In 2010, Stew McInnes picked up a book about the process and advantages of building small, self-contained living units: “The Small House Book” by Jay Shafer. Upon finishing the book, MacInnes said, he couldn’t stop thinking about this concept.
Today, MacInnes is the owner and CEO of Maximus Extreme Living Solutions, a company that builds self-contained tiny homes.
“The ingenuity of the tiny homes is what got me interested in the first place,” MacInnes said. “I love good ideas, and this was a good idea that I wanted to be a part of.”
MacInnes said he is interested in bringing even more good ideas into the company by getting students involved in the form of internships, work-study options or other programs. He said he is especially interested in Weber State University students, having graduated from Weber State College in 1988.
“I know there are a lot of people out there that are smarter than me, and I want to work with those people,” MacInnes said. “We want to involve the college and harness the bright minds of people with great ideas.”
The company started up last August when MacInnes and his colleagues built two prototype homes and began marketing the idea out of Ogden. He has particularly marketed the homes to individuals who live and work in extreme environments.
“They are intended to withstand extreme rigors associated with exploration and extraction of domestic energy,” MacInnes said. “They have a low-energy profile, are inexpensive, easy to operate and extremely functional.”
As he did preliminary research for the company, MacInnes conducted field interviews with individuals who work in that area and found that their needs were similar. They wanted somewhere to live that is safe, warm and feels like home. MacInnes said his tiny homes fill each of those needs and then some.
The technology Maximus Extreme Living Solutions uses in each of its homes is one way the homes are able to sustain certain conditions that other homes could not.
The walls of each home are made with a polyurethane foam insulation paneled with a foil radiant vapor barrier, which reflects heat and keeps the home warm despite outside conditions. The panels are energy-efficient and lightweight.
“The homes are also meant to have the look and feel of an actual home,” MacInnes said. “They are small by design, but standing in one, you can stand up straight, walk around comfortably, and they just look great.”
The homes are also designed to have no carbon footprint and be completely self-contained, meaning they can operate on their own for extended periods of time without being hooked up to gas or sewer lines.
Brian Plyer, one of MacInnes’ associates at Maximus Extreme Living Solutions, said this concept is a step forward, particularly because of its green potential.
“The way things are going about, everything is going green,” Plyer said. “Everything about these homes are sustainable. It’s the way of the future.”
Each home is equipped with a six-volt battery, which can keep electricity flowing in the home for around 24 hours on its own. Additionally, the homes run off of generators and can plug into power sources. Some homes have solar-voltaic power cells on the outer panels as well.
“We call this a redundant power source,” MacInnes said. “There are multiple sources of power, and each backup power source has a backup power source.”
The homes also have either composting or incinerating toilets and two on-board water containment tanks, each with a 105-gallon capacity.
MacInnes said that although the homes are highly equipped with the latest technology, they are relatively inexpensive because, using minimal resources, they are simplistic by design. The homes are also affixed to mobile platforms.
“Because of its mobility and its capabilities, there is a lot of opportunity with this homes,” Plyer said. “Beyond just portable houses in oil fields and safe housing, the possibilities are endless here. We’ve talked about mobile homes for camping, mini roaming offices, mobile hair salons, mobile bomb squad — the list goes on.”