Michigan State University students to build Tiny House known as “Sparty’s Cabin”

On March 4 students from Michigan State University will begin construction of a Tiny House at the Recycling Center on campus.

March 4, 2016

Sparty's Cabin graphic by SPDC.

On March 4, students from Michigan State University will begin construction of a Tiny House at the Recycling Center on campus. Led by the student organization USGBC Students MSU, this real-world project will offer students hands-on experience in the planning, design and construction process. Other MSU project partners include the School of Planning, Design and Construction; the Department of Forestry; and the Surplus Store.

With a main goal centered on sustainability, the “Sparty’s Cabin” project will include 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 will feature 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 and recycled denim insulation.

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, using 100% solar power energy and adding a composting toilet.

Once constructed, this Tiny House will encompass 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 will be 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.

After the Tiny House is used as an educational tool, it will be put up for auction at the Surplus Store.

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