Infill Net Zero Tiny House Gets City of Berkeley Love
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates attended an actual ribbon-cutting ceremony for this cottage. Not because it is great architecture.
The carbon costs are essentially zero because a Sungevity solar installation makes more electricity for the Berkeley grid than is used. The local utility, PG&E credits the household for producing and shipping to the grid.
The city – known affectionately hereabouts as Berzerkley – is all about sustainable growth, as the future-friendly alternative to today’s unsustainable suburban sprawl. That means more cottages in back yards, more infill, more density. More solar power. More insulation like this, with R-19 walls, and double glazed windows.
The Berkeley-based tiny cottage builder New Line Homes built it for Karen Chapple, the UCB Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning for just $98,000, including the building and zoning permits needed.
As New Line Homes say on their website, at that price, the cost of a backyard cottage can be recouped in under four years with rentals. In Berkeley self-contained cottages do in fact rent for up to $25,000 a year.
The tiny house is actually larger than it looks. The simple style, almost like a child’s drawing, masks a relatively spacious interior, in the same way as the US version of the Volkswagen Beetle is much bigger than its forbear, but because of its “cute” styling, looks more toy-like and tiny than it is.
Not that it is that big. At 420 square feet it is smaller than most apartments.
But unlike the case with apartments, because the cottage is freestanding; it is possible to put windows on all four sides, which reduces the claustrophobic effects of squeezing so much into such a small space.
“We favor increasing the number of secondary units. It’s the only goal we have added to the housing element of our general plan this year,” says Debra Sanderson, Planning Manager at the City of Berkeley.
Via Jetson Green