The TINY TIM Experience

On June 15, we had a slumber party with half of the GoGaia-team in Tiny TIM. Tiny TIM is a self-sufficient, small, practically furnished house that is 100% durably built. It was difficult to get used to: sleeping, eating, and doing your homework on… m2. But it was very interesting,  and we learned a lot!

Tiny TIM was created by architecture and landscape photographer Hans Peter Föllmi, architect Jurgen van der Ploeg, and tUvA students (Future Planet Studies) Dante Föllmi, Waas Thissen and Abe van der Woude.

Not only does the little house result in lower living expenses, fewer raw materials and less energy consumption, but it is  also furnished very functionally with sailboat logic. The interior is flexible and multifunctional. The couch can turn into a bed. Kitchen cabinets also function as a staircase and serve as a chair to sit on. Although the house is not very big, everything is there. Going smaller is in fact a way to think sustainably.

Ninety percent of Tiny TIM s is built from sustainably sourced coniferous wood. Wood doesn’t only have the ability to store CO2, but it’s also light material, it’s beautiful and nice, it breathes, it insulates, it’s strong, and it’s multifunctional. Instead of paint, more durabl alternative techniques are used. One of those techniques is Shou Sugi Ban, which literally means ‘burned cypress’. It’s a traditional Japanese technique in which coniferous wood is burned on one side. The original reason for this turned out to be fire prevention. By scorching the facade first, a fire-retardant, charcoal coating is formed. It was discovered that this layer also was a good protection against pests and fungi. Thanks to this technique, painting is not necessary anymore. Because Tiny TIM uses wood, Tiny TIM weighs only one hundredth of a normal house; we think it looks very nice.

Tiny TIM is 100% durable and self-sufficient in water and energy. The biggest challenge is the summer-winter contrast regarding energy production and energy demand. In the coldest months, the demand is greatest, while the solar panels have a low yield. You need to be aware of your energy use and see if you can reduce it a bit.

Tiny TIM uses two different windmills and solar panels which can harvest energy out of the same surface in three different ways. This way, they get the most out of it. Of course, the electricity supply remains a challenge. We noticed this too. When we went to sleep, one of us put her phone in the charger. The next day, I wanted to wash my face, but there was no water coming out of the tap! I thought: maybe the system needs some time to wake up, but after ten other tries, it turned out that nothing worked. Also the light, and every other appliance that needs energy was not working. How stupid can you be! Because of that one phone at night that we tried to recharge, there was no solar energy that could be saved and the entire energy reserve was used up. So bye bye nice hot shower!

We thought that the he most intriguing part of the house was the green wall. The system that is placed on a small portion of the  facade, cleans the shower water, and washes water and urine so it will be clean and drinkable again. This is done via a system of planters and water tanks which are customized depending on the plant species. The green wall reduces the heat stress in our cities. The toilet of Tiny TIM is a Separett Ecosave/dry toilet with urine separation. Thanks to this solution, waste and paper are being collected and dried. Urine is being separately drained and is being purified with water from the kitchen and the shower. We definitely were a little shocked by the toilet at first sight, mainly because you could look into the hole were  waste and paper were being caught. And I can tell you, it doesn’t look very appealing! But if that’s all, I can live with it. Because with this solution, you save approximately  15,000 litres of drinking water per person per year! And that’s quite a bit. Despite the fact that the purified water is of high quality and tastes exactly the same like the water you drink at home, it feels weird when you’ve come to realize that you might be drinking your own urine. But in the end, we were very excited about Tiny TIM, because the house didn’t only gave a homey feeling, it also definitely gives a holiday feeling!