Saturday, October 06, 2007

Touring the Solar Homes of Houston

October 6 was the solar home tour. We managed to make it to 3 of the homes around Houston. We started in Galveston at a net-zero energy home. I think it was the most conventional of the homes we saw. It had 21 solar panels that produced 2.1 kW, and when we were there, it was sending 1.9 kW back to the grid. Of course, the only thing running was the a/c unit. The guys there said the PV array cost around $24K. The house also had a wind turbine and a biodiesel generator. It was designed to be extremely airtight to minimize heat loss and a/c usage. I think it was the prettiest house we saw.

We went into Houston to see two others. They were both much more modern and industrial-looking. They were LEED certified; one was platinum. I really liked how one of them was designed to fit in with the narrow lot and take advantage of the area.

Unfortunately, it seems like being green is great when you can custom build, but we won't really make a change until we get the tract builders to start building green, and that probably won't happen for many more years.

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