In Central Oregon, fall means getting cozy and visiting forward-thinking and energy efficient homes on the Green Tour. For the 17th year in a row, innovative homes across our community are opening their doors and welcoming everyone to come and explore how they are saving energy.
There’s a whole world of solutions out there. We just have to find and implement them. That is what the Green Tour is all about: helping all of us find new ways to save energy at home.
This year, you will be able to tour new homes (finished just this month – Site #3) and old homes (built in 1926 – Site #1). No matter where you on your home journey, whether you’re about to design and build a new home or have lived in the same house for the past 30 years, there is something for all of us to learn (visit site #5 to see a 1970s retrofit).
You’ll get a chance to talk to all sorts of experts: designers, builders, solar contractors, and home performance contractors. They’ll help you find the energy-savings potential in your very own home.
Meet the Experts
Experts you’ll be able to talk to on the Green Tour (in addition to the super knowledgeable homeowners):
- Allen Design Studio (Site #1)
- Bend Electric Bikes (Site #3)
- Cypress Creek Renewables (Site #6)
- Dream Home Building and Design (Site #3)
- E2 Solar (Sites #1 & 9)
- Katherine Austin (Architect, Site #8)
- Smolich Nissan (Electric Cars)
- Schechter Architect (Site #9)
- Sunlight Solar (Site #3)
This year, you’ll see a big focus on indoor air quality and health. One way to improve indoor air quality is to build an airtight shell which will reduce the outside contaminants that enter your home. This is a must when building an efficient home and ensures all the cracks and crevices for outside air, or even pests, to get into your home are sealed up.
When a home is tightly sealed, it is important that occupants still have access to fresh air. This is where energy recovery ventilators (ERV) or heat recovery ventilators (HRV) come in. They bring fresh air into the home and reduce the need to heat or cool the incoming air.
HRVs and ERVs move incoming and outgoing air through a heat exchanger and recover the energy from the air leaving the home. When it is cold outside, they exchange the heat from the warm air leaving the house, to the cold incoming air. When it’s hot outside the fresh incoming hot air, exchanges heat to the cold air leaving the home. An ERV also exchanges humidity.
Check out Green Tour sites 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9 to see an ERV or HRV in action.
Existing homes can also get an air quality upgrade. Air sealing the envelope of a house is a common energy retrofit practice that will also help to improve indoor air quality. In some cases, if tests show that the home has been made tight enough, mechanical ventilation will be recommended. During an energy assessment, contractors will also perform radon and carbon monoxide tests and check combustion appliances.
Check out Green Tour site #5 for a home energy retrofit with an ERV.
You can find the full tour details at TheEnergyChallenge.org/tour or pick up a guide and coffee from Strictly Organic at The Environmental Center from 10:00 – 2:00 . The Green Tour runs from 10:00 – 5:00 on Saturday, September 30th.