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Tiny House Send-Off

If you’ve been anywhere near the northwest part of campus, you’ve probably noticed some construction in the gated area between the Industrial Tech and Engineering West buildings.

Since March of this year, a couple of students from the Fresno State Lyles College of Engineering have been hard at work building a tiny house. After months of toil, long hours and dedication, the tiny house is completed and ready for competition.

“Our goal, competitionwise, was to build a net-zero energy tiny solar home,” said Vivien Luo, the tiny house faculty adviser for fall 2016. “The energy is all provided by the solar [panel] system.”

The competition takes place the week of Oct. 10, where colleges and universities throughout California will compete for $30,000 in prizes.

“In this tiny house, there’s a very limited usage on energy. We have air conditioning, a cooktop, a fridge – just basic needs for a couple. All of that can be powered by the solar [panel] system on its roof.”

The tiny house was built on an 8×24 feet sized trailer, making it 192 square feet. It comes equipped with a loft for a mattress, a living room area, a fully functioning kitchen and a restroom.

Most of the material used to build the tiny house was donated by sponsors, and the rest of the funding was from the department.

The competition, hosted by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), will be at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento from Wednesday to Friday, with a public viewing on Saturday.

Joseph Darpli, a third-year in the construction management program, said they will be judged on the house’s design, functionality (electrical, plumbing), architecture, home life (is it suitable for two people to live in?), among other things.

Darpli said that the tiny house goes beyond the competition for the students.

“It means a lot of different things to different people in the program,” Darpli said. “For most of the students, it’s a chance to learn a little about what the industry actually is. They’re doing the work. They’re building it.

“For myself, it’s a chance to pass some of the things that we’ve learned along and also take on different management roles and learn that side as well.”

After the competition, construction management professors Brad Hyatt and Wei Wu both hope the project can be used as an educational and recruitment tool for future students.

“The students get hands-on experience and students coming in get to see what they can do,” Hyatt said.

Fresno State’s student-run PR firm, TALK, planned and hosted the tiny house’s send-off before it left for Sacramento.

At 9 a.m. Monday, Mary Castro, Timeout, Fresno State cheerleaders along with the tiny house team and a few dozen folks celebrated tiny house’s accomplishment and wished the good luck at their competition.

During the send-off, the folks present got the opportunity to tour the inside of the house.