Chaffee County residents can visit sustainable homes and learn to save money by using less energy at the third annual Chaffee Green Homes Tour on Sept. 11-12.

The free tour kicks off at the Salida Farmer’s Market in Salida (Alpine Park at 5th and E Street) Saturday, Sept. 11, starting at 9 a.m.

Tour participants can pick up tour maps at sponsor booths, including New Energy Colorado and the Greater Arkansas Nature Association. Both organizations will host booths featuring a variety of energy efficiency measures that homeowners can install at little or no cost.

Five homes in Salida will be open until 1 p.m. for tours that will showcase their energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable living practices.

On Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., an informational booth in Buena Vista will be open at the Farmer’s Market (South Main Town Square, 701 Front Loop). Participants will visit five homes and one business using renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

“Each year the Green Homes Tour provides community members with countless ideas and examples for increasing household sustainability and saving money,” said Dominique Naccarato of GARNA, co-sponsor of the tour.

“We hope many Chaffee County residents will take advantage of this unique opportunity,” she said.

“The Chaffee Green Homes Tour provides hands-on experience with some of the leading sustainable homes in the area,’’ said Sheila Townsend, tour coordinator for NECO. “We are excited to showcase homes using technologies including solar energy with backup batteries, straw bale home construction, and passive solar construction.’’

The event is also part of the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Tour.

In addition to the Chaffee County in-person tour, interested citizens can visit the Virtual Green Homes Tour showcasing some of the leading homes from past metro Denver home tours at NewEnergyColorado.com. The Metro Denver Green Homes Tour returns in person this year on Oct. 2 and more information is available on the same website.

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