This weekend area residents will have an opportunity for a firsthand look at the energy saving features featured in sustainable homes. This Saturday the Minnesota Sustainable Home Tour, promoted by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, will be holding several open houses in the area. Two homes in Winona and a home outside of La Crescent are among around 30 locations statewide showcasing ways to become more sustainable, use clean energy and save money.

If You Go WHAT: Minnesota Sustainable Home Tour, featuring homes in the Winona area WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 DETAILS: Tour is self-guided, and free and open to the public

Tim Gulden, who has had an open house during the event for the last several years, said it is a good opportunity to show people the practicality of solar energy, wood heating and other home improvements that may seem daunting.

“It’s an opportunity to see how it works,” Gulden said. “To see that it’s something, and it’s here.”

Winona-area homes in the tour

  • Tim and Betty Gulden, 1449 Ridgewood Drive, Winona, MN 55987
  • Sue and Bob Priem, 1330 Crocus Cir, Winona, MN 55987
  • Reid Smith, 45 Green Apple Rd, La Crescent, MN 55947
  • Rich Huelskamp, 28609 Walnut Run Way, Red Wing, MN 55066

For more information and open houses: https://www.mnrenewables.org/sustainable-home-tour/

Gulden’s home on Ridgewood Drive generates 120 percent of its electricity through solar panels since installing them in 2010 and 2011 with the excess of going back to Xcel at market rate prices. The home is heated almost entirely with wood.

Winona sustainable home open houses this weekend - Winona Daily News
Tim Gulden talks about his production meter and bidirectional meter that shows his home’s power usage during the 2016 Sustainable Homes Tour. Gulden uses solar panels on his roof as a main energy source.

Gulden said the Sustainable Home Tour is a good way to answer questions and clear up misconceptions about the difficulty of adding more sustainable features to homes and reducing energy use.
“At least they can see for themselves,” Gulden said.

The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society is a non-profit organization founded in Minneapolis in 1978 to promote the use of, and to engage in advocacy for, renewable energies in Minnesota. They have a particular emphasis on solar energies.

This year’s tour showcases how renewable energy and smart devices can be used in homes, and help people around the state learn more about reducing their reliance on the electrical grid while contributing to cleaner air.

According to the Society, the interaction with neighbors and people in their own communities is “the best way to raise awareness but also a critical viewpoint on the ongoing energy transition, so as to harness the full potential of new and emerging technologies.”

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