Please find below the
The tiny house movement is currently garnering a lot of attention, and while this is a worthwhile initiative that demonstrates what is possible, it is unclear whether the benefits can be scaled at all. Also, it is not substantially different than a number of other prototype housing products that have been done or are being done currently around the world.
Comments from Judge 1:
Exciting concept that builds on an emerging interest in tiny homes. More detail on actual energy use in summer and winter compared with output of PV system would strengthen case. In many regions, winter PV output may be a third of summer output, when more energy is needed, so off-grid viability can be a challenge. However, if teamed with an electric vehicle (mentioned but not clearly incorporated into project analysis) then the EV could 'import' extra power in cloudy, cold weather and 'export' when excess generation. Your 3-4 year emission payback period is conservative: if the occupants would have built a conventional home, embodied emissions would be higher than your 18 tons, so your savings may be bigger than claimed. Experience shows that independent water and waste systems can face problems when people go away on holiday or have guests - bugs can die or be overloaded, system limits can be exceeded. In many climates, a small, highly insulated home with limited thermal mass can require summer cooling - no mention of this, although this is when there is usually plenty of PV generation!
Comments to Judge 2:
Novelty: There have been a number of Zero Net Energy or similar demonstration house built in recent years; however, the deep engagement with the community already achieved by this demonstration project is less common and highly desirable.
Feasibility: The proposal does an exceptional job of explaining the costs and technical scope of the project. The team appears to have sufficient resources in the form of people, baseline funding, and community support to complete the project. It could be useful to provide an update on the percentage of the $75,000 project cost has been raised to date.
Impact: The impact of this project is almost entirely dependent on the ability to influence more people to choose a Tiny House and to influence those that do to choose a solar, off-grid version. It would be helpful if the authors could provide some reference data for a “typical” Tiny House to more clearly establish how this project will improve emissions over what would otherwise be built. It is potentially misleading to compare the performance of this off-grid Tiny House to only a conventional 2-person household because a significant percentage of the benefits could be attributable to the choice of a Tiny House alone (reduced square footage), regardless of energy sources and water reuse. Thus, the proposal could be strengthened with additional discussion about the status quo for currently constructed Tiny Houses and how this demonstration project would amplify the benefits of going “tiny”.
Presentation: The proposal meets all of the criteria for outstanding presentation.
Jun 15, 2016
Many thanks to both reviewers for their thoughtful comments and suggestions on our proposal. We have grouped the comments/suggestions into categories and have summarized our responses (and associated changes) below:
Jun 15, 2016
My apologies for the formatting of the above response; I was having trouble with the online text editor. To clarify, each set of quoted comments are followed by the appropriate "summary of changes". A blank line separates each group of comments/changes, except for the last 2 groups, for which I could not get the editor to add a blank line. I could not find a way to edit my comment after I had seen how the text was rendered.
Jun 15, 2016
An addition to the responses listed above: