Students Design ‘Tiny Houses’ With Big Benefits

OGDEN, Utah – With a record number of homeowners nationwide facing foreclosure and worldwide unrest driving up the cost of energy, a group of WSU students have an answer: “tiny houses.” The houses would be environmentally friendly, inexpensive and designed for buyers who want to downsize debt and conserve resources.

Three female students in the Design Graphics Engineering Technology program will present their “Sustainability Through Size” senior project to executives at Nilson Homes on March 30 at 12:30 p.m. at their offices on 5617 S. 1475 E., Ogden.

Project team leader Abby Jayne Ronnow said the goal was to create a design that provided affordable, comfortable, and environmentally responsible housing solutions for a wide variety of lifestyles.

“We are moving away from oversized, expensive homes that cause environmental harm and financial hardship for homeowners,” Ronnow said.

The students developed a three-bedroom design that would cost less than $100,000 to build, and has a modest size range of under 1,100 square feet. The same footprint will allow a one- or two-bedroom option as well as an ADA compliant floor plan.

The students also selected affordable and sustainable materials and appliances built to merit Gold Certification from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green Building Standards program.

The homes include solar hot water generation tied into radiant heat in the floors, tankless water heaters and evaporative cooling.

The students will now take the ideas created for the classroom and present them to seasoned professionals for feedback and fine tuning.

“I wanted to tie our students’ education to the community,” said Jeremy Farner, the design engineering technology instructor. “I want the professionals to see the innovative work of our students, and I want our students to gain confidence and knowledge about what’s going on in the industry.”  

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Jeremy Farner, design graphics engineering technology instructor
801-626-6962 •

Abby Jayne Ronnow, design graphics engineering student
801-388-0167 •

Allison Barlow Hess, director of Public Relations
801-626-7948 •