Sustainable BV

People will be able to view a tiny house, a bed and breakfast and two renewable energy providers at the second annual Chaffee Green Home Tour this weekend.

The 2-day event is aimed at helping residents save money by using less home energy or adding renewables. It will feature a tour Saturday in Salida and an informational booth Sunday at the Buena Vista Farmer’s Market.

“This is a great opportunity to learn more about green energy options and to consider how green energy is integral with affordable housing,” said Jacy Doumas of GARNA Chaffee Green, co-sponsor of the tour. “We hope to have a great turn out and to be informed by the vendors while learning from eachothers’ experiences or plans about these ideas ’’

While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to be scaled back a little this year, people will still be able see examples in person.

“Last year we had a little more to offer, but we’re excited about what we do have,” said Sheila Townsend, tour coordinator with New Energy Colorado. She added that they had a lot of candidates for this year before COVID-19 happened and hope to add more homes to next year’s tour.

Townsend said the goal of the event is to get people thinking about things they can to their existing home to make it more energy efficient and sustainable, doing things like installing better insulation or better windows. Or if someone is building a new house, they can come learn about some green features they could consider incorporating.

At no charge, residents can tour the four sites in Salida to gain first-hand understanding of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable living.

The self-guided tour will begin at the Salida Farmer’s Market, held at Alpine Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Tour sponsor New Energy Colorado will host a booth featuring a variety of energy efficiency measures that homeowners can install at little or no cost. At the booth, a map of the tour homes will be also available.

Each of the stops will have someone on site to answer questions.

At the tiny house, energy efficiency at smaller scale will be on display. Townsend also said it was modular built, which uses less waste than homes built on site.

The Mountain Goat Lodge, meanwhile, will feature ground mounted solar, goats raised on the property and more.

The businesses people will be able to visit include Renewable Energy Outfitter and Peak Solar and their officials will help residents understand how solar energy can help save money.

Colorado Solar Energy’s work will also be displayed at the Mountain Goat Lodge.

An informational booth with the same information will be available at the Farmer’s Market, at South Main Town Square, 701 Front Loop, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday in Buena Vista.

The tour is part of the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Tour, but is one of the few holding in-person showings.

“We felt it was small enough last year and people were responsible,” Townsend said. “The Chaffee Green Homes Tour is a good way to learn about home energy savings at a safe, socially-distanced event.”

The 2020 Metro Denver Green Homes Virtual Tour tour, meanwhile, will be held completely online this year on Oct. 3, which means people in Chaffee County and anywhere else can check out the programming from their own homes. People can register for the event for free at newenergycolorado.com.

The 2020 National Solar Tour is also being held online from Sept. 28-Oct. 4 and will feature more than 80 local tours and 900 solar open houses from around the country. People can attend those tours at ases.org.

“That’s one cool thing that wasn’t available in the past and will remain available,” Townsend said.

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