Come on in and make yourself comfortable in our fully furnished 33 square foot house. Did we mention it’s a dumpster? While the project could have been centered around a large cargo container or a tiny house, we decided on the dumpster. A dumpster is the perfect symbol to present themes on waste and consumption in an engaging way. It’s weird. It’s fun. It gets the wheels of imagination turning.
Goal: The New One Percent
Professor Dumpster will be spending one year in a dumpster that is approximately 6 feet x 6 feet, or about 1% the size of the average new American home. Professor Dumpster, in his bid to become part of the ‘new 1%’ will strive to use 1% the water, 1% the energy, and create 1% the waste of the average American home. Innovative systems will also be developed for water filtration, climate control, and waste reduction. Professor Dumpster will be relying on creative collaboration from the greater international design and education community to help outfit the dumpster with everything he’ll need to live comfortably in an intense central Texas climate, where average summer highs are in the high-90s.
Dumpster Evolution: Three Phases
The Dumpster will evolve through three distinct phases over the course of the year: (i) dumpster camping; (ii) average American dumpster home; and (iii) über dumpster. In the dumpster camping phase, Professor Dumpster and his students will be essentially camping in a tent that happens to be a trash can. They will try out technologies as well as ‘old school’ methods for meeting basic needs. All of their water will come from Austin’s town lake, about a mile down the hill from the Huston-Tillotson campus. Professor Dumpster began living in the dumpster in Feb 2014 and will continue to camp there until funds are raised to move to phase two and three.
In phase two, average American dumpster home, the dumpster will be plugged into the electrical and water grid and the team will start add on appliances like a washing machine, dryer, and a hot water heater (most of it in the ‘back lawn’). We’ll measure the amount of ‘baseline’ water and power once Professor Dumpster is completely comfortable and feels right at home.
In the third phase, über dumpster, the team will ‘drop it low’, attempting to get to 1% the energy use and water use of an average American home, all fully contained in 10 cubic yards.
Trash Talkers: Our Audience
Professor Dumpster’s ongoing dumpster experiment is geared to capture the attention of a wide audience and ignite accessible (and entertaining) dialogue around the concept of living with less. It’s also just one of many platforms in a groundbreaking green campus initiative at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. While the dumpster is based in the heart of East Austin it’s also intended to be a mobile house that will move around the state and country on educational tours. Let us know if you’d like the dumpster to make a stop at your school or community event. Our “casa” es su casa!
In the final analysis, the dumpster project is a grand experiment that asks: “Can one have a pretty good life as part of the ‘new one percent’, that is, living on 1% the energy and water of the average American home? ” Professor Dumpster and his students think so. Join us on the journey and support the project today.