Saskatoon couple building an energy-producing tiny house

Jared and Rachel Regier are building a tiny house in Saskatoon. It will be about 150 square-feet, including a loft where they'll sleep.
Rachel and Jared Regier are building their mini home on top of this converted flatbed trailer. (Patrick Sauve/CBC News)

Many people aspire to own a home with a lot of space — a big kitchen, spacious living room, and lots of storage space.

Jared and Rachel Regier are building a tiny house in Saskatoon. It will be about 150 square feet, including a loft where they'll sleep.

They're starting from the bottom — they've reclaimed a flatbed trailer and are using it as the base of their home.

Living in a tiny house is a way for them to live simply with just the necessities of life.

"It'll have a kitchen, a bathroom, a living area, a dining table, a bedroom. All packed into one small space," Jared said.

"There will only be the essentials. No basement. Only the things we need and use," he added.

The Regiers were teachers at Aden Bowman Collegiate. They taught the Earthkeepers program, a one-semester program for grade 10 students all about living sustainably.

They said they felt as though they were talking the talk, but not walking the walk. They felt guilty about the amount of energy their home consumed.

"It wasn't generating energy, it was using a lot of energy," Jared said.

Jared and Rachel were recently married and are taking a leave of absence while they build their home.

When it's built, their mini home will use solar power for heat and hot water. It will produce twice the amount of energy the Regiers will need.

"Even though it's a small house, it's a big step in the right direction, I think," Jared said.

Mark Bigland-Pritchard is a sustainable building consultant with Low Energy Design Ltd. in Saskatoon. He says there are very few homes in Saskatoon that are green and have no net energy use.

That means that the homes produce more energy than they use.

It's possible to do it, even in this climate, by using energy efficient windows, lots of insulation, and solar panels.

It's easier building tiny houses that meet this calibre of sustainability, simply because they're smaller, Bigland-Pritchard said. They also require fewer solar panels to heat.

The Regiers are hoping to finish constructing the exterior of their mini house before snow falls.


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