Hunterdon Students Learn About Eco-Friendly Homes

High school students enrolled in the Energy Technologies Program at Hunterdon County Polytech have been busy learning and building eco-friendly homes including tiny and earth homes as a way to address the environment. A ‘tiny home’ is a social movement of downsizing the space from a typical 2,600 square foot home to a 100 to 400 square foot home. This movement is happening for many reasons, including saving costs of building a new home, to address environmental concerns and the desire to seek more free time to do other things.


The students at Polytech took the ‘tiny home’ idea and designed a 104 sq. ft. or 8’ x 13’ home that has a functional kitchen and bathroom, with a living room and a bedroom. As they are building it, they are also learning about non-traditional products.


Student, Chris Miller stated he wanted to learn about construction but he was also interested in the environment. He stated, “This program really gave me the ability to work on multiple energy related projects and learn about different materials which has shown me how the two areas connect.”  This is response the instructor, Mr. Charles Lachner likes to hear. He states, “Energy consumption and the environment are topics today that students should become aware of and it is my job to give them that exposure”.


As part of the same unit of eco-friendly homes, students also built miniature earth homes made from branches, vines and mud. Earth homes are not necessarily built in the ground but are covered with dirt. The advantages are many including climate control, low maintenance, storm resistance and providing peace and quiet.


The Energy Technologies program gives students the opportunity to explore sustainable ways of creating and using energy, as well as learn about energy efficiency, natural resources and conservation methods.  Students learn about eco-friendly construction as well as wind, solar and alternative energies. For more information please contact Charles Lachner at 908-284-1444 ext. 2112, email, or visit us at