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Electrical Systems and Energy Production for Small Homes and Tiny Home Communities

Small House Society > Resources > Designing


Most homes use 120-volt and 220-volt systems that have remained mostly unchanged for over 100 years. The fact is that electronic devices and appliances have changed dramatically over the past hundred years and power sources have also changed.

Smaller homes can take advantage of these changes and benefit from the savings, convenience, safety, and efficiency that the new technologies have to offer.

The modular LED lighting system shown here is an example. For more information about lighting, read our document on lighting for small homes.

12-Volt DC Power

Some devices such as lights, fans, mobile phones, computers, shavers, and portable radios will operate just fine using a 12-volt power source. This is because many devices are designed to operate in cars, boats, and RVs. You can even find televisions, refrigerators, and other appliances designed for 12-volts. For these reasons you may want to equip  your home with 12-volt electrical service. Since many devices work on rechargeable batteries, it’s possible to not have wiring at all and just use solar rechargeable batteries instead. Here are a few benefits of working with a 12-volt electrical system.


Below is a video showing a complete overview of small-scale energy production for communities of small homes.

Document History

This document was originally posted on 7 Feb 2011 at 11:42 AM. It was updated on 31 Oct 2022 at 9:36 AM to use the new WordPress Block Layout. The older video embed code referencing Macromedia was replaced with the video URL which automatically embeds in WordPress. Other small changes were made to layout.