AU Press Releases

Alfred University engineering students move 'tiny house' project forward with help of Alfred State College students

Alfred University and Alfred State College students begin working out 'tiny house' details.

Alfred University and Alfred State College students begin working out 'tiny house' details.

Matthew Finley, a third-year engineering student at Alfred University, started thinking about living off the grid when he was in his freshman year.

By the end of his sophomore year, he had refined his idea to the point of imagining himself living in a “tiny house” – a modern, energy-efficient structure generally occupying less than 500 square feet of floor space.  Tiny houses and their big cousins, small homes, have been growing in popularity, particularly as new technologies provide easier (and smaller) means for daily necessities such as heating and plumbing.

Now Finley has teamed with 11 other Alfred University engineering students in a project the students expect to bring to fruition by next spring: the design and construction of a mobile, energy efficient tiny house. The finished house will be part of the students’ senior design project.

“We spent all this year coming up with prototype designs,” Finley says, noting the group’s faculty advisor, Professor  of Electrical Engineering Xingwu Wang, “is really helpful in finding people we should talk to, presenting us with problems we haven’t thought about, and letting us work autonomously.”

The Alfred University students, with majors in Mechanical Engineering and Renewable Energy Engineering, are also working on a partnership with a group of students studying construction and carpentry at Alfred State College. The two groups gathered Thursday on the Wellsville campus of Alfred State College for preliminary discussions and testing of construction materials.

Finley himself participated in a Bergren Forum presented by Professor Wang, reviewing solar farms, homes and continuing research into sustainable energy efficient structures. He expects to graduate in 2018 – and then perhaps realize his dream of living off the grid.