Tag Archives: Alumni

Tiny house, big idea: UC alumni Kerry explains why she built a tiny house

As part of Eco Week 2016,  you can tour tiny houses built by UC alumni.

One of these tiny homes was built by Kerry Mulligan, who graduated from UC in 2007 with a PhD in Engineering. She shares her experience of building and living in a tiny house below.


I visited South America in 2014 and was so inspired by all the people there just getting on with things. I decided that I was not going to pay rent ever again. It’s so important to observe how you live and question whether this is the way you want to live, or whether it is just habit or what you think you should be doing. It is amazing what happens once you start this process. I love experimenting and I wanted a home that would work for me and be a place that is an expression of myself and enables me to be creative.

Building a tiny house has helped me to develop a confidence in approaching situations. I now believe that I can most likely figure it out, or find someone who can. I’ve enjoyed learning new skills, the feeling of accomplishment from doing something I hadn’t done before, and the people I have met during the process. I learned how to take calculated risks too – it is important to ‘go for it’, but I also made sure I knew what I was getting myself into.

Good quality shelter is one of the fundamentals of human life and should not cost the amount of financial and material investment that our current culture demands. There is huge potential for reducing the impact our housing system currently has on our social, economic and environmental sustainability.

I hope to share land IMG_3860 smallwith other tiny home people and share resources (for example the washing machine), knowledge and work. Ideally we would have a large vegetable garden, orchard and shared workshop. I don’t yet know what to call this idea. It’s not a commune as everyone still has their own place and can make decisions around that, but maybe it’s a community in the true sense of the word.


The Tiny House Tour will be held on Thursday 22 September, from 1.30pm – 4.00pm. Meet at Erskine/Science car park, Ilam Campus. Bookings are essential as there are seats available for 22 people only. To register, email ecoweek@canterbury.ac.nz or call 03 364 2025. Bring snacks, drinks and clothes suitable for the weather (footwear with closed toes, no jandals or sandals please).

ENGS5715_Eco_Week_WordPress_BNRTo learn more about tiny houses, read Living Big in a Tiny House.

The Tiny House Tour is part of UC Eco Week 2016, which runs from 19-24 September 2016. Eco Week is a festival of events that celebrates and promotes what you can do for the environment, your community and your life.

Monday: Launch: Free ice creams & coffee. Undercroft, 12–1.30 pm.
Tuesday: Food Waste Event: Doco ‘Just Eat It’ & speakers. C Block 6–8 pm.
Thursday: Tiny House Tour. Bookings essential, 1.30–4 pm.
Friday: Edible Campus Tour. Meet Jane outside 1894,  12 pm sharp.
Friday: Sustainability Awards Ceremony. Undercroft 101, 5.30-6.30
Saturday: Sustaina-ball. Bentley’s, 7.30 – late.                                  Sunday: Drayton Reserve Volunteer afternoon (by Geosoc), 2-4pm.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nzSave

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UC alumni Kyle on how his tiny house contributes to a more sustainable world

TinyhouseAs part of Eco Week 2016,  you can tour tiny houses built by UC alumni.

One of these tiny homes was built by Kyle Sutherland, who graduated from UC in 2011 with a Bachelor of Commerce. We spoke to him about his experience of building and living in a tiny house below.

What made you decide to build your own Tiny Home? 

I’ve always thought that working thirty years to pay an enormous amount of interest to the bank just to have a roof over my head was a crazy idea. When my good friend Bryce told me about the tiny house he was building and what they can enable, I was sold. From the lower carbon footprint of the build to the ability to generate and store all of my electricity completely off grid through solar panels, tiny houses give a whole lot more than just financial freedom.

What have you enjoyed the most during your Tiny House build?

My brother is a qualified builder currently living in Australia and was an absolute legend giving up three months of work to come help me build it. I enjoyed learning a new set of skills which I previously didn’t have and now have awesome memories working on it with my friends and family.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to give it a go?

It’s a big commitment for those who aren’t as lucky to have family and friends who specialise in the necessary trades, but it is more than achievable with the amount of self-help information out on the Internet. My key piece of advice would be to do lots of research and ask lots of questions. The design of the house is one of the most crucial steps to successfully building a tiny home.

How do Tiny Houses contribute to a sustainable world?

Living in around 23m2 of space has a much smaller footprint than Ray of Light SMLthe average New Zealand home of 209m2. For example fewer resources are required to build a tiny house, and there is a much smaller area to heat in winter. Combine this with off-grid solar, thermally broken windows built with a north facing aspect, a composting toilet and rain collection, tiny houses are part of the housing solution to a more sustainable world.

The Tiny House Tour will be held on Thursday 22 September, from 1.30pm – 4.00pm. Meet at Erskine/Science car park, Ilam Campus. Bookings are essential as there are seats available for 22 people only. To register, email ecoweek@canterbury.ac.nz or call 03 364 2025. Bring snacks, drinks and clothes suitable for the weather (footwear with closed toes, no jandals or sandals please).

ENGS5715_Eco_Week_WordPress_BNRTo learn more about tiny houses, read Living Big in a Tiny House.

The Tiny House Tour is part of UC Eco Week 2016, which runs from 19-24 September 2016. Eco Week is a festival of events that celebrates and promotes what you can do for the environment, your community and your life.

Monday: Launch: Free ice creams & coffee. Undercroft, 12–1.30 pm.
Tuesday: Food Waste Event: Doco ‘Just Eat It’ & speakers. C Block 6–8 pm.
Thursday: Tiny House Tour. Bookings essential, 1.30–4 pm.
Friday: Edible Campus Tour. Meet Jane outside 1894,  12 pm sharp.
Friday: Sustainability Awards Ceremony. Undercroft 101, 5.30-6.30
Saturday: Sustaina-ball. Bentley’s, 7.30 – late.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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