewhat concerned about how we would fit nine people around our small-ish DIY outdoor table and if we even had enough plates and cutlery, haha. After all, for most of the year, it’s only the two of us and we are minimalists who only own items they actually use. So naturally, we don’t have a 12-piece china-set for special occasions sitting around.

Luckily, Paul built a workbench extension earlier in the year which is pretty much an oversized table and provided ample space for our little plant-based Christmas feast. And it turns out that we still have enough plates and cutlery to cater for a party of 9, especially when two of the guests are age 3 and under. 😉 But I did have a plan B…just in case.

Useful tip – get it from the tip!

You might know that Paul and I like to visit our local tip and adjacent second-hand shop when looking for building materials or flower pots, etc. before going to a warehouse. You’d be surprised by the treasures you can find there and by how cheap everything is. I bought a fully functioning iron for $5 once and heaps of nice flower pots for next to nothing.

Especially around Christmas time, I noticed heaps of brand new plates and glasses at the tip shop, some even still in their original boxes. So my plan B would have been to buy plates from there and to return them after Christmas should we have been in need for more spare plates, bowls or even glasses. This way I avoid buying single-use or brand new items as I find both options equally bad.

What do you think? Is this a more sustainable solution?

Our zero emissions tiny home

water lily pond
Our way to a zero emissions home!

One of the biggest reasons for building a tiny house is our desire to live in a zero emissions home. Therefore we only want to use renewable energies to power our appliances. We also want to be independent of power and gas companies, even if they sell green energy. Because we want to go one step further and live a 100% off the grid. I reckon this is doable, especially here in Australia! In the following article, I will explain the off-grid setup we have in mind for our tiny house.

Solar panels for our roof

We will have solar panels on our roof, of course! We already bought our solar power setup because we want to power our tools with solar electricity while building the tiny house. Therefore we have two panels set up already. And they work great!
There will be six solar panels in total sitting on our roof. Each panel will bring in 310 W, so together the six panels should generate 1.86 kW of electricity generously provided by the sun. We will use solar power for our fridge, washing machine, lights and to charge phones and laptops.

Solar hot water for our shower

We will heat our water with a solar hot water heater. The system will be ground-mounted because the water tank is too heavy for our roof. Also, our small roof is already full with solar panels. With the solar hot water system we have in mind, the water tank is directly coupled to the solar collectors. The tank will be around 180 L, that should be enough for two people. We still have to figure out a way to heat water on overcast days. Perhaps a gas booster might do the trick? This is yet to be determined.

Biogas digester for cooking

We want to produce our own biogas, therefore we will have a mini biodigester in front of our tiny house. We will use biogas to power our kitchen gas cooktop and oven.

How does a biodigester work? A biodigester mimics a cow’s stomach. The digester is fed with organic material (organic food scraps, manure, humanure) which is then broken down into biogas in an oxygen-free environment (water). Biogas, therefore, consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. In addition to that, we can use the excess water from the digester as fertiliser since it will be rich in nutrients from the decomposing procedure.

Rain water and grey water collection for us and the garden

We will set up a water collection system for our tiny house in order to collect rainwater. This system will consist of a 5000 L or perhaps even 10,000 L water tank behind the tiny house and guttering around the roof. But our roof is significantly smaller than regular houses, so in order to collect as much water as possible, we will also utilise our front deck canopy for water collection. At this point, we are worried that the tiny house might not be able to collect enough water and also that it might not rain enough in this area. Time will show.
In addition to that, we will collect our grey water and use it for watering our plants. This also means that we will use eco-friendly cleaning products and soaps, since we don’t want to kill our plants, right?!

This is our plan for a zero emissions tiny house. We’re quite excited to go off grid and can’t wait to see it all in action. We also hope that these efforts will reduce our carbon footprint tremendously.

Our zero emissions tiny house

water lily pond
Our way to zero emissions home!

One of the biggest reasons for building a tiny house is our desire to live in a zero emissions home. Therefore we only want to use renewable energies to power our appliances. We also want to be independent of power and gas companies, even if they sell green energy. Because we want to go one step further and live a 100% off the grid. I reckon this is doable, especially here in Australia! In the following article, I will explain the off-grid setup we have in mind for our tiny house.

Solar panels for our roof

We will have solar panels on our roof, of course! We already bought our solar power setup because we want to power our tools with solar electricity while building the tiny house. Therefore we have two panels set up already. And they work great!

There will be six solar panels in total sitting on our roof. Each panel will bring in 310 W, so together the six panels should generate 1.86 kW of electricity generously provided by the sun. We will use solar power for our fridge, washing machine, lights and to charge phones and laptops.

Solar hot water for our shower

We will heat our water with a solar hot water heater. The system will be ground-mounted because the water tank is too heavy for our roof. Also, our small roof is already full of solar panels. With the solar hot water system we have in mind, the water tank is directly coupled to the solar collectors. The tank will be around 180 L, that should be enough for two people. We still have to figure out a way to heat water on overcast days. Perhaps a gas booster might do the trick? This is yet to be determined.

Biogas digester for cooking

We want to produce our own biogas, therefore we will have a mini biodigester in front of our tiny house. We will use biogas to power our kitchen gas cooktop and oven.

How does a biodigester work? A biodigester mimics a cow’s stomach. The digester is fed with organic material (organic food scraps, manure, humanure) which is then broken down into biogas in an oxygen-free environment (water). Biogas, therefore, consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. In addition to that, we can use the excess water from the digester as fertiliser since it will be rich in nutrients from the decomposing procedure.

Rainwater and grey water collection for us and the garden

We will set up a water collection system for our tiny house in order to collect rainwater. This system will consist of a 5000 L or perhaps even 10,000 L water tank behind the tiny house and guttering around the roof. But our roof is significantly smaller than regular houses, so in order to collect as much water as possible, we will also utilise our front deck canopy for water collection. At this point, we are worried that the tiny house might not be able to collect enough water and also that it might not rain enough in this area. Time will show.

In addition to that, we will collect our grey water and use it for watering our plants. This also means that we will use eco-friendly cleaning products and soaps, since we don’t want to kill our plants, right?!

This is our plan for a zero-emissions tiny house. We’re quite excited to go off grid and can’t wait to see it all in action. We also hope that these efforts will reduce our carbon footprint tremendously.