Tiny house competition sees huge turnout

In the midst of all the tininess, a rather great event took place in parking lot E of Cosumnes River College on Oct. 15. Students from multiple universities and residents from all over the state of California visited the campus to view the energy-efficient tiny homes, built over a span of two years by the architecture students from each college.

Along with the tiny houses, food trucks that served an array of different cuisine, a kid’s zone that offered different activities for children and hay stacks that offered seating. The event saw tremendous success. It brought in over 10 thousand attendees, smashing SMUD’s projected number of 2,500 people, according to Brent Sloan, SMUD’s program manager of community solar.

Sloan stressed the importance of not selling CRC or any community colleges short of what they are able to do and the level of experience compared to universities around the state.

“The fact that CRC did so well in this event, you should hold your head high for competing and going head to head with the Berkeley’s and Sac State and scoring better in a lot of cases. That’s something to be proud of,” Sloan said.

CRC’s architecture program did not end up winning the overall competition; however, they did win other sub-awards that were granted, such as the best sleeping arrangement and an award of excellence.

Brenda Delgado, a 25-year-old architecture major from CRC who has now transferred to UC Berkeley, was under the supervision of alumni architecture professor John Ellis while designing the tiny house for the event.

“The great thing about the tiny houses is that while you get to help the environment, you also get to help an individual or a small family not spend so much money on a home,” Delgado said. “Especially now, homes are so expensive and we’re giving somebody the opportunity to own a home and save money.”

Not only was the architecture program involved in the creation of the tiny house, but collaboration with CRC construction students is what made the building of the tiny house possible, Delgado explained.

“In real life, it’s not just the architecture department or the construction department that does it all, they match each other. So, that’s what we’re trying to do with this tiny house. We’re trying to get the departments to start working together to learn what each side has to do,” Delgado said.

The University of Santa Clara won the overall best tiny house of all ten colleges and universities competing at the event. Martin Prado, a 22-year-old electrical engineering student from the University of Santa Clara, explained why their tiny house came out on top.

“We’re donating our tiny house to a client who is in a wheelchair with a service dog, so we tailored the house to her specific needs, such as scratch-resistant floor and walls and a kick-out doggie bowl for food and water,” Prado said.

“So having that story not only gave us a vision, but it gave us an advantage. We wanted to make it the best that we could for her.”

Prado said the materials needed to make their tiny house came out to $85,000, a surplus to what the other tiny houses cost. Most of the money was donated by the university on the terms that the architecture students pay back what they borrowed through fundraising. Donations were also made from parents and people from the community.

This being the first tiny house event ever in the state of California, Sloan said, CRC was more than willing to accept the notion to host the event on its campus. Sloan explained why he specifically chose CRC to host the event.

“It’s a beautiful campus. It has big, open parking lots, and to be perfectly frank with you, Ryan Connolly, a professor here, was very passionate about doing it. Your administration from day one was sold on the idea and asked how they can help,” Sloan said. “We were very, very happy about the response we got from CRC. In fact, I think we can double the size of this event and still have it here on this campus. We look forward to considering that.”

Sloan said he could see the event becoming much bigger in the future.

“I think you’re going to see this tiny house event take off because more and more colleges are going to be able to compete. It allowed more people to get the same learning opportunities for a lot less money. So, way to go, Cosumnes.”