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Rob Greenfield : Simple and Sustainable Living 100 Square Foot Tiny House


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Rob Greenfield : Simple and Sustainable Living 100 Square Foot Tiny House

 

Hey, I’m Rob Greenfield. Welcome to my tiny house in Orlando Florida. This tiny house is a hundred square feet, I built it for under $1500 all using about 99% repurposed and secondhand materials. While creating just about 30 pounds of trash. So today, I’m gonna give you a tour of my simple sustainable life, and show you my homestead. So, as you can see a hundred square feet is pretty small. It’s just ten by ten. And some of you might be thinking, “Isn’t this just a shed?” Well, I designed it to look like a shed basically. So that it would be within basic building codes. The most important thing is the bed. A lot of my life is outdoors, and this is really just about having a comfortable place. Underneath the bed is storage for my basic stuff.

A big part of this place really is food. It’s for storing food and processing food and such. Over here, this is a bounty of pumpkins from my garden. Here is the fermentation station, making Jun, which is like kombucha. Apple cider vinegar, fire cider, honey wine and such. Here I have my bookshelf. A lot of books about grow food and live sustainably. and then if we come over here, a lot more food.

My project that I’m focusing on right now is one year of growing and foraging a hundred percent of my food. and so, that’s really the centerpiece of everything that I’m doing while I’m here in Orlando for about two years. So, fruits and veggies that I’ve harvested from my garden and from foraging. Up here, honey from my bees. I harvested about 75 pounds of honey, somewhere around there this fall. I don’t have a whole lot of possessions, I aim to live pretty simply. This is all my clothes on this shelf and then, some of my basic items. So the desk I built out of leftover materials from the build and pallet wood. 99% of this house is built with secondhand materials and repurposed materials. The floors, for example were from a house that flooded and this was stuff they were getting rid of, throwing away. The bed is leftover wood and also flooring. The burlap that I’m using for the walls is from a leftover craft project. One thing I should mention is the house isn’t 100% done.

So a bit of a work in process still but good enough to be able to show you the place. Really important thing is my deep chest freezer. This year I’m growing and foraging a hundred percent of my food. So this is a really important thing for being able to store a lot of food. And, that brings me to… electricity. My original plan here was to live off the grid like I did in my first tiny house in San Diego. But, with this project, I found that it just wasn’t quite the right match to be completely off the grid. And I’m only using about a hundred dollars worth of electricity per year.

So, since I’m here just for two years, it didn’t necessarily add up to put a large solar system here. when I’m using such a tiny amount of electricity. So what I have is just an extension cord that’s running from here on the property. So that’s pretty much the inside of the house. It’s quite simple, there’s not a lot to say about it because most of my time is spent outdoors, in the garden, in my community. And so, let’s move on to the outside. I really like having an outdoor kitchen, because I enjoy being outside. And also, when I spill things on the ground, they just soak right in which means a lot less cleanup. This kitchen was built using leftover materials from the tiny house build. and I have a light that runs here on top, it’s pretty simple. Has a battery which I can either charge using my small solar panel, or it can be charged inside.

I actually have four ways of cooking food. The first is a not sustainable form, and the other three are renewable energy forms. So the first one is just using a basic propane camp stove. I’m working to move away from that completely so that I’m using all alternative energy. The main replacement for that is a home biogas stove. So this actually converts food waste into methane, which can then be used to cook with. And I’ll show you that. Secondly is a solar oven, which just uses the sun, which we have plenty of to cook. and then third over here is… my fire pit. So if I’m cooking like, large quantities, I have a five gallon pot that can go right on top of here So this is the biogas. It works like a human stomach, in many senses, so… one thing that happens when we eat, one of the byproducts is… gas, of course. So how can you trap that gas, and actually use it for something good? how it works is you simply put food waste into it. I get a lot of food waste from a local restaurant. Simply put the food waste into here, it goes into the stomach, there’s bacteria in there, and the byproduct of their digestion is gas.

So this up here… is a bladder that holds the gas. It’s pressurized to push it down. And then just out the back, there is a pipe that goes over to the kitchen, and delivers the gas to the stove. Another great byproduct of this system is a bucket full of fertilizer. Really nutritious for the plants. So here’s the sink, it’s extremely simple. This is a 55-gallon barrel in the back, and that holds rainwater. and then, it’s just gravity fed. I use a biodegradable… grey water safe soap, so that, this water doesn’t have to go to a sewage treatment plant. Instead, what happens is it goes just down the drain, and then there’s a tube, that just goes out the back and then back there, I have bananas. which are really water loving plants. So this water, all the water that goes through the sink, doesn’t go off site to a waste treatment plant. Instead it actually grows food on site. Also back there, I have my compost bin. The reason I really like my compost bin… right there is I can actually toss food in standing right here, so it’s really easy to access.

So, I create… very minimal garbage. The little bit of actual trash that I do create, I just put in the trash can of the property. But mostly, food waste, yard waste, paper, cardboard, all of that can go right into the compost bin, and that is used to grow food, rather than be somebody else’s problem. Also here… is my drinking water, so… It’s a pretty great system, it’s called a Berkey. And this can be used for purifying rainwater, water from lakes and rivers, or city water. I have my rainwater barrels right here, behind the house.

I simply stick a pitcher down here, and then my rainwater is purified… to be delicious and great for drinking. Rainwater harvesting is very easy, not complicated at all. Water just falls down onto the roof into a gutter. Instead of having a downspout, I have a rainchain. The water just falls into this barrel, and then it’s stored right there. Really simple as that. I have multiple barrels and they’re just simply connected by a pipe. So this might be the part of my homestead that I’m the most excited to show you. This is a 100% closed-loop composting toilet system. You have two toilets, this one for going pee, and this one for going poop. Pee is a bucket, a five-gallon bucket under here that’s filled with water. It’s used for about a day, and then basically the pee is diluted by about a 10 to 1 ratio. that water is then simply dumped onto fruit trees, bushes and such to grow food. Poop goes into this one. How it works is you simply sit down like you would on any other toilet. After you go, instead of flushing, you simply add sawdust to cover it up.

And it’s amazing that… that all you need to do is cover it up, and then there’s no smell. Instead of buying toilet paper, I grow my toilet paper right here on site. This is called the blue spur flower. It’s in the mint family. So it’s got a great smell, and it’s ridiculously soft, I mean… That is just wonderful! So, that is then composted as well. The poop goes into these 55-gallon drums where it’s then composted for a year, to make it completely safe, and then it’s used on fruit trees to grow fruit. So this is a 100% closed-loop compost toilet system that doesn’t create any problems for anyone else and instead, makes fertility. So because the property owner’s roof is much larger, I also harvest rainwater off of their roof. I have two 275 gallon totes. This is used for… watering the garden, for filling up the barrel… at the sink, and for showering. This is my shower right here. Works pretty simply, I have a five gallon bucket down here, that I fill up. And then, that just goes right over and it’s just a little hand…

A handheld shower, using rainwater and honestly I love it. To me showering rainwater is one of the… one of the greatest ways to shower. A little bit about… transportation, how I get around. So I don’t have a car or a driver’s license. I have a bicycle and I use that to go almost everywhere that I need to go in Orlando. And then I also have a bicycle trailer. And that bicycle trailer can carry up to 300 pounds so… I can use that for hauling lots of stuff in my garden, tools or huge hauls of food. I can also use that for furniture, materials for the house, things like that. And lastly, let’s move on to the garden! So one of the most frequent questions that I’m asked… is: do I own the land? How did I find the land? Do I pay rent? What I’ve done is a work exchange, So, I met someone who’s always wanted to live sustainably, who’s wanted a homestead for 25 years! and in exchange for me setting up my tiny house on her property for these couple of years.

I’m helping her do that. And then everything that I create… will be hers for the years to come. So I’m helping her grow her own food, I’ve turned the whole front yard into a garden, and the tiny house, after I leave, will be hers to use however she wants. So, it’s a… exchange rather than a monetary transaction, we don’t have a monetary transaction. Instead it’s… how can we work together… to meet each other’s needs, and that’s what my life is all about. Reducing the ways that we have to work for money, and instead, how can we work together to help each other out. There is a lot going on here, and I can’t possibly squeeze it all into one video. But, if you have a desire to live in a way that’s better for the earth, your community, and yourself, then I am here at your service, and there’ll be plenty more videos to come. If you were inspired and you got something out of this, then I would really encourage you to subscribe, and stay in touch. I love you all very much, and I’ll see you soon.

Oh, one thing to mention, this is a little… squatty potty that I made. It’s really… it’s known that… having your legs raised at this angle is much better… for pooping. So, anyway… wanted to mention that. .


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