In Spring 2016, students from Michigan State University constructed a Tiny House at the Recycling Center on campus. It was built over six weeks during the Spring semester, with the help of 100+ people from across campus and the community. Students from the student organization USGBC Students MSU, the School of Planning, Design and Construction (including Construction Management, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Urban & Regional Planning Programs) and the Department of Forestry gained valuable hands-on experience working alongside faculty and volunteer industry experts on the planning, design and construction processes for this real-world project. Other MSU project partners included the SPDC; the Department of Forestry; and the Surplus Store.
Tiffany Pupa, Interior Design senior and former president of the USGBC Students MSU student organization, presented in February 2016 at the Midwest Sustainable Conference in Grand Rapids. Her talk focused on an overview of what is a Tiny House and the Tiny House Movement, plus highlighted details about the Sparty's Cabin Build Project. Watch her presentation online at: Sparty's Cabin: Bleed Green, Build Green.
A time lapse video of the build in-progress is available for viewing online!
Sparty’s Cabin, MSU’s first Tiny Home, was auctioned off by the Surplus Store and has found a new home! On Jan. 6, 2017, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, June Youatt, presented the auction winner and new owner with the keys to Sparty’s Cabin.
With a main goal centered on sustainability, the “Sparty’s Cabin” project included materials from the MSU Sustainable Wood Recovery Program and Shadows Collection. When there is construction activity on campus, trees are normally removed and either burnt or chipped for mulch. The Shadows Collection salvages these trees, turns them into lumber, and uses the lumber to create unique and truly green products, such as tables and cutting boards. Sparty’s Cabin features MSU-made custom countertops, shelving and a ladder. In addition to MSU lumber, other materials have been selected for their sustainable qualities, including double-pane windows, a composting toilet, recycled newspaper insulation, and a structural roof and wall system for reduced air leakage.
The structure will be built on a trailer, allowing it to be easily transported from place to place. Sparty’s Cabin will include traditional hook ups for sewer, water and electricity; however, it can be retrofitted in the future to go off the grid. This would be accomplished by capturing rainwater and using 100% solar power energy.
The Tiny Home encompasses 177 square feet of space that sleeps three, and features both an upstairs (sleeping loft and storage) and a downstairs (great room/kitchen, bathroom and bedroom).
Sparty’s Cabin was used as an educational tool to spread awareness to the local community about this type of alternative sustainable lifestyle known as the Tiny House Movement. These types of houses offer the practicality of living in a space less than 1,000 square feet, allowing for a pared down minimalist lifestyle with the added advantage of being on wheels and, thus, mobile. The spirit of the Tiny House Movement is about filling life with experience, not collecting things. It is about the stories that can be told and experiences that can be shared with friends and family.