Tucson Homeowners Alliance
Better homes through
Practical sustainability in action
"The definition of insanity is
doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different
result." - Albert Einstein
The Tucson Homeowners Alliance is a comprehensive
community approach to helping homeowners have much better homes at much lower
costs. It's based on a community network linking homeowners with experts and
others knowledgeable in the field and other homeowners who have experience and
knowledge to share.
Advances in design and
technology are leading a revolution in living better, more affordably. Join
with us in sharing good ideas and experience.
Whether you are planning
improvements to your home, an addition or a major renovation so that you
can have a much better home that costs you much less over the longer term, the
Tucson Homeowners Alliance can help you do
it much better and more cost-effectively.
You too can
have a much better home that costs much less
Whether you are
planning the home of your dreams, or improving or adding to the home you
love, the Solar Institute can help you do it. The Next
Generation Home Project is accepting applications for consulting
support for the planning, design and construction of the first Next Generation
Homes, as well as renovations of a similar nature.
would like a home that is much better and costs much less over the longer
term, as well as fit in much better with its environment, be sure to
get in touch with
can use for a better home
"Nightmare on Saguaro Street: About The Only
Thing More Stressful Than Having Triplets Is Hiring An Incompetent Contractor
To Remodel Your Home." A Tucson couple's experience with remodeling has
important lessons for us all. Read about their unfortunate story in
"Sustainable Straw: A charming house displays
eco-ingenuity." Proving that beauty and high performance can be very
affordable, this feature-packed home, built largely by a single mother and her
two teenage sons in their spare time, cost only $50,000 and the the monthly
electric bills for the super-cozy all-electric house average a measly $35. See
the great article in the Tucson Weekly about one of the amazing homes
you can see on this year's tour. How they did it has important lessons for us
Home: Home tours, class offer fresh ideas. ... Tucsonans
can see the latest advances in home design, sustainability and affordability,
reports the Arizona Daily Star.
"Beautifully Energy Efficient: Ecology-minded
home is included in tour." Click here to see the fine article in the
Arizona Daily Star about one of the homes on the 2007 tour.
"Innovative Dwellings: This weekend's annual
home tour shows off the latest in green, energy-efficient residences."
Click here to see the great article in the Tucson Weekly about one of
the homes on the 2007 tour.
"Home Sustainable Home: A tour of eco-friendly
Tucson houses shows the possibilities for a brighter future." Click here to
see the fine article in the Tucson Weekly about a very innovative
homeowner who cut his connection to the electric grid and made an oasis of his
modest property on a shoestring budget. "There's an insurgent joy to the
clipped power cables ... a defiant beauty to the lush enclave that surrounds
his old adobe ... his world thrives on a fraction of the energy and water used
by most Tucsonans." Total utility bills? "Right now, it's about $20 a month,"
he says with a big smile. "This gives people a chance to find out how to live
better in the desert."
Sustainable living in the desert. Click here to
see the Arizona Daily Daily Star's great Sunday Home feature on
one of the fascinating homes on a recent Tucson Innovative Home Tour, a chance
to see homes with "practical and cost-effective ways to exist better in
Southern Arizona's climate." The featured home is a "... treasure trove of
items that reduce environmental impact ... 70 percent of exterior irrigation
comes from gray water or rainwater ... By the kitchen sink, a tap dispenses
water from the rooftop solar water still ..." and much more.
Passive solar design is the hot
building technology of our times, according to renowned
building scientist, J. Douglas Balcomb. "I see two reasons for it to lead
architectural design in coming years: It is a critical technology for the 21st
century, and it works." Read this article and others in
Today, the journal of the American Solar Energy Society,
including coverage of the National Solar Tour. You can many applications of
passive solar design principals on the tour.
design is an important new concept for anyone planning to build
or buy a new home. It's about designing homes as if people mattered. It means
greater functionality, adaptability, flexibility and much lower long-term costs
in a home to meet our current and changing needs. Thanks to the leadership of
the Tucson Commission on Disability Issues, our community is also at the
forefront of advances in this field. Click above to learn more about why this
is important to you.
The latest help for you from the Homeowners
The Tucson Homeowners Alliance has
solutions for you.
Not many people realize that it is
possible to substantially reduce the costs of home ownership. Studies by the
Next Generation Home Alliance analyzed all of the major costs of home ownership
in Tucson and then determined how to reduce them. Designing and building a new
home the right way can result in savings as much as 75-80% for things like gas
and electric costs, and other operations, maintenance and repair costs. Savings
for existing homes are also be substantial.
To help you do
that, the Tucson Homeowners Alliance now offers information, consulting and
referral services for members of any of its family of community organizations,
generally at very good discounts. Others have done this - we can show you
Click here for information on how to get in touch with us.
New information, consulting and referral
services. The Solar Institute's family of community organizations
now offer expert help for a wide range of services and products for your home
and business. It's a non-profit, non-commercial, community sharing program that
helps you get the best unbiased expert information and advise to satisfy your
needs and the best value for your money. Join the Tucson Solar Alliance or the
Tucson Homeowners Alliance and you can get simple questions answered at no
charge, as well as complete consulting at greatly reduced rates. This works
like Consumer Reports: these organizations are not affiliated in any way with
any business and do not receive money or other considerations from any
commercial enterprise. Click here for information on how to get in touch with us.
The Next Generation Affordable Housing Project is
looking for volunteers to help non-profit housing providers design and build a
new generation of much better, much more affordable homes for those who need
them most. You too can help - and learn while you are helping others! There are
many ways you can help and no experience is necessary. Click here for
More solutions, more help
Caution: Firing up your
heater can be bad for your health. Remember what the air in your
house felt like last time you did this? It was a warning. Dust gathers in your
house and ducts and, when sucked into your heater, is turned into a witch's
brew of nasty airborn chemicals. See the special section on
Tips for how to deal with this. Now that cooler weather is back,
our compilation of practical information and ideas can help you get your home
maintenance work off to a good start.
Thinking of hiring a
contractor? The number one source of complaints from homeowners is
problems with contractors. Our compilation of Tips for Hiring a
Contractor can help you get started in learning from other
people's experience and avoiding pitfalls.
Help on rising property
taxes. Even though property values fell, the average valuation of
homes for tax purposes rose yet again this year. The year before, it jumped 30%
according to the Pima County Assessor's Office in Tucson. For some, the
increase was even more. That's on top of an average increase of 19% in 2005 and
11% in 2004. Learn more about why this is happening and what you can do about
The Homeowners Alliance has compiled an overview of how property
taxation works in Pima County and steps you can take to be sure that you are
being taxed fairly. See Property Taxes - What You Can Do
Solar Institute sets record
straight on summer comfort. The front page of the Arizona Daily
Star featured advice from the Solar Institute on how to stay comfortable at
low cost. Click here to see the article and get more
Join the Tucson
Homeowners Alliance to share and obtain information, ideas and
experience in owning, operating and maintaining your home. In the immortal
words of Benjamin Franklin, we can hang together or we will most assuredly hang
separately. Click here for information on how to
get in touch with us.
Local, state and national leaders warn of a growing crisis in the rising cost of housing and it
is becoming a serious concern to almost everyone. Home prices in Tucson and
Pima County have been increasing at an annual rate of around 13% and rents at a
rate of around 10%, yet wages have remained almost constant. The average price
of single family residences here soared to over $260,000 before dropping below
$200,000 recently. In spite of the recent drop in home values, the average home
is still getting out of reach of the average family.
Efforts to improve "affordability"
of houses generally focus on shaving initial construction costs, but this can
be false economy. Cheaper materials and products generally impose higher
maintenance and repair costs. Also, as long-time homeowners know, it doesn't
take many years before rising utility bills start exceeding the mortgage
payment. Real, long term housing costs are dominated by operations,
maintenance, financing and other costs.
Prices for energy, water and
building materials have risen, year by year, at alarming rates, for fundamental
reasons that are not going to change. The costs of building, maintaining and
repairing homes are skyrocketing. The situation can only get worse. It is clear
that old paradigm houses that depend on cheap resources are fast becoming
uncomfortable and unaffordable dinosaurs serious problems for their
owners and communities.
Meanwhile, the houses built during
the great post-World War II housing boom are approaching 50 years of age. Many
are in serious need of upgrade and repair. Some are so bad that they are being
abandoned by both occupants and owners.
However, as stated by top
officials of of both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and
U.S. Department of Energy, Tucson and Pima County are
recognized as a world leader in alternative home building, solar
energy and sustainable development.
Advances in design and technology
proven in the custom home market have made it possible to greatly reduce
operating and maintenance costs, while also raising comfort, practicality,
safety, health and other values. These measures add up to much better homes at
much lower cost. This is what sustainability means to you.
There are many aspects to this
problem, but we as a community have the solutions needed to
change this dramatically. The Tucson Homeowners
Alliance brings together the broad voluntary support of many
individuals, organizations, agencies and businesses to plan, design, build,
repair and renovate houses with an emphasis on much greater quality and long
You can learn how to do it and
contribute your own ideas and experience to this network in many ways. Tours
and workshops put you in touch with local experts and innovative home owners to
give you opportunities to see what you can do and how to do it. You can hear
about new ideas and new products from others who have tried them. You can also
learn how to access new products and services at better prices.
Seven Keys to a
A revolution in housing is taking shape - and Tucson
is nationally recognized as being in the forefront of it. Click here for a look
at key concepts for designing, building and renovating for a better home that
can cost much less.
Seven Keys to a Better
Home - the home of the
future can be yours today.
The Next Generation Affordable Housing
Project, one of our community projects, has now completed its fifth
phase of work. It focuses on helping the City and County and local non-profit
housing providers to develop a new generation of high quality houses that cost
little more than current construction, but offer much greater long-term
savings, higher quality and a better home environment. That's the biggest
challenge. In doing that, we can help everyone in similar ways.
are starting the next phase of the project: designing and building.
Volunteers are needed right now to help organize and carry out this big
effort. We invite you to join in this remarkable community work to make better
homes a reality for everyone. If you are interested in how to have a much
better home that costs much less, this is your opportunity to learn about it
and help others who need it most. No matter what your background, you can help.
Please get in touch with us
supporters of this community initiative include many individuals,
organizations, businesses, educational institutions and government. Anyone who
has lived in a house can raise questions or contribute ideas to this. Anyone
who lives in a house can learn from it.
If you would like to
participate, help or contribute in some other way, please
get in touch with us.
We invite you to become a
part of this community sharing too. Share your dreams for the future and, in
return, connect with communty knowledge and experience for your own use.
Together we can make better homes and communities. Put the power of community
on your side. Join the Tucson Homeowners
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information-gathering devices on visitors. We try to make this site as
accessible and useful as possible. If you encounter problems or have
suggestions, please be sure to let us know. Thank you!
Credits: We would like to thank
the City of Tucson, Pima County and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development for support and funding, as well as the many organizations and
individuals who have contributed to making these community initiatives such a
© Copyright 2011 Solar
Institute, Inc. ® Solar Alliance, Tucson Solar Alliance, Solar Alliance of
Greater Tucson, Tucson Innovative Home Tour, Next Generation Home, Next
Generation Home Alliance, Next Generation Building Institute, Tucson Homeowners
Alliance, Natural Living Alliance and Tucson Community Solar Program are
registered trade names of the Solar Institute. All rights reserved.