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.
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.”
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.
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.”