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Teen turns bus into off-grid, $5,600 photovoltaic tiny home

Nineteen-year-old Jonathan Von Reusner was a sophomore going to college in his hometown and living at home. Looking for an affordable way to move out, he decided to buy a bus and build himself a tiny dorm on wheels.

He paid $2500 for a bus he found on craigslist. Then he began to home-ify it: he stripped the seats, added a hardwood floor, a futon couch/bed, a desk, a kitchen (small fridge, water cooler, gas stove) and photovoltaics. The final cost (including PV) was $5600. It doesn’t have toilet or shower facilities, but as a college student, he has free access to all that at the campus gym.

His school, Bard College (2 hours north of New York City), lets him park the bus on campus, but he can’t live in it. Wanting something more permanent, Von Reusner is now camping out- with permission- in the parking lot of the local Buddhist monastery. Since he plans on many more years as a student (he hopes to go to medical school after his final two years of college), he expects to be living in his converted bus home for many years to come.

* Video filmed by Bard film student Elisa Caffrey.