Students compete to make a zero-net-energy home

(The Collegian file photo)

Students showed off their tiny house frame at a launch party held at Fresno State on Monday.

Fresno State’s Lyles College of Engineering students hosted a launch party for their Tiny House Project on Monday. The construction management department has teamed up with Fresno State’s public relations department to present the tiny house competition.

The frame of the tiny house was on display for the public to view and walk inside giving them a chance to get an idea of what’s to come. Students involved with the Tiny House Project were on hand to talk about the next step and to answer any questions.

“The purpose of this event is to raise awareness and gain support from both students and staff members of the community and Central Valley as a whole,” said Rodrigo Alcantar, student and project manager.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District is hosting a competition for colleges and universities throughout the state to build and design a tiny house. The competition will take place next October in Sacramento. Community and university colleges are participating and about 15 schools will be competing, said Brad Hyatt, associate professor in construction management.

The houses in the project are to be built on wheels and range between 100 to 400 square feet.

The project will consist of building a zero-net-energy, portable tiny home from scratch, said Alcantar. There are certain requirements and design specs for the competition such as the home being able to charge a computer, have running water, an electric stove, water heater, boil water within two hours, power phone within 15 minutes and run a 20-inch TV.

“We are working very hard to make sure we conserve as much water in the tiny home, and we are going to be incorporating a lot of those design aspects and renewable materials,” Hyatt said .

The last five years, tiny homes have become more popular throughout the nation but they are not very well-known in the Central Valley, Alcantar said.

“It feels great to work on a project like this. Our main focus is to leave a legacy for Fresno State,” said Gabe Hernandez, a construction management major. “Tiny house is like a new movement, it’s good to have in the Valley and Fresno. This project helps students figure out what it really takes to build a structure.”

Since the tiny home will be a zero-net-energy house it will show members of the community that it is possible and practical to live in, Alcantar said.

“The home is essentially self-sustainable, inexpensive, comfortable and easy to transport,” the project manager said.

The material cost for the project is capped out at $25,000. A tiny house project can cost roughly around $50,000 to $75,000 including labor, said Hyatt.

“Building something real is a challenge in itself, and the outcome is to allow students to apply what they learn into this project,” Hyatt said.

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