Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Solar home tour counting on sunny skies

Energy-efficient homes powered by the sun will be shining brightly this weekend as part of the annual Solar Home Tour of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES).

Two tours are being offered, one self-conducted and the other a formal guided bus tour of metro-area solar homes, including the carriage house at the Governor’s Mansion. Saturday’s tours honor National Solar Day, which this year is Oct. 4. They are being given in seven Colorado cities and throughout the nation as well. Tours in Boulder will be Oct. 5.

“This [event] shows that renewable energy is applicable technology that can work in your home,” says Phil von Hake, communications director for CRES. “It saves money, it saves energy and it saves the planet.”

Homes in the tour are scattered throughout the metro area. Some are as close to the University of Denver as Washington Park and Capitol Hill. Others are in Lakewood and Golden. Homeowners and volunteers will be at each property from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. to guide visitors and explain aspects of the properties that are solar, renewable, energy-efficient or green.

At one tour home, visitors can even learn how to barbecue using heat from the sun.

The guided bus tour includes lunch and commentary from CRES president Jeff Scott. It costs $45 and requires pre-registration. The self-conducted tour costs $20 per carload and also requires registration. For more information, call 303-806-5317, or go to

Check-in starts at 8 a.m. at one of the two assembly points, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Visitor Center at 15013 Denver West Parkway or the First Universalist Church at 4101 E. Hampden Ave. (the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Hampden Avenue).

“This is a good learning opportunity,” von Hake says.

CRES is the Colorado chapter of the American Solar Energy Society. The group is non-partisan and nonprofit and was established to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. In 2004, the group’s annual conference was at the Sturm College of Law on the DU campus.

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