12/12 Q&A with Zack Giffin on his high efficiency tiny house design

Tiny house with solar shingles, designed by "Tiny House Nation’s" Zack Giffin, extensively incorporates plastic materials, focusing on energy efficiency.

Tiny house with solar shingles, designed by “Tiny House Nation’s” Zack Giffin, extensively incorporates plastic materials, focusing on energy efficiency.

The tiny house movement shows no signs of slowing down. Anyone who wants to immerse himself or herself in the phenomenon can opt for magazines, books, websites or the FYI network’s “Tiny House Nation,” co-hosted by Zack Giffin. Or they can visit the California Science Center, where they can inspect a 170-square-foot tiny house for themselves.

Giffin worked with Plastics Make It Possible, a division of the American Chemistry Council, to design the structure, which is made mostly of energy-efficient plastic materials. The exhibit “A Tiny House That’s Big on Energy Efficiency” will be on view through Feb. 16.

Before the exhibit opened, we sat down with Giffin, a skier and contractor who moves his own tiny house to slopes around the U.S. each winter, to talk about the tiny trend.

Why do you think there’s such an interest in tiny houses?

In my mind [the interest] can be divided into three categories. No. 1 is economics. The process of obtaining wealth through real estate is not a sure [thing] anymore in a lot of people’s minds. Another big piece is environmental, and the third piece is the desire to be close within a community…

Do you think tiny houses could be used for low-income housing?

The thing that’s missing from a lot of lower-income housing options [is that] people have that space, but they don’t have pride in it or a personal stake in it. But tiny homes are custom-built, and that process can make the homeowner feel like someone has paid attention to their needs. It means that when you get into that space, you can feel a personal pride in ownership. What I’m trying to do with these homes is show that even though it’s lower-cost, you don’t have to sacrifice your dignity.

Read more and watch the video – http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-1212-tiny-house-exhibit-20151212-story.html

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Elaine Walker