GoSun Builds a Tiny Home

And of course, it's solar powered.

Gosun Dream off-grid

GoSun

Treehugger has admired GoSun's solar ovens ever since they were invented, describing them as "absolutely brilliant." They expanded into other appliances, so many that they have built a tiny house, the GoSun Dream, to hold them all. Gary Starr of GoSun tells Treehugger:

"Tiny houses are finding a growing market today. They can be made more affordable, can be used as a second home, and if built on a trailer can be towed and parked anywhere a RV can go. However, although they make a small footprint, it is rare that builders have also designed them so they make a small energy footprint. So the ultimate tiny house should be an off-grid tiny house, one that can go anywhere, any place, and be self-sufficient." 

GoSun products have always been about self-sufficiency, and they have always been such clever designs, so one would expect their tiny home to be the same.

Gosun Dream exterior

GoSun

To be self-sufficient, it is covered in 1.4 kW of photovoltaics on multidirectional mounts and comes with a 4kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 3,000 watt generator and a sine-wave inverter. It comes with the GoSun solar table, Fusion combo electric and solar cooker, and the GoSun Chill cooler.

Gosun kitchen

GoSun

But just in case the sun isn't shining on the solar panels or solar cooker, there is a two-burner propane stove. I am pleased to see that there is an exhaust hood above it, and there is also an ERV (energy recovery ventilator) for fresh air, so they are showing real concern for healthy indoor air quality in a tiny space. It also has a propane on-demand water heater and a propane space heater.

The propane is my one big disappointment; Sustain Minihome designer Andy Thomson once called the fossil fuel "the crack cocaine of the RV world" because it packs so much energy into liquid form and delivers so much heat – it is such an easy and affordable solution to many problems. The GoSun Dream isn't big enough to hold all the solar panels and batteries (and its purchasers wouldn't have the money) that one would need to do the same job. But if anyone was going to give it a try and figure out some novel way to do it, I would have thought it would be Patrick Sherwin, founder of GoSun, who turned the evacuated tube of a solar water heater into a whole new industry.

Gosun interior with bed

GoSun

The interior design is clever and appropriate for a small, 22-foot long unit like this; there is a table with a U-shaped banquette that can drop down to be a bed, but there is also an electric lift queen-sized bed above that drops down at the touch of a button. This is a much better idea than a loft; it can get hot up there, and ladders are awkward and dangerous at night. In the video tour, you can also see the shower and the generous bathroom; they have packed a lot into 195 square feet.

The Dream has a mix of RV-style water systems, with a 40-gallon freshwater tank and 25-gallon grey water and black water tanks, surprisingly paired with a Separett composting toilet. That's an odd combo because black water tanks usually sit under a low-flush RV toilet (a flush toilet is optional). The Separett is a urine-separating toilet with a bucket of poop inside that has to be emptied somewhere. Perhaps the designers are giving customers the option of going into an RV park (where you don't need all the solar stuff) or going off-grid, where you wouldn't use the black water tank at all and would dump the gray water into a french drain.

Gosun being towed by pickup truck

GoSun

The GoSun Dream clocks in at 11,500 pounds, which is a bit of a shame since many states (and Canada) have a different license classification over 10,000 pounds. It's the kind of unit that confuses me a bit, that cannot quite decide if it is a tiny home or an RV. An Airstream Flying Cloud, the same length as the Dream, weighs half as much. So instead of getting hung up on the tanks and the RV stuff, let's just call it a really well designed, well equipped low energy, off-grid capable tiny home.