Tiny houses on wheels – SLO’s climate destruction?

John Ewan

OPINION by 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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