‘The Wedge’ embodies net-zero design philosophies, meaning it generates all the energy it needs on site. By its nature, the design is also a living model of the various aspects of Zero Waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. Its small footprint makes it easy to place on the small and odd-shaped lots common to cities, and being on wheels, it can be easily relocated as required to respond to changing needs. The fresh- and gray-water systems respond to the environmental challenges of living in California where every drop of water is precious and must be used, reclaimed and reused to the fullest extent. “The Wedge” is Laney College’s entry into the SMUD Net Zero Tiny House Competition, which took place in October of 2016 and rewarded $4000 as the winner of the Architecture category for their entry. Laney Carpentry students also won 4 other categories: Best Design, Best Furnishings, Best Landscaping and Best Video.
On Saturday, October 15, the winners of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) “Tiny House Competition – Build Small and Win Big” contest were announced on the campus of Consumnes River College. Teams were awarded trophies and monetary prizes. Laney College of Oakland – one of the four colleges of the Peralta Community College District that includes Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Merritt College, also in Oakland – won $4000 as the winner of the Architecture category for their entry “The Wedge.” Laney students also won 4 other categories: Best Design, Best Furnishings, Best Landscaping and Best Video.
The Tiny House Competition is a new competition in the Sacramento region, challenging collegiate teams to design and build net-zero, tiny solar houses. The event was open to all colleges and universities in California. Participation promoted an interest in energy conservation, energy efficiency and green building and solar technologies. SMUD’s Energy Education & Technology Center and Community Solar programs were sponsors of this event. The categories of the competition included architectural design, livability, communication, affordability, energy efficiency and balance, appliance load, technology/electrical and mechanical systems, transportation, sustainability and documentation. The competition had stringent requirements not only regarding student participation, but also requiring that all houses to use solar energy. The Laney house was designed to be “zero net energy.”
The Competition was modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. An educator or other school administrator mentored each team. During the two years leading up to the event, students designed and built energy-efficient houses. A stipend between $3,000 – $8,000 was provided. After the awards were handed out, students exhibited their houses to the public and the media.
“Congratulations to the whole Laney College team members that were involved in the construction this tiny house” said Laney College President Dr. Patricia Stanley, EdD. “It’s a fine example of a booming trend in affordable housing.”.
At Laney College, leadership in coordinating entry was handled by Cynthia Correia Department Chair of the Carpentry Department, with the help of Dean Peter Crabtree and Larry Chang. The building of “The Wedge” was a lot of work that was completed with a lot of help from faculty who mentored the Laney students. Ron Betts, advised in the area of Architecture; Forough Hashemi helped with the Electrical; Matt Wolpe and Karl Seelbach, both from the Laney Carpentry Department, helped with building; Theresa Halula, of the Merritt College Landscape Horticulture Department, supervised the landscaping.