I thought I would share my experience at the Houston Solar Home Tour and since it was quite a long day, I have decided to break this up in to 3 different posts. ******
Well, even though it was a little rainy and overcast, we had a great time at the Houston Solar Home Tour. Unfortunately I was unable to go to all of the homes but I did make it to 4 homes and Saint Catherine's Montessori School. There were some amazing homes and most were not complete yet. They were all at various stages of completeion and the Houston Renewable Energy Group ended the day with a fantastic picnic where the homeowners fixed up some great Chili! It was great seeing so many people in town interested in learning about Renewable Energy and Green Building. Not only did all of the buildings I visited have Solar Panels, they were all designed for or already LEED Certified! That's Great! All of these homes were in various stages of completeion, the first one was complete.
I thought I would take you on a tour of the homes I visited just in case you missed it or were not able to go. I will also be putting links throughout to different vendors, builders and to different sites that explain products or practices. So, house by house, here we go!
The first home on my tour was located in the Memorial area and was constructed with Insulated Concrete Forms. It was built by Greenhaus Builders and Designed by Kathleen Carrier with Evergreen Design Studio. Both of which stay up to date on innovative techniques and products for Sustainable and Green Building/Design.
Walking in and around this home I saw so many green features that I believe it would be hard to list them all here. The first thing I noticed walking up was its amazing Contemporary design and indigenous landscaping. The photo you see to the left is the backside of the home where you will notice two sets of Solar Panels. One of those being the 3kw System, the other I will get to.
As you walk around the exterior of the home, one of the items you will notice is 3 exterior units that are part of the homes' 20 SEER A/C system with Air Filtration. I am told that it is state of the art and about the most advanced system available. In the attic you would find Icynene insulation at an R-Value of 40 that would help to keep it COOL, atleast cooler than you could ever imagine an attic in Houston being. In fact, the attic is considered to be Semi-Conditioned to help the efficiency of the HVAC. Just imagine what the heat in your attic does to your A/C ducts!
As you continue to walk around outside you will also find one of the two Tankless Rinnai Hot Water Heaters. There is even a Solar Water heater as backup. That is the other panel on the roof that I said I would get to.
There is so many Green Features in this home, it is amazing. Here is a list of some of the other features that caught my eye:
- Steel siding and roof
- Energy Star Appliances
- Bamboo Flooring
- Energy Efficient Windows
- Dual Flush Toilets
- I also believe there were other floorings, but I could be mistaken.
This first home was stunning and the most Efficient home I have ever seen. I have to give the homeowner's a BIG GREEN thumbs up with this one!
The 2nd home on my tour was in the early stages of construction and it looks as though they are combining Active and Passive Solar on this Contemporary design. This home will have 150kw of Solar Panels which they expect to make it completely self sufficient.
It is at this stop that I learned a little more about Rainwater Harvesting. This home is being built by Dovetail Builders, Inc.
Some of the Green Features of this home are:
- 4 GeoThermal HVAC Systems
- Rainwater Harvesting
- Materials with Recycled content and other manufactured materials from only sustainable sources
- Low VOC Paints
This is one home that I would love to be on tour next year so that I could see it complete!! I think it will be fantastic!
To view parts 2 and 3 of the series, please use the following links: