Annual sustainable home tour set for Saturday

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Submitted to the Optic
Sustainable Las Vegas wants to give residents ideas about how to save money and conserve natural resources by improving their homes.
SLV’s fourth annual Sustainable Homes Tour features local homes that provide examples of how electrical and heating bills can be reduced or eliminated by using the energy of the sun as well as various conservation measures.
The SLV’s homes tour is from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Las Vegas Arts Council building, 140 Bridge St.
The tour includes van-pooling to the sites; a guide will describe the features. A donation is requested to cover transportation costs. Space will be limited, so reserve your place by contacting Emelie Olson by phone 454-3920 or by email eolson@desertgate.com.
Reserved places will be held until 15 minutes before departure; you may sign up on the day of the event at the Arts Council.
One home on the tour actually makes money by using solar panels and selling the surplus electricity back to PNM.  The homes also include greywater systems and rainwater harvesting to reduce or eliminate dependence on well water or city water.
One of the homes on the tour is a conventional home that has been modified by the owner to be far more energy- and water-efficient.
The first home on the tour uses a passive solar approach. This architect designed home constructed in 2004 gets most of its heat from the sun using 13 south-facing patio door-sized windows.
Rainwater is collected from some roofs and used for landscaping. A vegetable garden employing drip irrigation was successful. Greywater from laundry, shower and bathroom sinks is distributed to landscaping as well.
The second home featured is an Earthship. This owner-built home was undertaken as an experiment in conservation and simplicity.
According to its originators an Earthship creates its own utilities including electricity, water and climate and is made using readily available and sustainable materials.
Heating and cooling of the home are provided entirely by the sun. Rainwater is collected from all roofs, including out-buildings. Water used for drinking is purified using filters and ultraviolet light, but apart from that the plumbing is the same as for any home.
The third home on the tour is a conventional home that has upgraded by its owners to conserve energy and water. This home in Ojitos Frios will give ideas on simple strategies to improve the performance and comfort of current homes.
The event is co-sponsored by the NMHU Conservation Club and Community First Bank.