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Solar tour examines options

by Joyce Hollister

From Markleeville to Incline Village, homeowners are finding new ways to provide energy to their homes.

Active and passive solar systems, wind turbines, specially designed efficient wood and propane fireplaces, radiant floor heating and solar hot water systems – all these and more will be on display during the 1999 Solar Home Tour next weekend.

Visitors will see buildings that use solar and wind energy to light, heat, cool, ventilate, heat water, power automobiles, generate electricity and cook food from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16 and 17.

“See solar energy technologies that are working right now, in real places, for real people,” said Marion Barritt of Gardnerville, a member of the board of Sunrise Sustainable Resources Group, which is sponsoring the tour.

A Solar Expo featuring demonstrations and presentations will be held both days of the tour, on Saturday in Reno and on Sunday in Carson Valley, from 3 to 5 p.m.

– On Saturday, four homes in Incline Village and Reno, plus the Desert Research Institute and Patagonia Service Center in Reno and Animal Ark outside of Reno, will be on the tour.

Animal Ark uses solar panels to operate 40-gallon pumps to supply water for the animals. A donation of $2 from every tour ticket will go toward rebuilding the wild animal center, which was ravaged by wildfire this summer.

On Saturday, the Solar Expo will be held at the Patagonia Service Center from 3 to 5 p.m.

– On Sunday, two Carson Valley homes will be on the tour as well as one in Markleeville, one in Silver City and one in Carson City.

The Pete and Irene Marshall home in the Foothill area of Carson Valley is a 4,000-square-foot home with a passive solar system, insulating shades and a drip irrigation system for the native and adaptive plantings.

The Constance Alexander home, built of straw bales and covered with stucco, will only be open from 3 to 5 p.m. for the Solar Expo on Sunday. This house is in the Johnson Lane area.

– The Solar Expo will offer information on worm composters for kitchen garbage, organic gardening, xeriscaping and permaculture. Solar, wind and fuel cell experts will share their knowledge.

The solar car and Mobile Solar Energy Education Station or MoSES recently put together in a workshop at Western Nevada Community College will be among the presentations both days. Dr. Kirkland White of Gardnerville will cook lasagna in solar ovens and tour-goers will be able to taste the result.

– Tickets are booklets that include addresses and maps for each building on the tour. The booklets are $10 per person or $15 per couple and are good for both days of the tour.

Purchasers of the booklets will find a coupon inside for $10 off membership in Sunrise Sustainable Resources Group, which is affiliated with the America Solar Energy Society, sponsor of the annual National Solar Home Tour.

Sunrise is a Nevada non-profit group formed in 1996.

For information on the tour, call Toni McCormick at 267-2311. Tickets may be purchased at The Edible Earth in Gardnerville.