Backers Feedback

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To Be Addressed

Have you thought about translating your work into Spanish?

Kind regards

Arnau Martí

Bannister - Legal problems, Australia has laws on buildings, how can I 'get around' some of them.. since here a 'shed' less than 3mx4m can be built without approval, some people are working on '3mx4m 'mini houses' in parts.. then just 'joining' them years later. Hope to see something about that in your document/book/website

Radiolab or 99% Invisible would be great podcasts to try to talk to.

Relevant authors:


Marcin, I noticed your hanging plant tubes in your greenhouse appear to be uncoated PVC. Not sure if you are aware of or have looked into any leaching problems with PVC. If not, I'd encourage you guys to do some research. There's also potential problem with PEX as well. Just something to be aware of, especially around direct sunlight. You definitely don't want to use "uncoated" PVC outdoors. I'm actually looking into HDPE as an alternative right now:

I would suggest some tips or backer reward of a side pamphlet on finding and choosing contractors or local build teams... Not everyone can muster a big team to help build s project like this and few know how to contract builders as high priced architects tend to do most of that

Places I could see this and also be excited - Medium, Pinterest, Improvised Life. Tags in addition to those listed above - tiny homes, small spaces, diy. Podcasts - Stuff You Should Know; create a Ted Talk? Other podcasts I haven't listened to yet but might work for you - Young House Love, NPR's How To Do Everything, House Planning Help, The Housing Hour, Killer Innovations

Or the small house movement (tons of these guys are on the web). See if they'll post on Facebook, Twitter or their email lists. Perhaps entice them with a couple of free giveaways for their lists -- the book perhaps. Good luck!

I suggest you use *FB* and this service called *Thunderclap <>;,* to spread the message on your campaign. You want your campaign to go viral in the 30 or so days left on your campaign. There are a bunch of FB groups and pages that you need to post your campaign on if you have not done so already. Also, I suggest that you reward people for spreading your campaign. Not sure how you can do that and well, if you like this suggestion, you will figure out how to do it.

Engadget and Gizmodo might be good to talk to as well, both from a sustainability standpoint and the open source aspect of the project. Startup is a pretty popular podcast that has been featuring different businesses, but I don't think that would move fast enough to help make sure the project gets funded.

Jeremy Irwin - I found out about your project because Kickstarter featured it on their front page. I was drawn to it as I had just attended a Permaculture training in Koshkonong, MO at Jordan Rubin's farm. Bill Wilson from Midwest Permaculture taught the course. One of the many things that he covered was different types of housing. Also, he had briefly gone over your open source initiative for equipment. I'm very pleased to see the progress that has been made.

· To be able to build a 700 square foot house for $25000 (about NZD35177) in five days seems unbelievable, but your approach makes sense and seems feasible. The situation in Auckland is such, that most first-home buyers can’t buy a house, because of the costs. Average house price is close to NZD900,000.

· The Open Source principles make the building process transparent, flexible and free from a lot of unnecessary costs.

· Use of the eco-features you propose, which through this open-source process will also be more cost-effective, efficient and eco-effective.

· Your projects are well-researched, well-presented and appealing.

I look forward to following your progress and may get opinions from some architects and builders on the principles and how difficult it would be to use these principles, techniques, materials and tools in New Zealand.

I can’t think of anything that you have missed in the presentation. I don’t see any other rewards backers would need than to become part of a global movement to make sustainable house ownership achievable for anyone.

You could approach ‘Housing New Zealand’. This is a government agency charged with providing affordable housing to under-privileged sections of the population here.

So instead of marketing your dream as "open source" which might not really appeal to the longing of a private home where you feel to be yourself.. maybe something like or might be better. The idea that your home is growing and living like yourself do.The idea that the home really becomes part of you.

> any comments on what (to you) is the most compelling part of our project? To build a home for low price and - very important - the one that is easily expandable. I wish there were demos or design mockups of possible homes. The one shown, as far as I remember, did not look that great. So I thought, you pay what you get for. Still I wish the overpriced construction industry be disrupted and people can build a nice home for much less than $150K or more it costs now. That;s why I supported. You guys on the right track I think,

Elliot Reed - Once the campaign is funded, gains popularity and becomes more streamlined you might announce a kickstarter or GoFund me campaign using your technology to help a homeless family obtain a home. Sadly in our modern world finding a homeless family would be the easy part, perhaps you can integrate it into a news or an independent media segment to gain more traction

Rey Arboley - As to the rewards. They are frankly confusing in the escalation and the explanation of rewards. Usually I see kickstarters build on the offers (buy this level and receive all before plus this) or when offering different products it is very clear what is been offered. Yours did a hybrid of both. I bought the book and would have bought blue prints / sketch up / build video up sale if it would have been available. The webinars are great, but an option to combine book/plans/webinar would be more attractive. Perhaps an offer of access to streaming of a step by step demonstration/class? The smaller rewards could be system specific rewards. Something like black water to methane to reed bed plans in .pdf with a how-to video or solar systems planning and installation with suggested parts lists.

Vacation homes - Perhaps some explicit talk of vacation homes? An acknowledgement of the ecological tension, but discussion of people like me who desire access to regular, if occasional off-grid experiences but are bound to primarily urban living.promote yourself within

Retrofits - I think the most useful retrofits would be greywater, masonry heater or other alternative heating option, and replacing things like carpet, paint, and conventional home fixtures as they age. There is a lot of information available on outdoor projects like rainwater catchment, but not much about retrofitting suburban homes.


Many thanks for the message. Love the project. I have been following your work since seeing your TED talk and I admire what you do enormously. I have been trying to get interest in open source building here in Scotland through wikihouse largely and have done some work with Architecture & Design Scotland on that topic.

In terms of who to reach out to - well probably best before the campaign started but I would recommend you look at the opensource beehive project and hook up with those guys - some great links into the fablabs etc. In the UK a good influencer in the construction space is Kevin McLoud - he has also run a very very successful crowdfunding project. I would have suggested Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall but he is very involved with the UK platform Crowdfunder so, as you are on Kickstarter that might not go so well :o) Try Amy Cortese at Locavesting she would like this I think - I write for her form time to time so maybe we could do an article?

If you have shareable collateral then it makes it easier for folks like me to distribute. So infographics, photos, PR packs, pre written blogs, tweets etc etc. and if they are tied to milestones all the better.

WRT rewards - well I am happy with mine and I am looking forward to the updates as well.

One quick question - how do the designs work with building compliance requirements in the UK or elsewhere- an idea?

Best of luck with it

If you want to get in touch directly you can get me at tim[at]

Best Tim

'Accessible features' can be best explained and framed in the context of "The Principles of Universal Design." Which is designed and defined as:

“The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”

The concepts supporting and surrounding 'accessible features' is an evolving design philosophy.

Principle 1: Equitable use

This principle focuses on providing equitable access for everyone in an integrated and dignified manner. It implies that the design is appealing to everyone and provides an equal level of safety for all users.

Principle 2: Flexibility in use

This principle implies that the design of the house or product has been developed considering a wide range of individual preferences and abilities throughout the life cycle of the occupants.

Principle 3: Simple and intuitive

The layout and design of the home and devices should be easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience or cognitive ability. This principle requires that design elements be simple and work intuitively.

Principle 4: Perceptible information

The provision of information using a combination of different modes, whether using visual, audible or tactile methods, will ensure that everyone is able to use the elements of the home safely and effectively. Principle 4 encourages the provision of information through all of our senses—sight, hearing and touch—when interacting with our home environment.

Principle 5: Tolerance for error

This principle incorporates a tolerance for error, minimizing the potential for unintended results. This implies design considerations that include fail-safe features and gives thought to how all users may use the space or product safely.

Principle 6: Low physical effort

This principle deals with limiting the strength, stamina and dexterity required to access spaces or use controls and products.

Principle 7: Size and space for approach and use

This principle focuses on the amount of room needed to access space, equipment and controls. This includes designing for the appropriate size and space so that all family members and visitors can safely reach, see and operate all elements of the home.

Best concise source with examples is at

I hope this helps. I am still learning and have a great deal to learn.

Live long and prosper, Roy

Hi Marcin,

If you go to You can find the moderators on the right side at the bottom. But I noticed right now that there is some problem with Paul Wheatons account: When I click on paulwheaton12, it says account not found. Paul also has a website at, so you might be able to contact him at:

You could also try one of the other moderators, but I know Paul has a high profile.



Well, my idea was spreading the voice even among DIY / Arduino people , since they understand how worth is open source in other fields, they could could get interested in supporting your project. This facebook page of has 200k followers (, they like publishing about software but I'm pretty sure they will like something related to hardware too. Also on MAKE:, they publish a lot of complex (also) open source projects from different fields . I'm not aware of other open harware groups related to building, but I tried to google around to see if some new group was rising at the last minute... You are probably already aware of all of them, but I found these people: - paperhouses: - bricks - Aker kits (looks like only stuff for garden): - Alejandro Aravena (1 architect) . I hope that my links were not too dumb...I really don't know those people, but it looks that their idea is not really far from open source building. Again, good luck with the campaign and with the other projects! Fulvio

Celeste LeCompte Hey folks,

Just catching up on email -- this looks interesting. Marcin, I had to laugh at this: "If Andrews says most of this work has been done, he is correct if he doesn't consider price, speed of build, or ecological feature integration. I'm not really understanding why people disregard these 3 aspects." That right there is your PR challenge!

My first thought after watching the video is that you're dealing with a lot of different pitches in a single campaign: you're going for the DIY builder in the first section, but you're also developing the resources for professional builders, so that's a different audience.

You need to pitch specific stories to a wide range of publications. More on that below, but since I'm guessing you need help with the pitch process, too, some general notes on the pitch email:

You need to do four things: 1. Tell them the context in which they are interested in your story: "Tiny houses are all the rage lately, with 100,000 new TV shows airing and tweens hyperventilating about it on Snapchat"

2. Tell them something NEW about that trend: "But tiny houses often fail to live up to their owners expectations; most people move out within 36 hours of completing their project, realizing that they need more space."

3. Tell them how you know/solve/fit into that NEW information: " The Open Building Institute has a solution: a tiny house design that grows with you, as your family grows."

4. Fill it in with good details that suggest a quick call with you will make a good story for their website: your love story, problems you encountered, pictures that editors can use, etc.

For you, you'll also need to make sure you include a link to the Kickstarter Campaign as part of why someone would be interested in the story. "Our Kickstarter campaign will make these designs accessible to anyone; backers can get a copy of our fantastic book for pledges as low as $10."

For some places, you'll want to do more of the work upfront -- write your email basically as a full story that could be run on their website as is, if they chose -- while others will want the framing and the pitch, and then want to follow up. Some pitch destinations below:

For professionals:

You should pitch the 'tools for builders' aspect to Green Building & Design magazine. I no longer have any contacts there, but you could reach them here: For all editorial inquiries, contact Managing Editor Amanda Koellner: or 312.620.1193.

There are probably other trade pubs that you should reach out to; look at conventional as well as green building design. I'd be happy to look at a draft of your pitch email.

Note that, if you do this, you'll want to make sure you have reward levels that are focused on capturing this audience -- they should be the bigger price-tag items but come with more training and resources. You should round up a couple of your rewards that are more appropriate for a professional audience and be able to summarize them for the editor to include -- you want these people to back you at the big dollar level, rather than the $8 level.

For consumers: You have a bunch of angles for different audiences. No matter who you pitch, though, you'll want to have photos / images to run with a story -- send them in your pitch email. (Desperate editors hungry for copy will run stories if they can stick a slideshow of tiny house porn in it!) Don't be afraid to pander to trendy topics in your pitch process: talking about tiny homes -- that grow when you outgrow the tiny footprint -- will unlock MAJOR doors for you.

You should definitely pitch a blog post -- I recommend a pitch about your personal story, which is super charming -- to HuffPo:

You could definitely find a sympathetic writer at BuzzFeed in Doree Shafrir, if you could hook your pitch off of this recent tiny-house piece that she did. You have a good 'follow up' story:

You could (SHOULD, even!) pitch a story to The Atlantic on the angle that has come up in the thread previously: "Re-inventing the kit home for the 21st Century" -- tie your work into the precedents that have come before (the Sears & Roebuck mail order homes). It's a great mix of historical culture & new technology that would be right up their alley. I don't know who to send you to there, unfortunately, but I can look around.

Curbed has a couple of topic sections where this could be a good fit -- Pre-Fab or Tiny Homes or Home Tech -- and you should pitch them about your open source tiny house design. It's right up their alley and they've got a solid audience; it could also get promoted across the Vox network if their piece does well. They have an online pitch form here, but I'd find a writer whose work you like and email them directly. May I suggest Jenny Xie as a good person to try first? She writes mostly about tiny houses but also about renovations, tech, and transit-accessibility. So, maybe likely to bite:

Dwell would have been my go-to suggestion a few years ago, but they've faded from my world. I'm not sure if that's because they've faded or I've stopped paying attention to them. They're likely to have backers who would come in at a book-buying level of $25-50. These are people who like the idea and will support you, but aren't likely to do much more than daydream at the moment.

CountryLiving is a bit of a stretch, but it might be a different audience that would work! You should try them.

I will reach out to some of my freelance friends and see if anyone of them is interested in pitching stories off of this, too.

Daniel Morls says: Thank you Marcin. I'm using I saw your video today and I liked it. I posted a question/suggestion about dividing the 6 month immersion program in 2 sets of three months, just because it will be easier for non-US citizens to go. Best regards!

research done by Baylor on the border--Dr. John Morony I've included a draft page of a booklet that addresses the phase-change nature of clay….you guys have reduced the value of the clay walls by covering them, so not a good model of best practices to get the 20 SEEr cooling potential…..

PS on cooling and CEB's not only do the walls act as a phase-change cooling skin, but if you added a living roof, you could cut the cost of the house and cooling bill even more. If the guy is in Houston, one of the premier sod roof or green roof gurus lives and works there. She is famous and easy to find on google…green roof Houston or some such tag…Jennifer Apel:

Here is a link to his crowdfunding outline:

Hi Marcin,

You should try contacting a moderator of a relevant subreddit. Subreddits that come to mind are: /r/Permies /r/homestead r/TinyHouses r/OffGridCabins

The only one, I have heard of, is Paul Wheaton (@paulwheaton12) moderator on /r/Permies. He has also had a few projects on Kickstarter (permaculture and rocket mass heaters).

You should try contacting him.



Elizabeta Zijlstra Jovanovska says: Hi Marcin, congrats on the super idea, I do hope the campaign succeeds! I am seriously considering using this model for our own house soon. I live in Europe (Macedonia), so sadly cannot benefit from the workshops you are giving - even the one in Belgium is out of reach for the moment. Maybe consider having a tour through more European cities - I am sure there will be enough interested people to cover the costs, if announced in time and at the right places (Permaculture conventions, ecology and eco-villages portals, Building with natural materials groups etc) If you need champions in Europe I volunteer to be one and help with that, if needed - would be my pleasure. Regarding the rewards, I would suggest you make the books and the materials more international - meaning, please include the metric measurements in the documentation, for easier understanding without the need of constant conversion. I found out about the campaign via facebook, and have immediately shared it with all my networks. Keep up the good work :)

Bob Berkebile to me, Phaedra, Catarina Marcin and Catarina, My first thought is that you consider locating on the site with the tiny houses for veterans, which I have yet to see but it should simplify the code issues, and might make a larger connection for you nationally.


I would add a set of blueprints for the aquaponics house with complete material list and detailed instructions on how to build one. Easily worth $50. Are you familiar with ? Im planning on buildling this style of greenhouse w/ aquapoincs at my home in the next 1 - 2 years. Any items and details you can share with me regarding your greenhouse would be most appreciated. Thanks! - Tom

Brooke -

(1) Comment on adding clarity:

- It is unclear whether each donation tier includes the previous tiers or not. - The explanation about the tools (and where they come from) was not punchy enough for me. It didn't grab me, explain, and then move on quickly enough. - Also unclear whether these open source things would teach me to do electricity/plumbing or whether I'd need to contract that work out to someone else. Does this fixture stand entirely on its own? - Does the "participating in a building workshop" cover the cost of travel? Include either way ro else you'll have people thinking that you're going to fly them over.

(2) Parts that are compelling: Knowing that whatever happens, the results are open source so I can see the results. I am happy to see that it's not just one stand alone... here's a website as a deliverable but that it will sustain itself into the future by building a cadre of workers that can do this kind of work. It would be nice to see you also show that you are planning to market or have orders for these kinds of houses. That would demonstrate business model sustainability (not that that's what I'm backing).

(3) Media outlets... Big magazines = Dwell or Kinfolk

Best, Brooke

Milton Dixon

I'm curious about code. Where is this actually buildable in the US? For example, could I build one in my county of Washtenaw, MI? Do the compressed blocks and raw materials meet the standards of the building industry?

I'd be nice if you could pack the kit in a semi and haul it to build wherever needed with local materials. If that worked could that be offered as some very high end reward? Could be a nice turnkey business: we show up and build your home for 1/2 the price out of local materials.

I'd like to see some designs for larger spaces, offices, workshops, dancehall/common space, community living or apartments. Those would really demonstrate how the toolkit is scalable.

Also, this gets me thinking about my own work in permaculture. What would the basic manual and or basic course contain to launch someone into a relationship with a place? What would give them the holistic worldview and design tools on top of the construction set and basic designs to transform any place (Nowhere, MO to Detroit, MI) into a real human settlement? Perhaps a future project someday.

I don't think I gave you any magic but I hope this helps you on your way!


  • --*

Matthew Read,

As far as the reward tiers go, generally straight forward. Do the higher tiers include the lower tiers, ie stickers, ebook, webinars? Do the webinars include downloads and materials? The Living Home Webinar tier is "All gone!" with only 1 backer. The final release of the ebook and crash course will be included with early release? Available to everyone?

My first few thoughts. I hope it helps. Good luck and keep it up! You'll make it!

Chris Fremantle -


I suppose I have a book fetish - I would put the book in the ecoartscotland library - but I crawled up the rewards and thought that a t-shirt and some stickers would be cool. Not sure if there's anything else (but I didn't look higher up the scale).

Good luck - keep me posted - I'll happily share some more if reminded.


Martin Stalnaker -

Hi Marcin, I'm primarily interested in DIY building and energy efficiency techniques. I'm located in the Houston area which has many days with high humidity and a heat index over 100 degrees. Air Conditioning is a must. I saw very little/no info on your site about cooling and energy efficiency, which I think is important for a large portion of the southern US. I was in MO last week and I know it's an issue for you too during the summer.

I am in my mid 50's and am preparing for old age. I want to design and build a home I can live in that requires as little maintenance as possible. So while solar and wind electrical generation is admirable and something I would be interested in if I was in my 20's, $.08 per kWh with zero maintenance, repair and replacement headaches seems like the path of least resistance at a reasonable cost.

So I guess my suggestion to make your message appeal to a wider audience would be to offer more "mainstream" building techniques and alternatives. You could also reduce the number of reward offerings. Is was a bit overwhelming.

Best wishes, Martin Stalnaker

Mark Moisette -

Hi Marcin,

Glad to be able to support such a fantastic project, spent a few hours yesterday looking over all the details provided here and on your site as well, very inspiring (to say the least)! I have been following OpenSourceEcology /the GVCS from afar for years, and this is fantastic!

Sorry in advance if anything I say has been said before, or if I missed something already included in the Kickstarter presentation /text or your site

The text is clear enough, despite the huge scope of the project, not much that could be improved except for these minor points perhaps: - some of the graphics are hard to read (blurry) like the '2 year roadmap' - missing link in the following text : 'Modular home addition, built in September 2014 (click for more info)' - perhaps add some graphs simplifying some of the more text heavy parts (turnkey, workshop types, etc) - a graph/grid/spreadsheet sorting the rewards by type would be hepful : 'physical rewards that can be sent anywhere' vs construction workshops vs webinars (there are a lot of them, so a bit hard to keep track when they are only organised by cost: I just realised there was a bigger webinar package that I missed)

Just a few random thoughts on rewards: - even if for a few Pledge levels it is made clear that they 'SHIPS TO: Anywhere in the world', if you can it would be good to clarify that some (workshops, 'build sessions') are US only/ local, or at the users cost to get there. Might be trivial, but I was trying to find a clear list of rewards accessible in Europe as well. - Workshops: this is also a bit related to the above, but is not something I believe you can do much about: I would have loved to participate in some of your other workshops (Diehard Package, CEB, heck, almost any of them) , but living in Europe, that does not seem possible at this stage. Do you think it would more will be put into place at some stage ? (There is a German OpenSourceEcology group, but they do not seem to be as developed as your 'HQ' just yet) - I know a few people (me included) who would sign up & pay without hesitation if these workshops were available nearby : I have been looking for these kinds of 'hand on' + open source & pratical means of learning how to build the tools and the end results in a collaborative manner for years!

I have been experimenting with combining 3d printing, wood working, aquaponics, automation and open source for years, but having the possibility of doing this with other people, in a much more intensive manner would be dream come true !

Media and communication : not sure I can help much on this: perhaps blogs & sites dealing with tiny/ off grid living, perhaps also on . I'll also ask around at work (Open source 3d printing company), they might know a few outlets.

In all cases , please keep up the great work, I hope the Kickstarter and OBI itself will be a big success !