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Inside a Handsome Tiny House With Solar Shingles

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And lots of plastic

While most tiny houses seem to be made from wood, one tiny house that’s been traveling around the country is constructed of something a bit more unexpected: plastic.

Built as part of the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Make It Possible campaign—which hopes to show the innovative and positive aspects of an oft-maligned material—the 170-square-foot tiny house is a custom design by Zach Giffin, co-host of the FYI Network show Tiny House Nation. Completed last year in Boulder, Colorado for about $50,000, the structure wants to prove that plastics and recycled plastics can be incorporated into pretty much every component of a tiny house, and with energy-efficient results.

Across the dwelling, you’ll find, for example, recycled plastic decking, low-maintenance vinyl flooring made to look like wood, and a plastic foam board used as rigid insulation between the interiors walls and the siding. One of the most interesting details is the series of engineered plastic solar shingles on the roof, which allow a discreet, streamlined way to incorporate renewable energy. All this is probably plastic overload for any home, but the project does offer some alternatives for each component of the tiny house building process.

The house, which was on exhibit in Los Angeles earlier this year, is now parked on a lawn at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center and open for tours daily through September 11. The video below takes you inside the tiny house and highlights several construction details.

Video by Eastward Films