Students Build Sustainable Cottage Sell it at Auction

Students in a sustainability technology program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro used the knowledge from their classes to build a small energy-efficient cottage. “Chatham Cottage” is a 450-square-foot home built entirely by students.

The energy-efficient cottage boasts one-bedroom, one-bathroom, living room and kitchen. Students built the cottage on CCCC’s Pittsboro campus while learning about sustainable and minimalist living. The students were taught about energy-efficient products and ‘green’ building practices.

“Chatham Cottage” went up for auction on June 7. It cost a little more than $30,000 to build the cottage and produce advertising for it. Many of the building supplies were sold to the student team at wholesale prices. Lowe’s home improvement store provided plants for the inside of the finished home and the Chatham Habitat for Humanity branch donated furniture to spruce up the place.

Almost every aspect of the cottage was created and done by students. They were involved with creating a schedule, building the interiors and exteriors and maintaining a blog of their progress. Approximately 30 students were involved with the project which was conceptualized in 2011.  The only part students did not work on was putting up the drywall.

Laura Lauffer, coordinator of the Sustainable Technologies at CCCC, said, “We did hire some contractors at the end. You don’t want new students doing drywall.”

The cottage may be small on space but it will be high on energy-efficiency.  There are Energy Star features throughout the cottage and the plumbing used is WaterSense low-flow products.

The opening bid for the cottage was $30,000 and the money made from the auction is to be used for the construction of another cottage next semester. Class instructor John Delafield said the model for the cottage’s floor plan came from Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. but that the design was “changed to suit our sense of what would make a good livable space in North Carolina and, secondly, what would make the house movable on North Carolina highways so there would be no need to move utility lines.”

The auction of “Chatham Cottage” was a success. It sold for the asking bid of $30,000. The woman who purchased the cottage plans to add the home to her homestead for her adult daughter to live in. Students are already planning on building the next “Chatham Cottage” in August.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

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