In today’s world of soaring gas prices, increasing foreclosures, and environmental destruction, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there is good news: community members in Coconino County and Flagstaff, AZ are organizing an event that will promote plausible solutions that combine environmental stewardship, local economic development and affordability.
The Coconino County Sustainable Building Program, in partnership with the City of Flagstaff Sustainability Program, Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, and the Northern AZ Branch of the US Green Building Council have organized a local Sustainable Home and Garden Tour as part of the American Solar Energy Society’s (ASES) National Solar Tour. Event sponsors include the Arizona Solar Energy Association (ASEA), the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (NAIPTA) and the AZ Solar Center.
This event is joined by hundreds of solar-savvy installers and grassroots organizations throughout America to collectively showcase more than 5,000 solar-powered homes, schools and businesses for the 15th Annual National Solar Tour–the world’s largest grassroots solar event.
As part of the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Tour, the 2011 Sustainable Home and Garden Tour is providing northern Arizona with a unique opportunity to tour local residences, non-profits, schools, and gardens that implement sustainability.
The event will showcase a wide range of buildings from the non-profit Red Feather’s strawbale residences on the Hopi reservation to the first LEED for Homes-certified residence in the City of Flagstaff. Star School, the first off-grid solar and wind powered charter school in the country is a part of the tour, as well as other schools practicing and educating youth on sustainable living such as Puente de Hozho and Northland Preparatory Academy. Mother Road Brewery, a city infill project that utilizes sustainable practices such as water conservation and recycling will be the last stop on the tour—a perfect celebration spot.
The annual self-guided tour attracts more than 250 people throughout Coconino County and provides attendees with perspectives from homeowners and installers about the costs, processes and economic and environmental benefits of building sustainably. The tours also give community members a glimpse at how a variety of solar, wind, and rainwater harvesting systems look in and around structures with different architectural styles. Homeowners and building experts will be on hand to answer any questions and provide their own experience on sustainable building.
For the first time, this year’s tour is including local community and school gardens that implement water conservation, permaculture, and community organizing. These gardens are blooming and can provide a secure food source for members of northern Arizona.
The event begins at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center Sept. 10 at 9 a.m. and is free with a $5 suggested donation to support sustainability education in the schools. NAIPTA has provided free bus fare for the day, and many locations are within biking distance and walkable. Tour packets will be available at Willow Bend the day of the tour.