Athough there has not been a huge wave of publicity about tiny houses—loosely defined as homes under 1,000 square feet, commonly between 200 and 400 square feet—their popularity is undeniable.
In the past year, according to www.tinyhousecommunity.com, more than 30 new microcommunities have come into existence. In addition, it lists more than 115 companies in the United States that design or manufacture tiny houses.
Gary Bute is owner, senior designer and consultant for Tiny House Systems, a tiny house design and engineering firm, and Clear LED, a lighting and electrical design firm, both based in Hutto, Texas.
“There are very few similarities between wiring a tiny house and wiring a regular home,” Bute said.
For example, since most tiny houses are built on steel trailers, they are required to be grounded to the trailer frames.
Most regulatory authorities refer to tiny houses as “park models,” and they are classified as “not for full-time use,” even though most owners live in them year-round.
“As such, we wire according to the [National Electrical Code] RV Park Model Article 552,” Bute said.
Another organization that governs “park models” is the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), which uses an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) code for electrical, plumbing and gas piping.
Bute said the power source depends on the customer.
“Most customers are very ‘green,’ and about 50 percent of our customers want solar power,” he said.