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Engineering News Summer 2016

The Wheels on the House Go Round and Round

This summer a stalwart student crew is hard at work building the 238-sq- ft, off-grid rEvolve House, SCU’s entry in California’s inaugural Tiny House Competition coming up in Sacramento this October.
SCU's Tiny House takes shape as undergraduate teammates install the SIPs

SCU's Tiny House takes shape as undergraduate teammates install the SIPs

Tiny House Hunters, Tiny House Nation, Tiny House Builders…. If you watch HGTV at all, you know that the Tiny House movement is BIG!

Promising affordable, sustainable, off-grid living, the trend toward downsizing is on the rise here in California, where land and building costs have skyrocketed. To advance the movement and give collegiate students an opportunity to learn about it in a very hands-on way, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) created the Tiny House Competition. Santa Clara University is one of ten teams competing in the inaugural contest patterned after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.

Nearly thirty team members from a diverse range of majors—communications, engineering, environmental studies, finance, psychology, and more—have spent the past year researching construction materials and techniques and designing the 238-sq ft rEvolve House, whose name reflects both its transportability and the revolution that is taking the world by storm.

Now it’s time to build, and this summer a stalwart student crew is hard at work turning plans into reality. “We’re using lightweight materials, energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and we save space by putting our water tanks and pumps under the raised bedroom. But our biggest innovation is something we can’t talk about yet—we’re waiting to unveil it at the competition,” said mechanical engineering senior and project manager JJ Galvin.

Following the competition, rEvolve House will be installed at Operation Freedom Paws, a local nonprofit organization empowering military veterans to restore their independence by teaming them up with a service dog. The tiny house will serve as temporary accommodation for trainers and as a space for clients and their four-legged partners to learn to work together.

But first, teams will drive their creations to Cosumnes River College in Sacramento where the minuscule manses will be judged in four categories: architecture, energy efficiency, communications, and home life. All are welcome on Saturday, October 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to tour the entries, attend workshops, visit exhibits, and more.

Keep up with the team’s progress:

Energy, Engineering, Sustainability
Tiny House, rEvolve House

SCU’s Tiny House takes shape as undergraduate teammates install the SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels). Credit: Jonathan Borst ’19