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.