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Monday, May 5, 2014 - 11:32am

Living Large in Micro Houses: Say Hello To 'SCADpad'

Imagine a living space with chiming walls, colored lighting to mirror mood, and fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs growing right outside of the window. Now, imagine it all in a 135- square- foot parking space. That’s a reality for some students at the Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Say hello to modern urban living at its greenest with SCADpad — three tiny residences each built the size of a single parking space. Student designers, professors and alumni saw future urban obstacles as opportunity. The challenge: too many people, too little space.

Jerome Elder is a graduate student at SCAD. Elder, who is majoring in Design for Sustainability, helped design one of the SCADpad units. He also had a large hand in developing the recycling system and community garden.

Jerome Elder helped mastermind the SCADpad recycling program and community garden (Photo Credit: Grace Olson, GPB News)

“We realized we have population growth happening and with that we have a movement to urban areas so with more people,” said Elder. “We have to find innovative ways of changing and living smaller.”

Scott Boylston is the program coordinator for the Design for Sustainability program. He’s one of the professors leading the project to make the SCADpad units both fully sustainable and waste-management conscious.

“The big thing is adaptive reuse of a structure. The greenest building is a building that already exists,” said Boylston.

Green living in a mini space is one concept Sharika Menon says she learned through small details when she lived in the micro home for 10 days. The SCADPad team gave residents a NuBox— a waste management container built from recycled materials. The container is located on the side of each unit, and handles composting, recycling, and trash disposal.

The SCADpad kitchen is full equipped with appliances, including a stove and microwave (Photo Credit: Grace Olson, GPB news)

“The NuBox that they have provided outside for our trash disposal...that’s when I actually got to learn that most of the stuff we throw away is recyclable.”
High-tech gadgets play a big part in making the micro units sustainable. An iPad is used to frost and defrost the windows, adjust the thermostat, and control lighting. And while SCADpad is a tiny fraction of a typical living space, don’t expect a lack of household amenities.

“There are no compromises,” said Boylston. “You have a full shower, a toilet, two sinks, a refrigerator and freezer, an induction stove, a microwave oven.”

SCADpad is a student project now, but the micro-community is a snapshot of a possible solution to Atlanta’s urban housing challenges.