Sustainability: Solar Home Tour

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In honor of Arizona Solar and Renewable Energy Month, several homeowners and businesses opened their doors to the public. They were part of a free, self-guided tour featuring ten solar and sustainable buildings in the Phoenix metro area. We’ll show you what kind of technology, materials and designs go into a Vali Homes prototype.

Ted Simons: Tonight on our Focus on Sustainability, we take a video tour of a sustainable home. Several homeowners and businesses were recently featured in free self-guided tours in honor of Arizona solar and renewable energy month. We go to one home on the tour and on the market. Producer Christina Estes and photographer Steven Snow take us to one home that's on the tour, and the market.

Dusty Bodrero: Hey, welcome.

Guest: Hi there.

Dusty Bodrero: I'm Dusty.

Christina Estes: It's a greeting he says again and again, but he doesn't mind repeating the specs of this prototype.

Dusty Bodrero: The master bathroom is a shared space with the laundry room here behind these draw curtains. That keeps an extra wall out of the house and keeps your wet surfaces in one convenient spot.

Christina Estes: As the general contractor for the 2 bedroom 2 bath, 1500 square foot home, Bodrero had to make sure everyone involved was focused on simplicity and sustainability.

Dusty Bodrero: There's not any windows on the east or west facades of the house, you get a lot of intense morning and afternoon sun. They are oriented on the North and South facades of the house. With a little overhang you can offset the direct sunlight that comes into the house. You can block that, and diffuse the light and get a lot of shading in those courtyards.

Christina Estes: You would expect solar paneling, but what about rusted metal?

Dusty Bodrero: You might think that's pretty unique.

Christina Estes: And pretty clever when it comes to dealing with desert heat.

Dusty Bodrero: This skin has a profile with an inch air gap in how it's broken. What that allows is a perforated screen at the bottom and the top, so that when the sun hits the skin it really starts to heat it up. Instead of allowing that heat to transfer into the house, that air gap allows the hot air to build up and release through the vent.

Christina Estes: Some natural landscaping means low water use.

Dusty Bodrero: It's graded to create swales in the land, to create grading so we don't allow any of the water to wash into the streets and storm sewers.

Christina Estes: Concrete slabs left over from other projects are busted up and used as paving around the patio.

Dusty Bodrero: This is just steel posts with glass, the back painted green. What's happened is we allow the sun to heat up the glass, constrict the paint in the back and make this kind of organic artwork.

Christina Estes: An A.C. unit that's quieter and smaller than most.

Dusty Bodrero: It's called an HRV system. This system basically uses multiple minisplit coolers. There are three of them that are lower energy use. When the HRV circulates that cooler air through the house, it also brings in fresh air to the space.

Christina Estes: The list price for all the latest technology and green design is $380,000.

Ted Simons: And the contractor is planning for a second home next door. He also says there's interest in a similar design for multifamily housing. That is it for now, I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us, you have a great evening.

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