Tag Archives: eco

Simple Solar Showers for Summer

Good Morning!

Last night I perused the web for the best, simplest solar shower devices on the market. I was looking for something affordable and convenient. The COMET doesn’t have room for a shower inside, so she will have a solar shower outside, with some sort of portable, collapsible, privacy shower set up that I can pop up behind the camper (I like the idea of a little teak platform with a circular curtain rod made of metal piping that can break down easily when I’m on the move, and some sort of hook to hang the solar shower on once it is heated up).

Here are my favorite finds from the my solar shower research!

Summer Shower 5, $25 on Amazon.com

This 5 gallon solar shower is a new spin on the traditional black bag camp shower that you hang from a tree. It absorbs tons of radiant heat from the sun, and has a nifty little simple thermometer to let you know how hot the water is. This little added technology makes this the best cheap solar shower. It got great reviews, as well.

Pump-Up Solar Shower, $40 + $15 shipping, Duckworks Boat Builders Supply

I love this idea for a solar shower. Because it pumps up, it has more water pressure than the gravity fed bag shower. I saw DIY instructions for a solar shower like this, using a garden sprayer painted black and a shower nozzle of your choice, but when I priced it out, the individual parts to make my own were more expensive than this one! This one is meant to be more like a real shower than the camp bag shower. It’s a nice option for a solar shower, and perhaps the one I’ll end up with!

DIY Gravity-Fed Hose Coil Solar Shower, price varies, DIY

This solar shower is the most permanent and labor intensive on this list. You can use either black garden hose or flexible black piping, coil it into whatever shape fits your space, and voila! The advantage of this coil solar shower is the increased surface area (as compared to the ones above), which means that the water will heat up much faster (20 minutes as opposed to 2-3 hours for the bag/tank systems). I am hoping to eventually build one of these for The COMET, and either have it be able to break down and be portable, or have it attached to a frame on the back side of the camper, which can flip down when I’m mobile, and flip up into a shower stall when I’m parked!

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Also, I built a vacuum form yesterday! I built the vacuum form so that I can vacuum mold my own custom urine diverter for my small-space composting toilet (which is also turning into a squatting toilet!). The vacuum form is totally portable, so that I can bring it to workshops, do demos, and show people how easy it is to make your own urine diverter for cheap! I’ll post pictures and a full DIY step by step guide later, but for now it’s out to the driveway to work on The COMET. I have lots to do in the next few weeks!

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The COMET and I will be at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Boston next Month!

Hey everyone!

I’m very excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Design/Build workshop with Derek “Deek” Diedricksen. The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company’s workshop is in Boston, MA and is 2 days, May 19th and 20th. I will have The COMET with me (someway, somehow, I will be towing – and parking it – around Boston!) and will be talking about the project, vintage campers as Tiny Houses, solar electricity in your tiny house or converted camper, and green + recycled building materials. It’s going to be an awesome weekend. There will be some other guests announced soon as well.

Go to the Tumbleweed Tiny House website, http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/workshops/boston/, and sign up for the weekend workshop soon!

Also, go to relaxshacks.com and sign up for the other workshop that The COMET and I will be at – Tiny House Summer Camp weekend in Vermont, July 6-9.

Can’t wait to show you all The COMET’s progress up close and personal, and meet some of you in person.

If you are planning on attending either of the workshops this summer, let me know in the comments!

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Tour De (HFH) ReStore

In congruence with my idea about using as many re-used, recycled, and repurposed materials as possible in The COMET before purchasing newly manufactured eco-products, I have decided to visit every Habitat For Humanity ReStore (PLUS the magnificent EcoBuilding Bargains store) in Massachusetts in search of materials. I’m calling it the Tour de ReStore and it began today! I went to the HFH ReStore in West Roxbury. Though I didn’t find anything I could use in the COMET, it was still a fun trip. I’ll have to post some pictures of the turqoise linoleum tiles and cork flooring I found at the other ReStores recently.

Of course I don’t have to explain how much I adore the ReStore and what it stands for. I think I mention it often enough! On my Tour de ReStore adventure I’ll be specifically looking for things like countertops, wood material to build a kitchen/dinette table out of, and other surfaces. Of course, I always find something I didn’t even know I needed, like textured glass in the exact size of the broken window in the COMET! You just never know.

Tomorrow I’m going to try to go to another ReStore that’s pretty close by, just to see what they’ve got. I’m also open to using weird materials from their free pile or other unusual things and modifying them into what I need. I’m always wondering, how can I make that door into a countertop? How can I use that window in the bumper greenhouse/garden?

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COMET Update – Documenting Progress

Well, the weather has been steadily improving here in Massachusetts, and I’m getting really excited about “breaking ground” in the COMET. I’ll be moving her away from her factory parking lot home to my house where I can work on her. Soon I’ll be peeling back the walls to see what surprises wait for me there (most likely a rotten wood surprise). Then I’ll be testing the electricity and looking at the wiring to figure out how to best implement my totally DC solar system, while fixing up the tow wiring/lights.

This may be a little premature, since nothing has really been set in stone yet, but I’m VERY excited and honored because Derek Diedricksen, fellow MA tiny house guy and artist (check out relaxshacks.com) asked me to bring the COMET to his summer Tiny House Workshop this year, and give a little talk about the project and show it’s progress. It’ll be great for people to be able to feel the space and see my work in progress: a behind the scenes sort of thing. The fact that I’m going to be towing the COMET around while it’s being worked on makes me think I should work backwards: design and repaint the exterior first, then work on the inside. I want to have a really eye-catching and informational exterior design so that people know what the project is all about, and maybe put the website on the side so people can find more info about it. Anyway, more details on the COMET’s live appearances this summer will follow.

This past week I have been reflecting on the progress of The COMET so far, putting together a very large and detailed presentation about what I’ve done in the last few months. There’s so much research behind the scenes, behind every blog post. It’s so interesting to look back on my preliminary project ideas, my first grant proposals, and other material from a few years ago, when the COMET was just a dream, and then look at how much progress I have made in terms of the concept and what the project really means and needs to accomplish. It’s also amazing to see how much my knowledge of sustainable sciences, materials, and systems has increased and grown from a general interest to a real understanding.

One thing that I have been thinking about in particular is the pros and cons of using newly manufactured “eco-products” versus recycled and repurposed materials, which may not be “eco” per-se, but would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. In my mind, it is better to use an existing material (reused, recycled, or just leftovers) than purchase something brand new, because no matter how sustainable the new product is, it has to be manufactured using some form of energy, it has to use fuel to travel, etc. I think instead of using as many “eco-friendly” products as possible in The COMET, I am going to focus on the repurposing and recycling of existing materials, and whatever I can’t find used, replace with eco-friendly new. I’ve been thinking of innovative ways to re-use things that I already have in order to make what is currently missing in the COMET.

This post was really scattered, but I just wanted to give you all a general update :) Thank you to everyone who has been reading along and following the progress of The COMET. Contact me with any feedback you may have or ideas you think I should be incorporating into the project!

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