Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mass Producing Micro Homes and Micro Apartments by Walt Barrett

      Here is a business idea for you. There is an urgent need for inexpensive energy efficient homes. Our company has done a great deal of research in the field of micro homes and all forms of alternate energy. We even went so far as to build a model home. Micro homes are inexpensive to build, and to heat or cool because they are less expensive to super insulate due to their small size. Multilevel are even less expensive per square foot, but less convenient for the elderly. We built our micro home for very little money using the best of all new of materials like the lumber, windows, doors, roofing, insulation and wiring. Two large solar panels provide all the electricity needed. There are many great free designs around to choose from depending on your needs and age. Elderly retirees do not enjoy crawling in and out of lofts on tiny ladders. Our design calls for a home built odorless composting toilet and a shower stall either commercial or home built and solar hot water. In other words a totally off the grid solar home. The total square footage including the 8' x 8' sleeping loft is 128 square feet. We are currently using ours for a garden office/studio because we have no real need for it. We could convert it to a home in a week.
We really liked the way our first attempt came out, but would definitely build our mass production model at least double the size. I would like 250 square feet for a two person micro home. I would like to see a kit made available too.
We liked the idea so much that we were going to set up a production line here in our home state of RI, but after doing a fact check and surveying the market we have put our plans for that business on the shelf at least for now. The reason for not doing the business in RI were the minimum housing size standards, the high land expense, and most importantly a lack of interest in micro homes in our area. It's a good thing that we didn't just go charging forward like a bull in a china shop or we would have blown a bundle of money very quickly.
What I would like to see is for someone in a state like Maine for example where many townships allow tiny cabins and camps as long as they meet the safety and sanitation codes do the market research like we did here in RI and if it merits it to go ahead and build a model retirement home that was designed for two people. I would take orders and mass produce it in the area utilizing local labor in an abandoned factory on a production line basis. Such a home could sell for much less than most new cars and would be much more easily financed, rented, or leased.  This could be leveraged into quite a business.
I have to admit that I am still uncertain if the time is right for the micro home in the USA, we intend to stay ready for when the time is right. The day is coming when micro homes and micro apartments will be all the rage. Several west coast cities have already changed their building codes to accommodate them. I would like to retail them for $100.00 a square foot maximum by mass producing them. Their day is coming and you may never pay another utility or heating bill.
Google micro homes and Google micro apartments. There is a wealth of information out there and please watch our videos below.
Walt Barrett
See the furnished micro home interior at the end of this video.