ST. GEORGE-An entrepreneur with deep community ties has invented a tiny house concept that will be affordable and easy to assemble, with future goals to include water conservation for their communities’ sustenance.
Inventor Mike Taggett has a long history of business that stems from the variety of inventions he has created.
“The biggest challenge is getting your ideas out there and getting someone interested enough to come hang out and learn,” Taggett said. I think we need to give individual inventors more time to tell their stories and I hope I can.
Taggett said he first worked in construction in college and later became a river guide in Moab. He was later hired as a guide at Hurricane to lead wooden rowboat tours in the Grand Canyon. During the offseason, Taggett said he bought a sewing machine and started making different styles of eyeglass cords. He came up with his own personal design and turned it into a successful full-time business.
“They just took off,” Taggett said of Chums, his retainer eyewear company. “I received a large order from Swatch Watch. The owner of the company loved them and wanted to add them to his line.
Taggett said Swatch placed a test order for 10,000 pieces and then placed an order for 290,000. He grew the company to 60 employees and made about 30 eyeglass cords over 18 years. He then sold the company, which still operates in Hurricane to this day.
“I’m a resourceful, entrepreneurial person, and I’ve always been self-employed,” Taggett said.
Taggett said he moved to Detroit, Michigan for a few years and learned metalworking, casting and precision machining. He developed his own steam engine, with an emphasis on alternative energy and the recovery of waste heat.
The market never developed for this niche product, and he moved on to other things, including the exercise machine called “Human Dynamo”, which he invented in 2010. Exercise machines were designed to generate electricity, including a model with a desktop computer that charged a laptop simply by pedaling. Since he was working in a competitive company with liability issues and equipment failure, he had to put this project on the back burner.
Over the past few years, Taggett has worked on various projects such as biodegradable coffee cups made from pine-based liners and the “Arica Toilet”, a small hybrid urinal that uses only 12 ounces of water per flush.
“My job as an inventor and entrepreneur is to get a great developer to go, ‘That’s a really cool idea, we’ll do 10,000 homes next year in Phoenix with the toilets’ and, ‘I’ve a guy at American Standard who would look at this thing,” Taggett said. “It’s sort of the premise of an inventor with various projects.
With the current housing market and the price of even tiny homes being expensive per square foot, Taggett said many hopeful homeowners have limited options. This is what led him to his new project: the construction of unique and resourceful little houses.
With his background in construction, Taggett spent time planning and making cardboard models for what he calls the Rambler House. At 750 square feet plus 250 square feet in the attic, these 1,000 square foot homes would feel more spacious than a standard tiny home at a much lower cost.
Regarding water conservation, Taggett said the average person uses about 150 gallons of water per day and hopes to reduce that usage to 30 gallons with Ramber homes. While most areas currently don’t allow reuse of rainwater, he hopes to change that.
“They don’t allow you to take water from your shower or washing machine and store it in a tank and use it on the garden or trees either, which is ridiculous as we are in a period drought,” Taggett said.
In addition to water conservation, the Rambler Homes plan includes reduced cost of ownership by using wall modules that bolt into steel frames, allowing carpenters and tradesmen to easily assemble them. Although the cost of materials is about the same as other houses, the labor will be significantly less, due to the time required to build them.
“It’s really a question of methodology. A team of four people could assemble the frame and create the modules in a week, whereas conventional framing involves so many pieces and work,” Taggett said.
With the design and engineering of homes already completed, including structural drawings by a mechanical engineer, Taggett’s goal is to create a village of 30 Rambler Homes priced at $275,000 each, with a mixed-use community that will include a few retail stores open to the general public.
“I’m looking for like-minded people to collaborate with. I would be the designer and I would lead the architect and I would put the whole vision together and then I would be a minority partner,” Taggett said.
For more information about Rambler Homes, contact Mike Taggett through his website.
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