New Upstate business builds tiny homes that create more energy than they use | News

TRAVELERS REST, SC (FOX Carolina) — The next big thing in tiny living is being developed right here in the Upstate. 

Justin Draplin, the owner and CEO of the Creek Walk Tiny Home Community in Travelers Rest, is breaking ground on a new project today: net-positive tiny homes, which create more energy than they use. 

Draplin’s new business, Tiny Box House, will be the first in the US to mass produce homes like these. 

“From an environment standpoint not only creating more energy than we use, but also from just a personal individual human health standpoint,” Draplin said. “[It’s] way better than what people walk into on a daily basis already.”

The tiny homes feature fully-integrated solar rooftop shingle systems, extra efficient Ohmic Array water heaters and a panelized composite interior wall building system that is fireproof, anti-mold and bug resistant.

Draplin said he’s played with the idea of net-positive tiny homes for years, but initially worried the cost of the build would be too high. 

But once he crunched the numbers, that wasn’t the case. 

“We’re really no more expensive than … somebody building the same thing with regular construction would be,” Draplin said. 

 

The base cost for a net-positive home is $75,000, not including upgrades and transportation costs. The starting price for a traditional tiny home at Creek Walk starts at $70,000, not including installation and upgrades. 

 

Draplin said homeowners could qualify for up to $15,000 in solar power tax credits and save nearly $1,200 a year on energy costs. 

 

“If you can do something that’s right and good and awesome, why would you focus on doing something that’s cheaper and easier just to make a couple more bucks?” Draplin said. 

 

The homes can be made self-sufficient enough to go off-grid rainwater filtration systems and incinerating toilets. 

 

“We talk about cord cutting for cable TV,” Draplin said. “Well, I’m talking about cord cutting for electric, cord cutting for sewer, cord cutting for water, cord cutting for gas. We’re cutting all the cords now.”

 

Tiny Box House breaks ground on the first prototype today and expects to be done within months. 

 

Draplin said he already has about 500 people interested in building a net-positive tiny home. 

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