In the fall of 2013, a group of students from varying backgrounds came together to accomplish one goal. This goal was to alter people's standards of living, to take a step forward by taking a step back. This idea has been transferred into one house, Chatham Cottage II. The plan is to build a small, affordable, energy efficient home with simple applications such as passive solar design, thermal break sheathing, and advanced framing techniques. This is the second student-built sustainable house at our college. The first house was built the previous year and sold at auction in the spring of 2013.
The fundamentals of building science are very important to this project as they are generally overlooked in the typical building project these days. While this house is not energy independent, it is a transition home. It gives consumers freedom from the inefficiencies of typical suburban homes while also having the ability to live on-grid in a more energy efficient way. At the same time, the house is being built so that solar systems are an option, giving the consumer the opportunity to do as much or as little with it as they so choose.
At the onset of this journey to a small home, students worked on understanding the fundamentals of how a building functions as a whole, the flow of energy into and out of the structure, and how individual components work together to form something stronger than any single part could be. Combining this knowledge with each team member's skills, students used tools of the trade to demonstrate the concepts they had learned. From attaching building subcomponents with a nail gun to ripping 2x4s with a table saw to hanging joists by hand, students constructed the real-world manifestations of the building theories they studied.
The plan for Chatham Cottage II came from the "Whidbey", a Tumbleweed Tiny House Company design. From this basis, the team worked together to redesign the structure and make it their own. After getting the proper permits, students started to build the house on school grounds in such a way that it can be moved to the location of the buyer's choice. Now that the house is being built, we invite you to become a part of our vision.