Nathan Baily

Nathan Baily

Please save Saturday, Oct. 5 on your calendar for the 18th Annual Smart Energy Green and Solar Tour. This year’s guided tour will highlight energy-efficient construction, solar power and electric vehicles.

The tour begins at 9 a.m. at the Roseburg FISH Pantry, 405 NE Jerrys Drive (north of Costco, off NE Stephens). Transportation and lunch are provided. Cost is $10 on the day of the tour. Participants should arrive by 8:30 a.m. to ensure their place on the tour.

Three recently constructed homes on the tour have earned an Energy Performance Score (EPS) certification from the Energy Trust of Oregon.

The EPS measures a home’s energy use and carbon footprint through — among other qualities — tight construction, improved insulation and sealing, highly efficient glazing, the use of Energy Star® appliances, furnaces, and water heaters, a whole-house ventilation system and by ensuring the home is “solar-ready.”

The first home is a duplex in Sutherlin built by Habitat for Humanity. In addition to its very low EPS of 35, the builder also took advantage of the Early Design Assistance program from the Energy Trust of Oregon, which incentivizes a team approach in the early planning stages. For its heating, cooling and hot water needs this duplex uses an efficient Ductless Heat Pump with a Heat Pump Water Heater.

Another EPS home on the tour, in the Lookinglass area, is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) with an on-demand, tankless gas water heater. The 1,044-square-foot home achieved an EPS rating of 30, with an estimated average annual energy cost of less than $600.

Last summer the FISH Pantry of Roseburg installed a 45-panel solar energy array on the roof of their building. The Oregon-made photovoltaic panels will produce up to 17.5 kilowatts, providing about 40% of the Pantry’s electricity demand.

The majority of the funding for the system was acquired through a 2018 grant from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program. The pantry now can devote more of its tight budget to the key mission of reducing hunger in Douglas County.

Earlier this year, Oregon celebrated the halfway mark in the “Go Electric” goal of registering 50,000 electric vehicles (EVs). EV owners believe the EV’s lower maintenance and operating costs, higher performance and improved range are important factors in considering EVs over conventional vehicles.

To help accelerate Oregon’s move to a more sustainable transportation future, there will be an “EV Show and Tell” before the tour when EV owners will be available for questions. A few participants will take the tour in EVs instead of vans.

The 2019 Green and Solar Tour will run between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. This year’s tour is limited to thirty participants, so mark Oct. 5 on your calendars and register today. To assure your place on the tour, please come early.

Information: solartoursignup@gmail.com, by phone at 541-215-4343 or 541-672-9819.

This column is a monthly feature of Douglas County Smart Energy, a Project of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition. For more information on energy efficiency, call 541-672-9819. Nathan Baily is a member of Douglas County Smart Energy and the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition, and has been interested in alternative energy and electric vehicles for many years.

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