We knew coffee had some magical powers over our productivity, but we had no idea it could also make our homes more efficient. Dunkin Donuts, the popular coffee, donut, and bagel chain recently unveiled a 275-square-foot “Home That Runs on Dunkin” — a tiny house powered completely by recycled coffee grounds. As part of a collaboration between Dunkin Donuts and builder New Frontier Tiny Home, the house was constructed on a trailer for easy transport, and aesthetically inspired by Dunkin Donuts’ pink and orange logo. It’s also full of black-stained cedar, evoking the color of coffee.
Inside the house there’s a master bedroom with a king-sized bed, a spa-like bathroom, a chef’s kitchen, an elevated dining area with large windows, and an open-air cedar porch. Actress Olivia Wilde designed the interior, which includes reclaimed wood siding and shiplap, and multifunctional furnishings to make efficient use of space.
The home’s most impressive attribute, however, is its ability to operate entirely on clean energy. Its biofuel is created by extracting excess oils from coffee grounds, then mixing them with alcohol to achieve a reaction called transesterification. The resulting biodiesel burns efficiently, and can be used by a standard biofuel generator. 170 pounds of recycled coffee grounds produce about one gallon of fuel.
The project is meant to be a positive example of how to reuse waste, and create sustainable energy systems for home use.