Green Home Tour is this weekend

Green Home Expo starts things off Friday with local speakers

With a unique line-up of new and remodeled homes, the 12th annual Green Home Tour set for Oct. 5, aims to inspire homeowners and businesses to invest in buildings that increase value while reducing their overall environmental footprint. Presented by Gorge Owned (GO!) and the Energy Trust of Oregon, the self-guided tour features 10 homes in Hood River and Mosier that showcase everything from “tiny home living” and green roofs to deep energy retrofits and renewable energy.

“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,” said Lindsay Miller, executive director of Gorge Owned.

The Gorge Green Home Tour kicks off on Friday, Oct. 4, with the Gorge Green Home Expo from 5-8 p.m. at Springhouse Cellar Winery in Hood River. The expo features green building products and service providers, along with 5-minute “GO! Talks” (see list below) from local green building innovators.

Participants can meet this year’s Green Home Tour homeowners, enjoy pizza from Solstice Wood Fire Cafe, drink local wine and learn about innovative building practices.

On Oct. 5, the self-guided Gorge Green Home Tour begins at 9 a.m. at the Hood River Waterfront Park and includes stops in Hood River and Mosier. The tour showcases many cutting-edge homes.

The cost of the tour is $10 per person or $25 per carpool of three or more. Cyclists are $5.

Entrance into the Gorge Green Home Expo is included in the ticket price. Otherwise, there is a $5 suggested donation for the expo.


Here are profiles of two of the homes on this year’s tour:

n Belmont House, 1018 Nina Lane in Willow Ponds in Hood River:

Homeowners are Laurie Macdonald and Peter Belmont. It was built by Green Home Construction.

This beautifully crafted, super-insulated 1,360-square-foot custom post-and-beam home features an insulated concrete form wall system that is very unique to the Gorge. Its tight building shell and a 3 kW PV system means that it consumes very little electricity from the grid.

The natural construction materials used to build this home are very apparent, from the post-and-beam timber that was sourced from wind-fallen trees to the walls finished in natural clay. The home also features a green roof — one of the few in the city of Hood River — and drought-resistant landscaping.

n Skakel House, 1550 State St., Mosier

Homeowners are Katie and David Skakel.

This is the first recycled polystyrene house in the Gorge. It includes triple-pane windows, local sustainably grown hand-hewn timbers, bamboo floating floor, pre-owned sinks, tubs, windows, doors, light fixtures and cabinets. There is also a 100-percent recycled-content sauna house and 100-percent recycled shed with factory-reject Pergo exterior sheathing. The house has solar hot water and solar trackers (5.9kw, grid-tied, power purchasing agreement with Pacific Power).


Green Home Expo speakers are:

n Jonathan Lewis (Hire Electric) — “1935’s Rural Electrification Act Revisited: How Rural RE-Electrification turns every customer into a producer”

n Dave Hammond (owner-builder) — “With creativity, you can build a sustainable home for less than $15,000”

n Katy White (Sustain Eco-Interiors) — “Top 5 ways to improve your indoor air quality”

n Marion McNew (Mount Hood Gardens) —“An organic approach to residential landscaping”

n Eric Bell (Energy Trust) — “How does Energy Trust help utility customers save energy and money?”

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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