Sustainable Houses

Teen Builds Tiny Sustainable House in His Parents’ Backyard

At only 16 years old Austin Hay, from Sonoma County, California, is already building his own sustainable house, and at little over 130 square feet it fits right in his parents’backyard.

Hay says he was inspired to build his own house by a school project for which he had to research something he was interested in. At first he was going to build a tree house, but having taken basic construction classes at school and knowing he could rely on the help of family and friends, the ambitious teenager decided to construct himself a self-sufficient sustainable house.  “Living small means less bills; living big means more bills,” Austin explains, so he decided to build a tiny 130 square-foot living space, with an extra 10 feet loft, where he sleeps. It sounds really cramped, but thanks to the vaulted ceiling, the house really doesn’t seem that small once you step inside.

Probably the youngest member of the Tiny House Movement, Austin says people would be surprised how basic the building process really is sure anyone could do it if they only put their minds to it. Although he has to add insulation to the walls, and install the kitchen and bathroom (complete with compost toilet), Hay has been living in it for the last four months. Like every other teen he plans to move out of his parents’ house, and hopefully he’ll be living in his own home through high-school, college and even after that. The cool thing about Hay’s little house is he can park it wherever he wants. He managed to raise some money working a summer job and spent $2,000 on a trailer for the home. Now he can take it anywhere and just have to look for a little space to place it.

Although the average price for a house like his is around $23,000, Austin Hay managed to cut the costs in half by doing all the building and wiring himself, and outfitting the place with fixtures and wood from salvage yards, bought for just half the retail value. He scavenged for everything from doors, windows and flooring to the kitchen sink. He was also very eco-conscious throughout the entire build process, recycling everything he could. In the year and a half since he started working on his sustainable house, he only produced one full trash can of debris.

 

Photos © Austin Hay

via Fair Companies

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