Tour of Solar Homes

Installing solar thermal system.Seven years ago, Southern Nevada experienced its first Solar Home Tour. At the time, I was involved with a great non-profit group called Solar NV, the Southern Nevada chapter of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). I had attended a few solar home tours in Arizona and they were always a great experience. Our group decided it was time for folks in our local communities to have that same opportunity. That first tour was a resounding success and everyone had a great time. Thus, a tradition was born.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of the Southern Nevada Solar Home Tour. It will take place this Saturday, November 5th from 10 AM until 4 PM and is open to the public. Organized by the dedicated volunteers at Solar NV, this year’s tour will be another great opportunity to meet face to face with neighbors around the valley who live with renewable energy on a daily basis. Sponsors include Bombard Renewable Energy, Geary Company, and Southwest Gas.

This year, Solar NV is trying a new approach. Here’s how it will work. First, visit their website at and register online via PayPal (credit cards accepted). The normal cost is $10 per vehicle (so carpool for the best value and lowest carbon) but Solar NV members, students, and those with a low-emission hybrid vehicle pay half. The best deal is for anyone who is not yet a member of Solar NV. Join for a year and the tour is only a buck ($24 membership plus $1 = $25 total). After registering, you’ll be able to download an electronic version of the tour guide with details about each home. The actual map and directions will be emailed to registered participants the day before the tour. Since the tour is self-guided, you can visit any of the homes between 10 and 4.

If you are considering joining in this Saturday’s event, some words of caution: Attending a solar home tour can lead to a lifetime of energy independence and a major reduction in your carbon footprint. Clean energy is addicting. You will come in close contact with others who have similar issues. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If you do become addicted, blame the American Solar Energy Society and their National Solar Tour. Many chapters hold tours every fall and collectively, it is the largest solar event in the country. More than 160,000 participants in 3,200 communities will visit innovative green homes to see how they can use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies to reduce monthly utility bills and help tackle climate change.Southern Nevada roof with solar panels for hot water and electricity.

The local tour will feature seven or eight homes and one innovative production builder. I can only give you a preview of the details for one home on the tour – mine. After taking a break for the last few years, our home is back on the list.

It’s a self-guided tour so you get to choose where you go and in what order. If you decide to stop by our place, we’ll be showing systems for solar electric and hot water. We’ll have the sun oven cranked up (since we’ve ordered a nice, sunny day). We’ll talk about the passive solar aspects of the home and the day-lighting techniques that keep things on the bright side. Also on the menu: Healthy indoor air quality, carpeting made from recycled soda bottles, efficiency and a bunch of other green stuff.

Every home will offer something of value and I hope you’ll see them all!


  1. cherie in atl says

    how inspiring as well as exciting that the tour is in its 7th year! i remember the first one. i will be thrilled when atlanta joins las vegas in having solar home tours.

    thanks for the “green stuff.”

  2. Yes, Cherie you were here for the first tour and we miss you! Atlanta has a thriving green community and the local ASES chapter is the Georgia Solar Energy Society. They did have a solar home tour this year on Oct. 1 and I’m sorry you missed it. You might want to visit their site at and sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss next year’s tour!

    For those in other states, visit to find solar tours in your area.

  3. “Another wonderful article on behalf of the movement. Have a great time and thank you for all you do providing a conduit of green energy awareness.”

  4. cherie in atl says

    thanks ever so much for your kind words, steve. i will check out the site. you are a walking and talking and living sustainable encyclopedia [appreciative smile].

    also, i ran across this article:

    let’s live on the planet as if we intend to stay,
    ~ c