The Mighty House


Project Name: The Mighty House
Completion Date:
Building Type:
Tiny House
Project Description:
se see:

Mighty House – Our mini-Passive House experiment
We are looking for a place to call home. The housing market in the San Francisco Bay Area is extremely competitive and expensive. Housing should be affordable, homes should be healthy and most importantly, comfortable. Houses are comfortable when they are well built, thermally insulated and draft free. Combine that with carefully chosen building products and you can reduce poor indoor air quality, off-gassing, and toxic environments. Seems simple and obvious. The challenge is finding these homes and making them available and attainable. We haven’t been able to find one for ourselves, so we decided to design and build one instead. This project has grown because of our love for small, efficient, beautifully detailed spaces. But most importantly, it is the cost of housing and energy demands that are forcing us to explore new options. The MightyHouse, as we are calling it, is a small house on wheels; sitting on top of a 24 foot long by 8.5 foot wide steel trailer (the standard limit before requiring a wide load permit on roads and highways). It will be mobile, meaning it can be transported almost anywhere. But with the proper orientation based on location, solar orientation and calculations in PHPP (Passive House Planning Package), it will maximize the sun’s path for heating, while maintaining overhangs for shade and cooling. This will result in a building that has the potential to reduce 90% more energy than homes with traditional HVAC systems. Paired with a solar array or wind turbine, the MightyHouse will have the possibility of going net-zeo energy as well. And with an integrated plumbing system that will utilize grey-water from sinks and showers, we can help divert perfectly good water for California’s drought stricken trees and vegetation. This will be our home, but also a laboratory for exploring Passive House design and construction on a more intimate scale. It will highlight efficient building materials, windows, systems, and the struggle with foam-free construction. This prototype will test thermal bridge free detailing on all trailer connections. Most of all, it will explore the low cost of construction, coming-in at approximately $100 per square foot. This seems like an obvious solution to the inflated cost of housing, a way to help lower income families or homeless, and a means to increase density, reduce energy demands and promote healthier homes.It’s a solution for us.

94304 Palo Alto, CA
No. of units:
Construction Type:
Wood Frame
Construction Cost:


Rubin Shaw
PH Consultant:
Brian Rubin



Treated Floor Area:
252 ft2
23 m2
Typical Calc. Area:
252 ft2
Exterior Walls:
24.00 hr.ft2.ºF/BTU
0.237 W/m2K
23.00 hr.ft2.ºF/BTU
0.247 W/m2K
32.00 hr.ft2.ºF/BTU
0.177 W/m2K
Overall Window:
5.00 hr.ft2.ºF/BTU
1.136 W/m2K
Window Frame:
5.26 hr.ft2.ºF/BTU
1.079 W/m2K
Window SHGC:
0.24 %
Entry Door:
0 W/m2K
0.00 %
Heating Source:
Cooling Source:
Hot Water Source:
0.60 ACH50
0.60 ACH50
Green materials:
Annual Heat Demand:
1.29 kBTU/ft².yr
4.07 kWh/m2yr
Heating Load:
3.76 BTU/ft².hr
11.86 W/m2
Primary Energy Value:
38.00 kBTU/ft².yr
119.87 kWh/m2yr


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