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Off-Grid Cabin with Energy Wheel, Floating Bed & Indoor Climbing Wall


>>MAT: Hey everyone in this video, we’re gonna give you a tour of this off-grid micro cabin. It’s a fun, interactive living space with some really unique features. In the middle of the room, there’s a bed that can be raised up to the ceiling. There’s a climbing wall. There’s also 2 lofts with a fireman’s pole to come down. There’s 6 solar panels to power the cabin and there’s also a human powered energy wheel inside that helps top up the batteries. We’re going to give you a full tour in this video. Let’s go check it out. [Music Playing] So right now we’re at a place called Le Vertendre in Eastman Quebec and we’re in one of their cabins which is called The Zoobox. The cabin is 20X26 feet and the whole front wall is all glass and a lot of the windows open so you can get some good cross ventilation in here. The cabin is insulated with rigid foam. So when you first come in you’ll notice that it’s just one big open room. There’s no partitions. It’s just an open-concept space and starting here on the left, you have the kitchen. [Music Playing] Over here, there’s lots of storage space for all the kitchen stuff. In this cupboard, you got all the cutlery and then down here they hid the fridge in this cupboard and the fridge is electric so it’s running off the solar power system. And then in the kitchen, it’s just open-concept shelving which I really like. They used some galvanized pipes to support the shelves. There’s a propane cooktop and oven. The sink is over here and all the water that’s supplied to the cabin is coming from a well that’s on-site. There’s also a propane hot water tank. [Music Playing] Over here, on the bathroom door, it’s kind of neat. They put up a diagram to explain how all the off-grid systems work. So that people staying here can understand and appreciate how everything’s coming together to make this tiny cabin function. Through here is the bathroom. It’s small but there’s everything you need: toilet, sink, shower, and there’s a septic tank on-site for the gray and black water. Over here is probably my favorite feature of the cabin. It’s basically a giant human-sized hamster wheel that generates power for the cabin. So you basically just walk in it. You can even do a bit of a jog and it generates power. Most of the power that’s fed to the cabin is coming from the 6 solar panels on the roof. But the wheel can be used to supplement the solar power system and help top up the batteries. Basically the way it works is that there’s a dynamo hooked up to this wheel that converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy. You’ve probably seen smaller versions of this which are the bike lights that are charged by the movement of the wheels. Over here is a charge controller so you can keep track of how much power is coming in. How much is being used. There’s also a backup generator on-site that kicks in, if the batteries are too low. [Music Playing] Over here in the corner, there’s a nice hanging chair for just lounging, relaxing, and looking out into nature. The bathtub is right out in the main living space in front of the window. which is nice because you can take a bath with a great view. Over here is a futon couch that turns into a bed, but that’s not the main bed. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the video, the main bed is up on the ceiling. Having a hanging bed like this is a really cool space saving feature because it really opens up the room during the day and you don’t have to make the bed. You just pull it up and you also don’t have to have a separate bedroom for it. So the dining space is under it. The chairs can be moved away and the table is on wheels so that can be tucked away in the corner also. The bed is hooked up to a pulley system with a counterweight and the counterweight is the same weight as the bed. That way it’s easy to pull it down and push it back up. Over here is the wood stove that supplies heat to the cabin, but the cabin also has a heated floor. There’s glycol tubes running through the floor. It’s powered by propane and that supplements the heat coming from the wood stove. The heated floor is also thermostat controlled so the house won’t freeze when no one’s here. This is kind of the fun wall. The whole wall is actually a blackboard so you can write and draw on it and there’s also obviously the climbing wall which is a really unique and really awesome feature. The climbing wall along with the wheel you can actually get a pretty good workout in this space. On the climbing wall, there’s also a beanbag game that you can play. And if you get bored of climbing and playing and there’s also a lounging chair here, a TV in front and a popcorn machine for relaxing. Another cool feature of this cabin is this wall ladder that leads up to two small lofts that can be used for hanging out, but they can also serve as sleeping lofts. They both have mattresses in them. And then to come down you can use the ladder or the fireman’s pole. [Music Playing] This is one of the most creative spaces we’ve seen so far. We love that the cabin is off-grid but you don’t really notice because the systems are so easy to use. And the extra features like the climbing wall and the energy wheel really help liven up the space. If you’re interested in checking out one of these zooboxes, we’ll put a link in the description of the video. Also, if you like this video, please share it. Don’t forget to subscribe and thanks for watching.

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100 thoughts on “Off-Grid Cabin with Energy Wheel, Floating Bed & Indoor Climbing Wall

  1. that is one sad climbing wall and those bean bag game things poking out of the wall dont look safe to be climbing around

  2. Well, looks like you’re going to be alone for a while..also, why not just fling the ‘energy wheel’ like they do on price is right? Who’s wasting time walking on that?

  3. I wonder how much power that humanster wheel provides and if you could coax a dog into doing its zoomies in it. 😀

  4. The energy wheel is super cool but doesn't seem as efficient/comfortable as generating power via stationary bike. Less space taken up too.

  5. God, what I wouldn't give for open shelving at eye-level and I don't just mean in the kitchen. Stooping and opening cupboard doors is for adolescents and plumbers 😉

    Come the day, I want shelving EVERYWHERE – metres and metres of it – from chest height to somewhere around the bridge of my nose. Living room, workshop, garden shed – you name it, there should be open shelving everywhere.

    Thanks for the video.

  6. Off-grid … using propane for the stove, hot water and power shortages.
    At least "The fridge is electric, so it's running of the solar power system." What a technological marvel….

  7. I see why many people don't like the hamster wheel, but as I walk around my room when I study anyways, I quite like the idea.

  8. Why a hamster wheel though? Wouldn´t a bike be more efficient? I have no idea about this but considering how small that generator beneath it was a bike would spinning it much faster

  9. such a "Hamster wheel" would also be perfect in off grid houses with a dog (for the dog to run in). I have seen such in a historic museum in Cloppenburg, Germany.
    (for humans I think it would be more efficient to generate power with an exercise bicycle.
    actually all exercise bicycles in fitness centers SHOULD harvest power this day in age, I don't understand why this isn't done yet.)

  10. since it's not lived in but only a vacation rental, there are so freaking many hazzards and opportunities for the owners to get sued, or have their insurance be through the roof. Also, you're in the middle of gorgeous nature, do you really need a climbing wall and a fireman's pole to essentially useless lofts? It's very showy with lots of bells and whistles but not a lot of function and very poor use of space….seems like someone making something "different" just for the sake of making it different, not form following function….Like why put the fridge behind another door? that would get old real quick. And what's up with that upper cabinet that's 3" deep and only holds 3 utensils? So we hide the bed, hide the fridge, but put the bathtub in the open, build 3 virutally useless lofts, add a stripper pole and call it a day? got it

  11. I was going to make fun of the hamster wheel but if it generates energy and you can supplement it for a treadmill… and get some real-time mileage on it all the while powering up some electricity? I can get down with that

    Rock wall is a bit much though. You do have nature right outside and the wall is sneezable at best

  12. yes good simple design- i would just add a properly designed cantilevered south solar overhang- and bigger cantelevered overhangs on the other sides for outdoor storage or decks.

  13. "Energy wheel." Lol. Don't church it up, Dirt. What you have there is a hamster wheel.
    What's sad is you have all this wonderful nature around to explore; but there are folks who would probably rather just hop on the wheel.

  14. Why is the mini fridge down on the ground? Very annoying to use, I know from experience. I put my mini fridge at countertop height. The human dynamo wheel is a fabulous idea.

  15. Hey I like it when we were kids our friends had a school bus in the yard made into a hangout with lights and television we used stationary bicycle to generate energy for the battery it was fun pedaling for power guess now days we'd of had solar panel roof lol anyway I could see this being the way of the future and I'd bite…

  16. Large windows with no drapes. Humans in a cage. Why the climbing wall? You have the outside for recreation. Perfect for Bigfoot to watch you.

  17. This cabin would be cool to visit but I could never live in it, not cosy at all. I need partitions. also do not like bathtub in the living area right by the window!

  18. Would love to know the specs of the human wheel. Say if you're a fitness freak and run on it for an hour – I wonder how much power that could generate?

  19. This just looks like a micro version of a mega church youth center. Maybe I’m just getting old, but this is very unattractive. You have a beautiful view of nature outside, but this weird, boxy jaggedness about the home. There’s nothing cozy about feeling like you’re in a cage. But I guess zoobox is a very appropriate name for it.

  20. Kinda of a bad place to sleep isnt it? Like in the middle of the room? C'mon should have put the bed in one of the lofts

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