Today we drove down to Westcliffe for the Solar Homes Tour. At left is Dave Tonsing (with dog), owner of the earthship behind him and Tyler Stein of Sustainable Ways. We joined the tour along with about 40 others at the courthouse in Westcliffe at 8:30 this morning. Dan Miller and Jennifer Younger made our aquaintance and joined us to car pool to the three featured homes. Later we had lunch with this delightful couple in Westcliffe and drove down to see their magnificent home in the Cuerno Verde development 10 miles south of Westcliffe where I also own 20 acres.
The first home was a passive solar home using thermal mass blocks of 85% recycled styrofoam and 15% concrete mix. It also used radiant floor heating and was "on grid" though it was highly energy efficient. Next we visited Dave Tonsing's earthship which is 100% off-grid and fully uses sustainable energy--solar for electric and passive solar for heat. Dave has built 10 earthships in the valley and consulted on three more and was a wealth of information.
The final home of the Solar tour was an adobe home that is nearly completely passive solar, but they added a small wood stove to get them through times when indoor temperatures occasionally drop to the low 50's. I was pleased to make new friends in Custer County and particularly to make contact with professionals who can help me build an earthship on my property.