Showcasing Solar: Page 3 of 3

Beginner

Inside this Article

Touring an Earth Advantage-certified “Platinum” home
The Clarks’ Earth Advantage-certified “Platinum” home.
Velux solar water heating system
Mike Davis of SOS Plumbing explains the Clarks’ Velux solar water heating system.
Real Goods solar tour
One of the earliest solar tours was organized by Real Goods in the mid-1990s.
Solar tour home in Frederick, Maryland
Many, but not all, tour homes feature photovoltaic systems, like this duplex in the North Pointe community in Frederick, Maryland.
Solar tour home in Portland, Oregon
Tour homes showcase a variety of building efficiency techniques. This Portland, Oregon, home uses a curtain wall to pack in additional insulation.
A mock-up wall assembly
A mock-up wall assembly, including window flashing, air sealing, and two layers of exterior insulation, provides a model for the construction crew to follow during a home’s deep energy retrofit.
Aerated autoclaved concrete block
High-performance materials like this aerated autoclaved concrete block can contribute greatly to a home’s overall energy efficiency.
Marilyn Pedretti, solar tour participant
Like Marilyn Pedretti, many solar tour participants are pioneers, leading the way to creating more sustainable buildings.
Touring an Earth Advantage-certified “Platinum” home
Velux solar water heating system
Real Goods solar tour
Solar tour home in Frederick, Maryland
Solar tour home in Portland, Oregon
A mock-up wall assembly
Aerated autoclaved concrete block
Marilyn Pedretti, solar tour participant

Get Your Tour On

Many registered tours aren’t as well-established and independent as NESEA’s GBOH or Portland’s BIG tour, so Braude lends special support to individuals and small organizations that want to participate in the tour for the first time.

“People will call to ask, ‘This looks like a great event; how can I get my house on it?’” says Braude, who offers tips from her own experience hosting local tours. She encourages individuals to join forces with other people in the community who have solar installations; after all, larger tours potentially attract more visitors.

“Today, ASES’s main role is to provide a website for everyone to post their tours, descriptions, and location maps,” says Braude. ASES also provides marketing materials. Tour guides, shipped free of charge to anyone who registers a tour, include basic information on solar energy and energy efficiency, as well as information about ASES chapters. ASES will also provide NST yard signs and promotional posters.

Though the NST has changed over the years, its mission remains essentially the same. “The purpose of the tour is to accelerate the sustainable energy economy,” says DiGrazia. This is accomplished through education: direct opportunities to talk with homeowners, builders, solar energy installers, and other energy-efficiency experts—not only about the technology, but about the cost of installation, availability of incentives, and leasing programs.

Access

Freelance writer Juliet Grable got hooked on solar tours after attending her local tour—the Rogue Valley Green + Solar Tour—last year. She frequently writes about sustainable building.

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