Part of the fun of planning my shed-house(for the distant future) is finding economical ways to make it livable and comfortable. I could go with the traditional methods of hooking up to a septic system and bringing electricity from the electric company. But there are other options to consider.
A septic system costs about $6,000 to install. I might be able to attach my shed to the existing septic but it would still cost a grand or two because they would have to dig under the mobile home. Another option is to buy a composting toilet such as this Biolet composting toilet. Here is a blog about a girl who built her own tiny house: Turnbull tiny house complete with a composting toilet and solar panels. Those toilets are quite expensive. The model she used was priced at $1,400! That's a lot of money for a toilet and that was the cheap model! There are other low tech options such as a 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat. Sawdust is used to absorb liquid and cover the smell. I even saw a homemade version on ebay from what looked like a Rubbermaid container. They wanted $500! Those homemade toilets look an awful lot like human litter boxes. I might as well just share with my cat :) Oh no! My mother's fear has come true! I am turning in to a crazy cat lady! An in-between option would be to buy a portable camping toilet which costs from $70-$150. I do have access to the septic drain. I would just need to empty my toilet once a week. I have to empty my RV holding tank once a month so I am used to the chore anyway. All other waste water from the shower, sink and laundry could be directed to the landscape so if I had a composting or portable toilet I wouldn't even have to be connected to a septic system.
Electricity is a little more complicated. Air conditioning is a must! I found an ad for a wall mounted AC, the kind I saw on the home tour. LG brand wall mount air conditioner Guess the price? $1,400! Yikes, the toilet that I want AND the AC cost $1,400 a piece. I think I could live with a plain old thru the wall version. They only cost $150.
Now, I'm not sure how much it would cost to bring electricity to the shed but I do know that I can't seem to find an electrician willing to come out here for such a small job. There are solar panels from Camping World that cost from $30 for a small panel that just keeps an RV battery charged (good for a few lights) to a large panel for over $2,000 that would run a water pump, microwave and TV. That still leaves the water heater, AC, and room heater without power. Hot water could be heated by the sun at least half of the year. I could just buy a snowsuit for the short winter. Propane gas is an option for both the heater and water heater. AC is still a problem. I don't how much it would cost for enough solar panels and batteries to run one of those wall mounted AC units (the house on the home tour had enough panels on the roof to run the AC)but I bet it is expensive. I guess an easier option would be to install a RV outlet in my shed and buy a 50 foot, 30 amp extension cord. They only cost $80 and would run all of my electronics. I wonder if my shed is more than 50' away from the electrical box? That could be a problem.
I would love to do all of the new cool stuff but sometimes simple and cheaper is the way to go. Well, I have a few years before my shed-house will be a reality. I can't wait to see what innovative stuff they invent next.