Efficiency and beauty converge at the 11th annual Gorge Green Home Tour

A house eon the 11th annual Green Home tour.

A house eon the 11th annual Green Home tour.

With a unique lineup of new and remodeled homes as well as non-residential buildings, the 11th Annual Green Home Tour aims to inspire homeowners and businesses to invest in buildings with the earth in mind.

On Friday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 6, the Columbia Gorge Earth Center presents the Green Home Tour, which features about a dozen homes in Hood River, White Salmon and surrounding communities.

Participants will also be able to take guided tours of the Hood River Middle School and Turtle Island Foods, two leading-edge, non-residential buildings that have been certified through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

“The tour offers a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to connect with homeowners, designers, do-it-yourselfers and contractors around a range of topics related to sustainable design, building, and living,” says Lindsay Miller, executive director of the Columbia Gorge Earth Center.

The Green Home Tour kicks off with an exciting evening of lecture, networking, and education on Friday, Oct. 5, from 6-8 p.m. at Springhouse Cellar Winery in Hood River. The event features guest speaker Mark Lakeman of Portland, one of the region’s most creative and community-minded architects.

Among other things, Lakeman is the founder of the City Repair Project, which is a group of citizens creating public gathering places and reclaiming areas such as street intersections.

In addition to the lecture, participants will be able to learn about sustainable products and services, meet this year’s Green Home Tour homeowners and enjoy great local food and wine.

On Saturday, Oct. 6, the self-guided Green Home Tour begins at 9 a.m. at Hood River Middle School and includes stops in Hood River, White Salmon and surrounding communities. The tour showcases many cutting-edge homes, including the Shift House, built by Root Design Build.

The Shift House is built on passive house principals and uses 90 percent less energy use than a home built to code.

Other homes on the tour include the Sorensen House in Hood River (built by Common Energy) which includes passive solar design and solar photo voltaics; the Kelly House in Parkdale (built) by Neil Kelly Construction, which was the first LEED-certified home on the West Coast; and the Watts Building Home, which features a high performance building envelope, photo voltaics and more.

The 11th Annual Green Home Tour is produced in partnership with the Gorge Owned Business Network and made possible by numerous partners and businesses who sponsor the event. The cost of the tour is $20 per person or $45 per family. There is a $5 discount for people who complete the tour by bicycle rather than car.

For those who just want to attend the Mark Lakeman lecture, the cost is $10.

For more information, visit www.cgec.org/events/

green-living-tour/. All proceeds from this event benefit the Columbia Gorge Earth Center, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Hood River.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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