Tiny House & Big Ideas

Story by: John Raisch, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for AMERIgreen Energy

In January, I started some new things to kick off the new year — a new job with AMERIgreen Energy, a new year’s resolution to commit more time to cycling and a plan to do some tiny house living!

Tiny house living?  How is that possible you might ask…tinyhouse

For the record, I am a big fan of the tiny house movement, and so is my family.  More often than not, the TV at my house is playing Tiny House Nation or Treehouse Masters , the tiny house kindred program.  As a family, we’ve talked a lot about tiny house living, and have even considered it.

While I don’t think I would ever pick up my family of 4 and move from a 2000+ square foot house to something less than 400 square feet, the idea of simplifying your life by lessening possessions has some real appeal.  My family and I relish in the thoughts of what’s shown on those television programs.  We try to imagine what it would be like to live in a tiny house, what important possessions we would decide to keep and most importantly, how the four of us would survive living on top of one another.  It’s fun to imagine what it would be like, but almost dreadful to think about really doing it.

In reality though, staying in a tiny house for a short period of time, such as a retreat, family vacation or business travel, is much more practical, and now, given the availability of tiny house rentals, realistic.

I live just outside Philadelphia in Montgomery County, approximately 80 miles from AMERIgreen Energy in Lancaster County, where my new job is located.  Needless to say, a daily commute of 80 miles each way would be inconvenient.  So, in November, when my wife found out about a tiny house rental opening up in the Lancaster, PA area, right as I was finalizing my move to AMERIgreen Energy, I thought the opportunity to give “tiny house living” a try was perfect.

With the help of the internet, and a few clicks of the mouse, I made my reservation for the tiny house my jm-tinyhousewife found, which is just outside of Lititz, PA.  I was super-excited to start a new job while at the same time knowing I’d be staying in a tiny house for a few nights during the week, rather than doing the commute back to Montgomery County.

For me, “tiny house living” has been a blast.  The property is quiet and picturesque, on the backside of a home with a small working farm.  The house itself gives me everything I need as a business traveler.  And, it’s way more affordable as compared to staying at a basic hotel.  Also, Lititz, the local town, is a real charmer.

Other than the occasional “cow-sounds” in the middle of the night (which I have gotten used to) and the complexities of a composting toilet, tiny house living is perfect for me in my situation.  I’m generally pretty content with the current state of the tiny house living experience.

Yet, as an energy & technology professional, I’m constantly looking at things, thinking about how to make them better.  New ideas, creativity and innovation is part of how I think.  And now that I’ve stayed in the tiny house many nights, I’ve been thinking through some really neat ideas, relevant to my new role at AMERIgreen.

  • What types of energy power the tiny house?
  • What would it take to get the tiny house “off the grid”, powered by renewable energy sources?
  • What kind of measures could be taken to make the house more energy efficient?
  • How could innovative new technology improve the tiny house experience in terms of comfort, convenience, and sustainability combined?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized the feasibility of tiny house living combined with off-the-grid living, at least from a mechanical perspective.  As I mentioned above, I’ve tried to imagine, rather unsuccessfully, moving my family into a Tiny House.  Now I add the off-the-grid living concepts and it takes the idea to a whole other level.

For now, however, I’m focused on work and the commute, spending my weekdays and nights in both the Lancaster and Montgomery County regions of Pennsylvania.

As I finish up my first quarter at AMERIgreen Energy, I’m thrilled to be contributing to the success of the company and I’m even more excited to be able to take big, energy ideas and bring them to life.  Maybe, an energy efficient, LEED certified Tiny House powered by AMERIgreen Energy (if you will) is in my future!

In a future blog article, I’ll circle back with details behind big ideas that combine tiny house living with the AMERIgreen Energy values of sustainable, renewable, locally-sourced energy solutions.

Now, get to AirBNB and book your stay at a tiny house!


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