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Architecture Architecture Tinyhouses

#Off grid solar Tiny house in the Netherlands

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by: Hans van der Broek
#Off grid solar Tiny house in the Netherlands

The #Tinyhouse design of Marjolein Jonker

It was designed entirely according to my wishes by Buro Walden and built by Tiny-House.nl (Netherlands). Since the end of May 2016 I live in my cottage in Alkmaar. The Tiny House is bio-based and completely self-sufficient, it is not connected to utilities and sewer. The dimensions are 6.6 x 2.55 x 4 m, and 20 m2 of surface with the loft included. 

Off-grid solar in a Tiny House

Now that I have been living in my Tiny House for more than a year, it might be interesting to see how that went with my energy consumption. And if I can work with my PV installation as calculated in advance. Just sit back and enjoy it!
Blue inverter
In my blog 'Tiny House technique: solar installation' you can read which choices we have made with regard to the energy supply in my house, based on which devices I wanted to provide electricity. When I talk about 'we', I mean the team of Walden, Dimka Wentzel, Frans Hulsman of De Pittenspecialist and Johannes Boonstra of Victron Energy. I am, as you may have read, not technical at all, so oh how happy I was with those people!
It is of course impossible to predict how it will work in practice, but you have to start somewhere. I had not foreseen that I would need a rather large hydrophore to get the rainwater out of my water tank back into my house for example. But all in all, it has by no means turned out wrong. I was fine with the current until October. But, from November on, I occasionally came without power. Not totally unexpected, incidentally: I was warned that in the Netherlands in the winter months we had little sun and it would not be easy to get around with 3 x 300 w solar panels and 2 x 750 wh lithium batteries. That turned out to be true, it was too short.
Graphic electricity consumption
Especially in December, the darkest month of the year. Although I use less than 1 kWh of electricity per day, the panels sometimes could not handle it enough. With this battery capacity I could only bridge a really dark day. At that time I chose to purchase an emergency generator, a nice quiet petrol machine that I had to run for a couple of hours once or twice a week to recharge the batteries. Later I would look at extra PV panels or batteries. A windmill is not an option for me. I have deepened and informed and came to the conclusion that such a mill is not profitable or practical compared to the expansion of the solar system. They are quite pricey, do not deliver much, need a high pile and a lot of open space, make noise .. Of course it is fine if someone else wants to try it out, I'm curious what the experiences will be! But I let this option pass me by.
It is a pity that I did not keep track of how much energy I used in my old house to make a nice comparison. My old house was a terraced house with three bedrooms. I searched online for the energy consumption of an average household, which is of course very dependent on the type of house. According to the Energiesite.nl website, for a household of 1 person this is about 5 kwh per day, for two people 8 kwh per day. I estimate that I was somewhere in between with my terraced house, let's say 6.5 kwh. With my consumption of less than 1 kwh per day in my Tiny House, I reduced my ecological footprint considerably!

I have a wonderful Victron Energy installation, with which I can also monitor my consumption well. Via my mobile phone I can upload data to an online portal and see exactly what happens. On the image below you can see clearly what my consumption was last year. As you can see December is the only month in the year in which the solar power really falls short. That is manageable! In May this year my batteries were exchanged by a few big boys, 2 x 2000 wh lithium from Victron Energy. With that I can bridge no less than 4 dark days! I think I will come a long way, maybe I do not need the generator anymore and that would be great of course. But we must first experience that again!
Am I now going to live very differently as far as power consumption is concerned? Yes, I do, but I do not experience it as inconvenient or annoying. The devices that I really need or are really important to me, I can still use them.
kitchen tiny house interior laptop
I have a fridge-freezer, my laptop is on all day, in the spring and autumn I can even use my infrared heat panel. I do not have a washing machine, that's the only thing  miss. But I would not want one in my house. I would like to share one with other Tiny House residents. What should I do with a washing machine for me alone? Do not need it anyway? I have to keep an eye on what I use in the winter, and adjust my consumption accordingly. I do not think that's a problem. It is actually quite good to be aware of what you consume in energy.
tiny house
For example, I had never known that an electric kettle uses so much electricity. Or that everything that heats consumes a lot of energy. From March to October it is almost impossible, the sun shines more than enough. Maybe I ever buy an electric bike, which I think I can charge on my installation in the summer! That has to wait until I have found or created a place where I live with several Tiny Houses and their residents and we have a shared shed where the bike can stand safely and dry. Ah, there is always something to wish for and that is a good thing too!

Sleeping loft tiny house Alkmaar

 

Tolet and shower tiny house Alkmaar

 

Tiny House Alkmaar, Netherlands front side

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Hans van der Broek , founder Founder and CEO of WhatsOrb, world traveller, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Hans has countless ideas and has set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. He also has an opinion on everything and unlimited thoughts about how to create a better world. He likes hiking and has climbed numerous five-thousanders (mountain summits of at least 5000m or 16,404 feet in elevation)  
Hans van der Broek , founder Founder and CEO of WhatsOrb, world traveller, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Hans has countless ideas and has set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. He also has an opinion on everything and unlimited thoughts about how to create a better world. He likes hiking and has climbed numerous five-thousanders (mountain summits of at least 5000m or 16,404 feet in elevation)  
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