Could SLO’s tiny home plan derail zero net energy goal?

October 22, 2018

John Ewan


Climate change is the result of decisions and actions we make on how much of, and how we use, the world’s natural resources.

San Luis Obispo’s proposed Tiny House on Wheels ordinance, created and passed at the direction of the City Council on Oct. 10, blows a hole in San Luis Obispo’s Climate Action Plan and stated goal of creating a “net zero” energy future.

The Planning Staff and Commission did not address this goal, leaving energy efficiency entirely at the discretion of the tiny house on wheels’ builder, without any guidelines or goals stated. This would be a giant step backward in our commitment to attaining a “net zero” community and our city’s adopted Climate Action Plan.

The State of California has actively promoted energy efficiency for the built environment since 1978 through Title 24, part 6. Title 24 has been updated over the years to set the stage for our “net zero” built environment, with the 2019 update to fully embracing and promoting net zero homes. California’s energy standards are crucial to reducing Green House Gas emissions of the electricity and natural gas sectors, and to lowering the costs of energy to consumers.

Before the city moves forward with the acceptance of tiny houses on wheels as full-time residences in our city, there needs to be appropriate requirements that the structures be built to efficiency guidelines that, at the very least, reflect our current T-24 standards for all residential buildings.

Not requiring energy conservation features for tiny houses on wheels would be a rebuke of our city and state goals to build a “net zero” community. Providing housing that is costly to heat, cool, light and ignoring our Climate Action Plan, would be inconsistent, environmentally damaging, discriminatory and lazy.

John Ewan is a former San Luis Obispo councilman, a Title 24 residential energy analyst and the owner of Pacific Energy Company in San Luis Obispo.


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HH is a flower child .A Blooming Idiot.


John has put his finger on a real problem — the hypocrisy of this council in calling for a net zero city then also calling for things that undercut that goal. They flail around because the mayor is clueless.

Unfortunately, however, John’s solution — the city’s requiring tiny houses on wheels to meet Title 24 — cannot happen. Wheeled “houses” are recreational vehicles, regulated by the state. Only if the state mandated RVs meet T 24 could this happen — and that seems very unlikely. Then there’s interstate commerce: can the guy from New Mexico who wants to move here be prohibited from bringing his out-of-state tiny house on wheels because it doesn’t comply with T24? Again, seems unlikely. So, Mayor Harmon, make a choice: net zero city, or continuing to vote for things that make that impossible?

nazbol gang

I’m not against allowing people to put trailers on their property, but tiny houses are very much a “let them eat cake” solution to the housing problem. It’s a cynical solution by a corrupt government who doesn’t give a darn about the working class. I’d be much happier if they were honest and just said SLO isn’t for the working class man, than these paint a lipstick on a pig solutions.


And Heidi Harmon is Marie Antoinette.


Ahhhh, here we go, affordable housing just went up in smoke again, some thinker wants to propose a whole bunch of malarkey on a home builder, that I’m pretty sure has rules to work with already but thats not good enough for some they want more, and people whine about affordable housing, this is why.


Tiny houses on wheels are dubious affordable housing. They’re about 100 square feet. If you read the lit online, you’ll see they typically cost $20,000 or more to build if you do it yourself (i.e., mostly free labor). That’s $200+ a square foot, and for that you could build a real house. Get somebody to build one for you, and you’ll be paying more than for a real house. Anyway, tiny houses are made to be cute, so their main purpose will probably be as airbnbs, not housing.


Check this place out; this is what they want for all of us! Super high density housing, walk or bike where ever you have to go, Hell on earth!


Here is another example of staff and/or ex staff attempting to control what the city does. They push their opinions, as in this case, to a whacko city council and you end up with another mess. Take these actions, and then what you have that might be affordable becomes unaffordable. Once again, thank you government for your support of affordable housing with layers and layers or rules and restrictions. As a tag line these “mini” homes are not homes but just trailers parked anywhere in the city that someone desires. There are no utilities so the Thunder Mugs will probably be poured outside the front door. Hmmmmm! Just another additive to the swamp/


As per usual, it’s not really about whether or not what the council does is actually good,

it’s all about whether it sounds good.

nazbol gang

Exactly. Politics has become a kabuki theatre to convince the sheep that everything is fine, meanwhile the developers and apparently pot growers now are actually running the show.


The city council is crazy. As usual.

Rich in MB

Man made climate change is a bigger hoax than affordable housing in SLO