New York State resident Matt Holleran refuses to be one of the many Americans paying one third of their income on housing. For that reason, he’s moving off-the-grid and into his very own micro-house in the Southern Adirondacks.
Answers attributable to Matt Holleran, Manager-Market Development and Analysis BlueRock Energy Inc.
Why did you decide to go smaller? / What spurred your decision to build this house?
This was not a premeditated decision, it was by happenstance that I ended up in this situation. A friend of mine started this project over two years ago, before the tiny house craze took over. He was able to construct the shell of the house but relocated for a job in Milwaukee. The opportunity arose for me to purchase what he had accomplished thus far. Upon viewing the house I really didn’t think I was interested in purchasing it – that was until I began reading, learning and became very intrigued with the idea of living in a tiny house. My passiveness on the house quickly tuned into an obsession.
Going smaller isn’t really too big of a change for me. I lived pretty modest in a small apartment in Syracuse, NY, with no TV or living room furniture because I really did not spend much time at my apartment. I began figuring out the cost per night to stay there. It felt like a huge waste of money to me. I grew up in a rural area, and understand Syracuse is a smaller city, but I enjoy the peacefulness that living in a less urban area provides. This was an opportunity for me to reside outside the city in a non-apartment setting…
How much money are you saving by downsizing and going green? How much have you saved already? Do you pay taxes on this house?
I am still in the construction phase so it is difficult to get an exact dollar figure. I have always lived modestly, but now I have no rent – I no longer have to pay about $800/month. One thing that perturbed me more than anything was my energy bill. I was using about $4.76 a month in actual energy (electric and natural gas) per month yet my bill was over $50.00. This is because there are fixed costs on your bill for delivery that does not matter how little or how much you use. I was at the low end of the spectrum of energy usage when I broke down my total cost (supply + delivery), which was $0.42 per kWh and just shy of $4.00 per therm.
One increase in cost will be travel back and forth to work. Even with that extra expense I would project a savings north of $600/month.
My tiny house is on wheels, which will make it exempt from any type of property taxes as there’s no foundation. The only costs I incur is from the DMV to register it annually. There are two reasons many people elect to build their tiny homes on trailers – to avoid being taxed, and they are also mobile, which is great for travelling and seeing the country. The project will allow me to pay off my student loans and debt, and allow me to travel more while also significantly reducing my carbon footprint.