03/26 Big hopes for small footprint: New style of housing to be tested in Duluth

Rick Klun, executive director of Center City Housing, stands at the entryway to the new micro-house, a 300-square-foot home

Rick Klun, executive director of Center City Housing, stands at the entryway to the new micro-house, a 300-square-foot home

The Urban Land Institute defines micro-housing as a unit less than 350 square feet in size with a fully functional kitchen and bathroom.

The 28-by-12-foot house Center City recently built with the help of volunteer labor in Duluth’s Central Hillside neighborhood certainly fits that bill.

Open the door, and enter the kitchen area. There’s a bedroom to your left, a living area to the right and a bathroom in the rear of the home.

In the next 12-18 months, Center City plans to provide the home to three successive tenants, asking each in turn to critique the structure…”This is a prototype. We want to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and then decide if we want to go forward with more,” said Rick Klun, Center City’s executive director…”We’re minimizing the heat load and the energy that it needs, but we’re also able to install a very cost-effective heating system. So by spending a little more on insulation, we were able to save money and energy on the heating system,” Zaun said.

Although final figures aren’t yet available, Klun estimated that the home cost about $60,000 to construct.

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Elaine Walker