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Tiny Houses, ADUs, and Other Small Spaces

ID : 6187   
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Have you considered building a tiny house, an ADU or a “granny unit”? Perhaps you've wondered what exactly the difference is between those three, and what the positives and negatives might be for each? Do you have questions about design concepts for small spaces? Do you want to scale down your life and are thinking about a smaller, energy efficient living space that is “net-zero”? This workshop will help demystify and untangle some of the concepts and give you real tools to move forward.
During this comprehensive 2-day workshop students will hear from professionals in the fields of green building and energy efficiency, residential design and construction, computer aided design software, and Santa Cruz county building codes.
The first Saturday morning presentation will cover Santa Cruz County’s rules, regulations, and definitions for Tiny Homes, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) and Efficiency Units: This session will cover: 
  • Review of construction constraints, dimension and features, land use rules and issues that pertain to vehicles versus real property.
  • Define of what H.E.R.S. is and how it affects building design, permitting, and construction under the 2016 Energy and Building Codes and Standards. 
  • Discussion of the depreciation and appreciation of real property assets, the cost of land
  • Conclude with a review of the permit application process, including zoning. 
The first Saturday afternoon session will include: 
  • A visual tour of a tiny home in progress and Cabrillo’s Solari Green Technology Center to compare and contrast sustainable techniques with conventional building standards as they related to Tiny Homes and small structures.
  • A discussion about the purpose and ultimate goal of Tiny Homes
  • An introduction to passive, solar photovoltaic, and solar thermal), Environmental Indoor Quality, and Building Science Principles and Practices. 
  • An overview of how all of these concepts are integrated into the design and construction of safe, healthy, efficient, durable, and affordable small spaces.
The second Saturday morning session will cover concepts relating to architecture and design. This session will include : 
  • Overview of building design strategies with special emphasis on small structures and small living spaces.
  • Discussion regarding how passive solar materials and energy efficient systems can be used as part of design, as well as overall design concepts. 
  • Review of working drawings for buildings. 
  • Slide presentation of completed structures as examples of the design concepts.
The second Saturday afternoon will focus on Computer Aided Design (CAD) and how it can be used for design of small spaces. It will include: 
  • A brief tour of Cabrillo’s STEM Center. 
  • A review of software used for Computer Aided Design (CAD), including an overview of free apps that are available, and the pros and cons of each. 
  • A discussion about the typical CAD learning curve
  • A comparison of the potential benefits of hiring an architect versus learning how to use an architectural CAD application. 
  • A demonstration of AutoCAD technology and how it is used in building design.
This workshop will take place at the Solari Green Tech Center in Watsonville and Cabrillo’s STEM Center in Aptos. Students will have access to the resources from the workshop via the Extension Class Resources page.

Class Details

2 Sessions
Weekly - Sat

Watsonville Center

MultipleInstructor :
1.Dennis Diego2.WIlliam (Bill) Fisher3.Chuck Mornard4.Jim Heaney 



Please read:  This workshop will take place at the Solari Green Tech Center in Watsonville on the first Saturday, then at Cabrillo’s STEM Center in Aptos on the second Saturday. Parking is enforced 7 days a week on the Cabrillo Campus. Daily parking permits are $4.00 and can be purchased in any of the student parking lots from parking permit dispensers. Daily permits are only good for the date of purchase. Permit dispensers only accept credit and debit cards, no cash. For detailed information about parking on campus please go to



Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
4/7/2018 - 4/14/2018 Weekly - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM watsonville, Watsonville Center  Map, Room: Watsonville Center Room C108 Jim Heaney  ; Chuck Mornard  ; WIlliam (Bill) Fisher  ; Dennis Diego