Cutting EDGE: An Energy-Saving Wisconsin Tiny Home

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The EDGE home combines space-saving design techniques with extreme efficiency.
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High ceilings and expansive views help the small home feel large.

With the nation in a recession, the team at Revelations Architects/Builders in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, knew it was time to challenge the notion that bigger is better. So they created a home with cleverly designed spots for eating, bathing, sleeping and community–then loaded it with energy-saving technology.

“We sought to create a pure vision of simple living,” says Bill Yudchitz, Revelations Architects/Builders president. “We wanted to show that Americans could live well with less.” At only 360 square feet, the EDGE (Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment) is a testament to simple living. Two prefabricated modules–a kitchen and bathroom–host the home’s mechanical systems, and a wall of glass connects the two and creates a multipurpose living area with spectacular views.

The EDGE boasts an array of resource- and space-saving features: geothermal heating and cooling, air-to-air heat recovery and ventilation, passive solar orientation, rainwater harvesting, and furniture that can be reconfigured into a bed, table or sofa. The best part about the EDGE? “You have to leave the hustle and bustle of real day-to-day life behind, because it won’t fit into the EDGE,” Yudchitz says. “It gives you a second chance to get your priorities right.”

Designed for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin, the demonstration home won an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects Wisconsin and has been deconstructed and rebuilt in three locations. The home is now located in Bayfield, Wisconsin.

Plans for the EDGE are available for $1,250. Revelations Architects/Builders is also working on creating a kit for clients who want to build their own EDGE. Learn more:

The Good Stuff

• Triple-pane windows provide maximum efficiency.

• Walls of glass on either side offer passive solar heating and broad views. In this location, guests see Lake Superior to the south and a forest to the north.

• Insulated shutter doors, made from locally grown white oak, can be closed to minimize heat loss at night, during winter or when the home is unoccupied.

• A butterfly roof minimizes solar heat gain and collects rainwater to irrigate the yard and garden.

• A geothermal heating and cooling system keeps the home comfortable year-round.

• Specially designed multifunctional furniture can be transformed into a dining room table with bench seating, a sofa, and a full bed or two twin beds.

• Sleeping lofts top the kitchen and bathroom modules.