Solar homes tour a shining success

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By The Staff

“We succeeded beyond my wildest expectations,” said Emelie Olson, organizer of the Solar Homes Tour on Feb. 7.

“Over 100 people visited each of the three houses during the tour, far more than any of us expected.” 

Most of these visitors apparently attended all three houses, each of which conducted their tours somewhat differently. At Linda Halouzka’s house, she showed people around her house and yard informally.

At David and Rosemarie Stoltzes’ house, David and their docents conducted more formal tours of the greenhouse and yard.

At the Olson/Yocum house, helpers handed visitors a two-page list of “sustainable features” of the site, encouraging them to read it and then wander freely through the house, basement and yard.  

When asked what visitors were most interested in, Rosemarie Stoltze said, “They wanted to know how the tour could apply to their own situation, and how they could save money.   It helps to see an example of  how something actually works.”

Favorite features at the Olson-Yocum house included the red hen that liked to be held,  the miniature greenhouse filled with salad greens, and the display of books, magazines and other resources on their dining room table. Participants could be seen taking notes on these resources.

At all three houses, visitors lingered during and after viewing the houses,  meeting and talking with each other at length, exchanging ideas and contact information. “It was like a party,” said Linda, “but without the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.” This fit in with other aims of the tour: sharing of information among participants, and building networks among people with interests and expertise in sustainable living.   Jonathan Whitten, local “green” architect, commented, “I stayed another hour after touring Linda’s house, talking with other people. I found it very informative.”

In tune with another emphasis — using local and home-grown resources — the Stoltzes served cakes made with the last of their Mexican squash, while bizcochitos made by Mrs. Ernest Tafoya, a local baker, tempted visitors at the Olson-Yocum house. Free houseplant clippings were available at both houses as well.

In summary of the tour’s impact, Rosemarie quoted a poster on their living room wall: “Over 4 billion years without a shortage: solar energy, the fuel that lasts forever.”

Future events sponsored by Sustainable Las Vegas are:

A meeting on Thursday, March 12, where Lee Einer will talk on “Welcoming Water Back to Your Land.”   Using principles drawn from permaculture and other sources, he will talk about enhancing water catchment on private property.

As usual, the group will meet at 5:15 p.m. at Digital Arts Photography Studio at 428-A Grand Ave. (second floor). For more information, contact Emelie at 454-3920.

April’s monthly meeting will be on Thursday, April 9, when Joe Whiteman will present ideas on an Outdoor Lighting Initiative (sometimes referred to as a Dark Skies Initiative).