When Alex Melamed and his wife moved to the tradiational brick and mortar town of Yellow Springs, Ohio they built a home only as big as they needed at the time. Melamed is a builder and could keep costs low while still incorporating high design elements like shou-sugi-ban (charred wood) siding. The tiny square house was affordable to build and to run. It meets Passive House standards relying on “primo” insulation, passive solar and a heat pump when necessary. “Our electric bill was $36 last month,” explains Melamed.