First LEED Tiny House to Debut in Florida

USGBC, Eco Relics, and Norsk Tiny Houses work through building code stumbling blocks to create a model for sustainable building.

Eco Relics, Norsk Tiny Houses, and the Northeast Florida Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council are partnering to build the country’s first LEED-certified tiny house. Through this project, the groups aim to educate others about how to reduce their carbon footprint.

About 75 percent of the house will be built with salvaged and reclaimed building materials from the Eco Relics warehouse, and A1A solar will install a solar energy unit on the home. Once the house is finished, it will be donated to someone in need.

Sarah Boren, the director of policy and programs at USGBC Florida, says she predicts that construction on the house will begin in the third or fourth week of August and finish up by October 2. The process of building the home will be transparent so that others can contribute ideas and learn about the process behind building a green tiny house. The entire project will be documented through a 24/7 webcam, pictures, video, blog posts, and various social media platforms.

After the house is finished, the house will be shown at the 2017 Florida Tiny House Festival in St. Augustine, Florida, before embarking on a yearlong educational tour throughout Florida. The tour will finish up at the Greenbuild conference in Chicago in late 2018.

“We’re just trying to educate as we go and build a very cool tiny house that will go to someone in need,” Boren says.

Boren says that one of the challenges of the project so far has been juggling various certification and building code requirements, from National Organization of Alternative Housing (NOAH) and LEED certification requirements to Jacksonville, Florida’s local ordinances. In the long-term, Boren imagines sustainable tiny house communities being used by students or as transition housing for veterans. By figuring out how this current project interacts with local building requirements and other certifications, Boren hopes to make this more feasible.

“If someone were to try to do this on their own, we want to ease that path. Our goal is to make this affordable and replicable,” Boren says.

Photo: Sarah Boren speaks at an educational LEED tiny house charrette on July 21. The charrette was open to anyone interested in learning more about LEED tiny houses, in addition to those already on the project. Photo by Tracy Rigdon, Eco Relics