We are Tiny House in My Backyard (THIMBY), an interdisciplinary team of UC Berkeley graduate and undergraduate students that worked together to design and build an affordable, off-grid, 100% solar-powered "tiny" house at the Richmond Field Station in Richmond, CA. In October 2016, we transported the house to Sacramento to compete in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's (SMUD) 2016 Tiny House Competition, where we took 2nd place overall and won specific awards for home life, water conservation, sustainability, and craftsmanship.
The house generates its own electricity, and is small enough to fit in the unused portions of urban lots. Cities around the world face the challenge of housing a growing population while the size, cost and carbon footprint of homes continue to rise. THIMBY is a 170 sq. ft. one bedroom, one bathroom home that is designed to serve two residents and aims to demonstrate the compatibility of affordability and sustainability.
This project represented an opportunity for students from diverse departments to learn about sustainable design principles through hands-on experience in all phases of development, from design to construction to performance evaluation. The house is compact, but provides a comfortable and inviting home environment, with a focus on energy and water efficiency. Now that the SMUD competition has passed, our team is continuing to test the home's systems at the Richmond Field Station. THIMBY's permanent resting place is still unknown, but there are many exciting possibilities. THIMBY could be the first home in a community of carbon neutral housing, or serve as a residence for a park caretaker and partner along the Richmond Greenway.