Tucson Innovative Home
Tucson Solar Tour
sharing of new and better ways
to have a much better home that costs a lot
Practical Sustainability in
"Tell me, I forget.
Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand." - ancient
The Tucson Innovative Home
Tour and Tucson Solar Tour are your tickets to greater
prosperity. These annual non-profit, non-commercial, community educational
events bring people together to share ideas and experience in the search for
ways to make homes better and cost less. You can see sustaining homes that fit
in well with the natural environment, homes that draw on the best aspects of
the local climate for greater comfort with much lower utility bills, and homes
with quality and durability for a greater affordability that lasts. In short,
it's about how to live in nature's sustaining flow, instead of trying to swim
against it. New advances for designing, building and renovating such homes are
the focus of the tour, recognized as one of the largest local events of its
kind in the nation.
Community Tours and Seminar Saturday & Sunday, November 10 &
Coming soon is your best opportunity to see the latest and
most important new advances in sustainability and green building - and learn
how you can put them to good practical, cost-effective use yourself to have a
much better home that costs you much less. Choose among 24 exceptional,
award-winning and nationally recognized homes and other special features, and
speak with owners, designers, builders and some of Tucson's top experts.
Tucson Innovative Home Tour - Details follow
Tucson Solar Tour - Details follow
Next Generation Home Seminar - Click for more
Tickets are now available available
at locations around Tucson - see below.
Be sure to click here for
updates and any changes
that may occur. They will be posted at the end of the next
Beautiful fall weather is forecast for this weekend - great days
to get out and find out how you can enjoy such things
Power of Green: How to have a much better home at much lower
Sustainability is the focus of these non-profit community sharing
Summary Information for November 10 & 11, 2012
What's happening. On
Saturday, November 10th, start your day off right with the Next
Generation Home Seminar, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Catch up on the latest
advances and learn how you can put them to good use yourself. The Tour
follows the seminar, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and continues Sunday,
November 11th, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Generation Home Seminar
Saturday, November 10, 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.
How to have a much better home at much lower cost. Tucson's officially
recognized Next Generation Home Program presents the best unbiased,
non-commercial information, advice and ideas from local experts on the latest
advances for improving your home, remodeling, building and buying - plus an
analysis of the real costs of home ownership and how you can reduce them by up
to 50% and more. Whole new format, topics and information this year, plus two
expert guest speakers.
When. Saturday, November 10, 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.
with registration starting 8:00 a.m. The tour is 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. with
tickets available at the seminar.
Where. Take the seminar and get your
home tour tickets at Pima Community College's Campus Center Auditorium (CC
180), 1255 N. Stone Ave., just north of Speedway. Lots of free parking: enter
the first drive north of Speedway, turn left. Just go in the main entrance past
the glowing fountain.
How. The seminar is $10 per person, $5 with tour
ticket. Available only at the seminar. Cash only - please bring exact amount.
Click here for more details
Annual Tucson Innovative Home Tour and Tucson Solar Tour
Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and
11, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Your best opportunity to see lots of
new advances for better homes and better living, with an emphasis on
sustainability and fitting in with the natural environment. Choose from over 24
exceptional, award-winning and nationally recognized homes and other features,
speak with owners, designers and builders, and discover new ways to make your
home much better and cost a lot less in this special non-profit, non-commercial
community sharing of the latest advances, sponsored by dozens of nonprofit
organizations, educational institutions and government jurisdictions. Most
homes and features are new to the tour this year, as always.
Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tour is city-wide and self-guided. There are different homes each day. Tickets
include a tour guide with directions.
Tickets for the tour are $10 per person. Cash only - please bring exact amount.
Tickets are good for both days.
Tickets are now available at the following locations
around Tucson, as well as at the Next Generation Home Seminar Saturday
morning, November 10.
Near downtown at
* Reproductions Inc 234
E. 6th St. (3rd block east of Stone Ave., on the SW corner of 5th Ave.)
hours: 7:30 am - 6:00 pm M-F, closed Saturday and
* Antigone Books 411 N. 4th Ave. (1st block south of
6th Street, on the NW corner of 7th Street)
10:00 am - 7:00 pm M-Th, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm F & Sat, 11:00-5:00 pm Sun
Last year Antigone Books became the first 100% solar powered business in
* Book Stop Used Books 214 N.
4th Ave, north of the underpass, across from O'Malley's
hours: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm M-Th, 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
F & Sat, noon-5:00 pm Sun www.bookstoptucson.com
On the north side at ...
House n Garden 250 E. Wetmore (just
east of Stone Ave, on the south side of street)
hours: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm M-F, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
On the east side at ...
Mostly Books 6208 E. Speedway (SW corner of
Speedway and Wilmot, Monterrey Center)
am - 8:30 pm M-F, 9:30 am - 6:00 pm Sat, 11:30 am - 5:00 pm Sun
* You can also obtain tickets when you attend the
Next Generation Home Seminar Saturday morning and obtain a 50% discount
on your seminar registration.
Generation Home Seminar - What's new and special this year
A whole new format, with major portions devoted to
(1) How to do low cost, big return measures yourself that
can be easily done to improve your home right away and save $100s.
(2) How to make home improvements in smart, practical and
cost-effective ways that will make your existing home much better and save you
$1,000s to $10,000s
(3) How to build a new Next Generation Home
that will be far better and cost you much less in many different ways, with
potential savings adding up to $100,000s. How could you afford not to
New advances, new content, new information that you
can put to good use.
special guest speakers will discuss two important new advances and
(1) Creating the optimum building
envelope. A revolutionary new form of insulation that offers big
advantages for greatly improving both new and existing homes.
(2) What you need to know about solar leasing.
The advent of solar leasing in Tucson - a balanced consideration of advantages
and disadvantages for those interested in this new solar power option.
Bonuses available at the seminar include
(1) Half price admission with your tour ticket ($5).
(2) The opportunity to join the Tucson Homeowners Alliance and
Tucson Solar Alliance for half the regular amount ($10). Members can call and
ask questions, get referrals and arrange for evaluations of their homes at very
(3) The opportunity to meet experts, talk and ask
(4) A bonus sheet of locations where you
can see new interesting homes and solar installations at other times.
(5) A bonus sheet of tour details.
Home and Solar Tour - What's new and special this year
tour, you can see highly acclaimed, award-winning and nationally recognized
of local, state and national awards, certifications and acclaim,
by top award-winning architects and builders,
building systems and materials, including straw bale, rammed earth, adobe,
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), metal
frame and roofing, and more,
desert-adapted homes featured in the Arizona Daily Star, the Tucson Weekly,
Tucson Home Magazine, and other local and national publications.
seven homes show a wide range of examples of how to improve existing homes.
tours are among the biggest we have ever offered, with a wide variety of great
new practical and cost-effective new advances and innovations you can put to
most locations are new to the tour. Returning locations have new additions or
developments toward completion.
Details follow below.
year's tour is one of the biggest ever with more than 24 locations: 15 open
Saturday, 14 on Sunday, 5 both days. As ever, most are new to the tour.
7 homes are renovations or improvements of existing homes.
9 homes are new.
4 homes are under construction, 3
of which are at or nearing completion.
4 homes and one special
feature are top rated, or soon to be so, by green building programs.
2 homes have won top annual Arizona Xeriscape Awards.
10 homes use various aspects of passive solar design.
8 homes and 5 special features have a wide variety of solar
3 places of worship have large new solar power
systems that supply most of their electricity.
11 locations are
Details follow below.
updates and corrections, check this
location just before the tour.
Clarifications for tour guide.
Notes by location number.
(5) Last sentence: 0.7 mi
(8) 3rd line: After "Acc," delete two fragments "two streets
... on the right." (The directions are fine.)
(14) Line 5: east 0.8
mi on Ina
(17) Directions: From the intersection of Oracle Rd and
River Rd, drive north on Oracle Rd (Highway 77) 18.8 mi to Oracle Junction.
There, bear right and continue on Highway 77 east 9 miles farther. Just beyond
(20) Next: ... For 11, 12 & 14, return east on Congress
½ mi, go under ...
(23) Last line: Note: Driveway is closed.
This requires a walk up the hill on the permeable paver driveway.
us know if you see any errors or other problems so we can correct them. Thank
Beautiful fall weather is forecast for this weekend - great days
to get out and find out how you can enjoy such things more!
Much more information
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
"Older home sprouts 'green':" Solar-powered
and energy-efficient. "Turns out you can teach an old house new tricks,"
reports the Arizona Daily Star in its October
30, 2011, feature article in the Sunday home section on the
Tucson Innovative Home Tour events. The owners of an older mid-town home
recently completed a major "green" renovation that they expect will pay big
green returns on their investment for many years to come. This is another good illustration of the Solar Institute's main
point about properly applied sustainability and building science:
it should result not only in a much better home, but also cost a lot less
in the longer term and save its owners a lot of time and effort, as well as
money. This is anticipated to be the first remodeled home in Tucson to
achieve LEED "platinum" certification, the highest level awarded the U.S. Green
Building Council. "Andy Simpson said his goal in showing the house is to prove
that innovative homes don't necessarily have to be new homes." The owners' fine
work is a great demonstration that modest existing homes can be renovated for
greater sustainability on a practical and cost-effective basis. This is just
one of many highly acclaimed, exceptional homes you can visit on the Tucson
Innovative Home Tour. You can read the article by clicking
"Inexpensive Innovation:" A Tucson builder
creates an energy-efficient gem of a home. "Local builder Michael Ginsburg
built a home where utility bills hover in the low double-digits when
there are bills at all. The home only cost around $150 per square foot to
build," reports the Tucson Weekly in its November 2, 2011, feature article on the Tucson
Innovative Home Tour events. With high insulation and an innovative
hydronic heating and cooling system in the floor, the home "stays a steady,
radiated 75 degrees throughout the winter and summer, with nary a noisy blower
or uncomfortable hot spot." Effectively implementing super energy efficiency,
plus solar power and solar water heating, the home not only uses much less
energy than other homes, but it can also supply all the energy it needs on a
practical and cost-effective basis. "The home received stellar efficiency
ratings from the U.S. Department of Energy's Builders Challenge Program, and
from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program. It also
earned an EnergyValue Housing Award from the National Association of Home
Builders." Ginsburg says he was inspired to do this by
attending the Solar Institute's Next Generation Home Seminar. Come to the
seminar: you can be inspired too. You can read the article by
"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 on
a prevous tour. How they did it has important lessons for us all.
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 last year's 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 last year's tour.
Sustainability Month". In recognition of the importance of solar
energy and related sustainable measures to the people of Arizona, and in
support of the contribution made by the Tucson Innovative Home Tour and
Tucson Solar Tour and associated events in Arizona to progress in these
fields, the Governor has declared Solar and Sustainability Month in
Arizona. You can see the text and news release by clicking above.
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 previous 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.
"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, whose transformed home was on a previous Tucson Innovative Home
Tour, 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."
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 Solar
The Solar Institute has solutions for
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 total savings of up to 50% for all costs and
savings as much as 75-80% for things like gas and electric costs, and other
operations, maintenance and repair costs. Think of what it would mean to cut
your costs of home ownership in half. Savings for existing homes can also be
One of the main focuses of the Tucson Innovative
Home Tour and the Next Generation Home Seminar is to show you how you can do
that. You may be surprised at how much better you can live at much lower
To help you do that, the Solar Institute 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 how.
Click here for
information on how to get in touch with
Value of the Home Tour and Class:
Priceless! You will learn about a wealth of new innovations that can
not only revolutionize your castle, but also slash the cost of home ownership.
For most homeowners, the potential long term savings from such advances can be
up to 50% and even more. This adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over
a typical 30 year mortgage period. More information follows below.
Nominations welcome for next year's
tour! Preparations for next year's tour are already in progress. If
you know of any good houses, builders, innovative products or processes, please
be sure to get in touch with us right
Innovative Home Tour and Tucson Solar Tour
With many highly acclaimed, award
winning and nationally recognized homes and buildings this is a fun community
non-profit non-commercial learning opportunity to see the latest innovations,
speak with owners, designers & builders, discover new alternatives and big
savings. It's community sharing at its best.
Live better for less. Tucson's officially recognized
Next Generation Home
Project found that, through special design and construction, you can
greatly reduce the costs of home ownership, yet live much better. New advances
in home design and construction are attracting professionals to Tucson from
around the world. Now you can see them too. This is the largest home tour of
its kind in the nation. Every year, most of the homes are new to the tour and
have not been open to the public before. The tour and seminar are organized as
a community service in cooperation with many professional and community
organizations, educational institutions and government jurisdictions.
Homeowners receive no compensation. Proceeds benefit community low income
housing programs. Please plan on joining us for the next tour.
The tour includes
- New advances for designing and
building homes for living better, more comfortably, more affordably and more in
harmony with the natural environment.
- A wide range of good practical
and cost-effective passive solar and environmental design and
- A wide variety of advances in
heating and cooling and other ways to be more comfortable.
- Many kinds of adobe, rammed
earth, straw bale, masonry, ICFs, SIPs, steel frame, insulation, thermal mass
and other advances in building materials.
- A wide range of healthy home,
non-toxic materials, low-VOCs and indoor air quality measures.
- How to incorporate lifetime
design, accessibility and visitability at very little added cost.
- Many ways to save energy, water
and other resources and cut utility bills by 75% and more.
- Many other ideas for home and
garden, with an emphasis on practicality and cost effectiveness.
"Real homes for real people" is a central theme of
the tour, emphasizing practicality and cost effectiveness. Homes on the tour
are carefully chosen to give you an opportunity to see exceptional examples of
important contributing elements of a good desert-adapted home. You will also be
able to talk with homeowners, architects, designers and builders about how they
did it, what works and what doesn't.
This years tour offers a
wealth of new ideas, products and technologies. The sheer variety and range of
new ideas and products is amazing. There are many things to interest everyone,
including the most advanced and finest homes in southwest!
This special community event is
affiliated with the National Solar Tour,
sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society and the U.S. Department of
Energy. Every year, the Tucson tour has been recognized as one of the largest
in the nation, both in terms of the number of homes offered and the number of
people who visited them.
Before the tour, the
Next Generation Home Seminar provides a
unique opportunity to learn in detail how you too can enjoy a much better home
at much lower costs. You will not only learn many practical. money saving tips
you can put to good use right away, you will also get detailed guidelines on
what you can do to have a much better house and substantially reduce the costs
The Tucson Innovative Home Tour is
made possible through the enthusiastic support of many volunteers and community
nonprofit organizations, educational and government institutions. Our community
values are stated below and we stand by them. The Tucson Innovative Home Tour
is an annual community educational event based on community sharing. No one
with any financial or personal interests in the homes chosen for the tour is
involved in organizing the Tucson Innovative Home Tour. Many of the top experts
in Tucson contribute to identifying exceptional examples of good, practical,
cost-effective applications of advances that can be useful to you in your quest
for a much better home that costs you less. No salesmen will call.
These events are organized by the
Solar Institute as a community service in cooperation with many other local,
state and national non-profit organizations and educational institutions, with
the support of the City of Tucson, Pima County, State of Arizona and the U.S.
Department of Energy.
Highlights and features of the 2012
The Tucson Innovative Home Tour and
Tucson Solar Tour have grown to be one of the largest and most diverse
tours ever seen in Tucson, or anywhere else for that matter. On this year's
tour, you will be able to see the widest range and most extensive variety of
new advances ever available in the seventeen years these tours have been
Whether you are interested in improving or adding to
the home you love or you would like to plan, design and build the home of your
dreams, this is your special opportunity to to learn how you can do it far
better at much lower cost, with cost savings that will continue year after
Highlights and features
expanded special feature this year: many examples show how you can improve your
With the recent interest in improving and
renovating existing homes, the Tour this year features many homes that
offer homeowners a wide variety of good ideas of how to make homes much better
and cost less: This will also be a major topic at the Next Generation Home
Seminar on Saturday morning before the tour.
A beautiful renovation and expansion
of a nice old adobe home in the Tucson Mountain foothills that is expected to
rate at the highest level of Pima County's new Green Building Program. The
owners report that they attended the Tucson Innovative Home Tour and Next
Generation Home Seminar a number of times to learn about new advances and how
they could put them to good work themselves.
two-story 1980 condo improved by its owner, a professional energy
efficiency specialist, on a do-it-yourself basis to such an extent that the
utility bills are less than half what they used to be. You can talk with him
and learn how he did it.
A mid-town home undergoing an extensive
renovation with a big addition by one of Tucson's best innovative custom
builders that includes one of the best green roofs we have seen, complete with
a roof deck, vegetation, landscaping and solar power. It embodies years of
low cost DIY, low maintenance, recycling, low energy and water use,
conservation and art.
A recently completed thorough
renovation of a modest mid-town 1955 house into a comfortable sustaining
modern home that was so extraordinary that it is expected to receive the
highest level Platinum LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The
owners report a far higher level of comfort at a fraction of the former costs.
This is one of the best examples of practical and cost-effect renovations of an
average home that we have seen here. See the Arizona Daily Star's special
feature in the Sunday home section:
Older home sprouts
A major renovation of a mid-town home with a
spectacular big new addition with lots of features.
brick home that was completely stripped to the shell and interior studs and
rebuilt into a wonderful modern home.
mid-town brick home that was wrapped in exterior insulation for much great
comfort and much lower heating and cooling costs.
A condo that
was improved over time by its owner himself to cut its energy use by more than
50% - now it is powered by solar energy, also installed by the owner.
Surprising new innovations offer great ideas for your dream
You will also be able to see
Three homes that cost between $50,000 - $75,000 for their
inexperienced owners to build, demonstrating that good, practical sustainable
and sustaining homes can be built at very modest cost.
A new home
featured in local and national publications that is one of the most
energy-efficient modern homes ever built in Tucson. Using a wide range of
measures to reduce both the need for energy and increase efficiency of energy
used, it has attracted widespread attention nationally and won a number of
A very innovative and sustaining rammed earth
home nearing completion by one of the top experts in the field, where you
can learn the process of forming rammed earth walls for a new home. This
location was the first tour sold out for the nation's biggest annual green
building conference the year before last, where many professionals from around
the world paid over $1,000 in conference and tour fees to see
An owner-built, low-cost, self-sustaining, straw bale home
well along under construction so that you can speak with the owner and see how
it is built. It will be completely independent of any utility connections,
using solar power, rainwater harvesting and a septic
An artist's desert retreat that is both an
innovative work of art and good construction.
upscale central urban residential community that draws from traditional
southwest Sonoran and Spanish Colonial streetscapes and architecture, plus
environmentally-friendly sustainable design and New Urbanist elements, as well
as many innovative and advanced features.
Lots of great new advances for yards and outdoor living
Two exceptional first place winners of the
annual Arizona Xeriscape Awards.
One of the
most remarkable home food production gardens in southern Arizona, with fruit
and nut trees, vegetable and fruit gardens, chickens, ducks and geese.
An award-winning, nationally acclaimed yard renovation that
demonstrates how an ordinary yard can be transformed at very low cost into an
exceptional landscape using rainwater for most of its water.
An extraordinary nationally acclaimed innovative gardening program
and urban natural habitat project that includes heirloom vegetable garden and
fruit trees, aquaponic food system with herbs, vegetables and tilapia fish,
greenhouse, hot box compost bin, chicken coop, Audubon bird & pollinator
habitat, desert tortoise habitat, desert ecology, plus extensive rainwater
harvesting and distribution.
headquarters of one of the world's top environmental organizations has many
sustainable features that help it walk its talk and help others learn how to
use such advances too docents and guided tours available.
The continuing renovation of a fine old desert home on large
acreage into a model of sustainability and fitting in with the desert
Homes of people who attended Next Generation Home
Seminars, went on the tours and put their experience to good use in renovating
their home or building a new one.
The Tucson Innovative Home Tour gives you a unique
opportunity to learn about new advances that can help you live better by
fitting in with your natural environment. It also turns out to cost a lot less
in the long run.
On the tour, you can
see highly acclaimed, award-winning and nationally recognized homes,
of local, state and national awards,
by top award-winning architects and builders,
building systems and materials, including straw bale, rammed earth, adobe,
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), steel
frame and more,
desert-adapted homes featured in the Arizona Daily Star, the Tucson Weekly and
other Tucson, Arizona and national publications.
Exceptional examples of virtually every kind of solar application you might
like to have, including passive solar design, solar photovoltaic electric power
systems, solar water heaters, solar pool heaters, solar space heating and
cooling, solar water distillation, solar lighting, solar tube skylights, solar
cooking and lots more
great do-it-yourself solar installations that are among the finest quality
systems you'll find in the state,
first large-scale use of solar photovoltaic modules integrated in a shading
system for parking
other interesting new technology, including high efficiency heating and cooling
systems, radiant floor heating systems, water conservation, rainwater
harvesting, graywater and lots more.
and cost-effective examples of landscaping, xeriscape, and
harvesting, graywater, swales and collection basins and other ways to use
on-site water resources.
wetlands system that treats and recycles all wastewater.
patios, vegetated basins and organic gardens.
Alternatives to paving with concrete and asphalt.
The best advances in building science and applied
You will have a unique opportunity to
speak with owners, designers, builders, and others to learn what's new, what
works and what doesn't, how to do it right and discover many new ways to make
your own home better, including ...
building systems that are new to Tucson,
A wide range
of other building systems including rammed earth, straw bale, adobe, masonry,
concrete, Insulated Concrete Forms (ICPs), Structurally Insulated Panels
(SIPs), and steel frame,
Long lasting, no maintenance roofs that have warranties up to fifty
Stronger foundations that minimize cracks,
A wide range
of passive solar and environmental design and solar
A variety of advances in heating and cooling
and other ways to be more comfortable,
Many kinds of
insulation, thermal mass and other advances in building
Many healthy home, non-toxic materials, low-VOC and
indoor environmental measures,
design, accessibility and visitability measures,
Many ways to
save energy, water and other resources, and cut utility
Passive solar design and a wide variety of other ways to put solar
energy to good use,
Xeriscape, native plants, low-water use,
rainwater retention and harvesting, fruit and vegetable gardens, permaculture
and lots of other yard and landscape ideas (even chickens and ducks!),
Many homes still under construction, so you can see how they are
Homes and special highlights are carefully selected for
exceptional features that offer ways to live better in the desert by fitting in
with the processes of nature, with a focus on practicality and
Whether you have a professional interest in these
fields or are thinking of improving your home, planning and building a new
home, or buying one, you won't want to miss it.
in alternative building materials and innovations
You can see exceptional examples of
of insulated concrete form (ICF) systems
structurally insulated panels (SIPs)
of other masonry systems
Among the many new and
interesting innovations are
of highly cost effective water harvesting and storage systems
the first composting toilets allowed by permit in Tucson and Pima County
independent subsurface wetlands wastewater treatment system - first in
Science measures to improve indoor air quality, health and safety
House measures that extend electronic flexibility and control
features for a better home and better living
Home features that offer important new and greater value to homeowners
solar and environmental design
photovoltaic electric power systems, including exceptionally low-cost owner
water distillation system, direct to the tap
water instant demand systems
radiant floor heating
efficient appliances, lighting and other energy efficiency measures
performance windows and doors
efficiency heating and cooling equipment systems and strategies
efficiency and conservation
composting toilets and waterless urinals
lasting no-maintenance metal roofs
concrete, brick paver, adobe and hand hewn stone paver floors
and recycled materials
beautiful - and more cost-effective
and lifetime design, aging in place
accessibility, visitability and wheelchair friendly measures
electronic and communications systems
home, low allergen, clean air strategies
non-toxic, low VOC materials
use oasis garden
pool heating (a BIG money saver)
Next Generation Home Seminar - learn how you can do this too
you have collected lots of good ideas and information on the tour,
why not learn how to put them together and put them to work for you? Learn how
For homeowners as well as
professionals, the Next Generation Home Seminar features local
experts with unbiased, non-commercial information, ideas and advise on
planning, building, buying and remodeling for a well-adapted, more
self-sustaining, desert home. You too can learn how to have a much better home
and greatly reduce your costs of home ownership at the same time.
On Saturday morning before the tour, the seminar
will provide lots of useful information and materials, plus a whole slate of
new guest speakers. You will leave with lots of good ideas to make your house
better and cost you a lot less plus the knowledge to put them to work.
won't want to miss this unique community sharing experience. For
more information go to ...
Next Generation Home Seminar
- learn how from the experts.
Community Values inspire and guide these events
annual community sharing event is special because
It is of, by and for home owners. It is
the only event of its kind in Tucson dedicated to homeowners helping each other
learn about new ways to make homes a lot better and cost a lot less.
It's one on one. You can
talk directly with the owners, as well as the architects, builders, suppliers
and others who contributed to designing and building these
It lets you get to
the heart of the matter from people who know. You can ask questions of
those who used these processes and materials and learn what works, what doesn't
and how to avoid pitfalls.
It's very selective. It features the
highest quality and most interesting examples we can find.
You see the best
there is. It has more award-winners than any other tour in the state, by
You see them
first, before most others even hear about them. Many of the award-winners
on the Tucson Innovative Home Tour win their awards after being on the
It is a genuine community event. Dozens
of non-profit community partners, including well-known professional, health and
community organizations, and government and educational institutions at the
local, state and national levels, contribute to making this
It is open to the
community. Each year, we talk with the top architects, the most progressive
builders and the most innovative in related fields, we send invitations to
professional organizations, we consult with university faculty, explore
building sites and invite nominations - a process involving hundreds of people
over an entire year - to identify the most exceptional examples we can find of
the best, most practical and most cost-effective advances you might most useful
and satisfying in your quest for a better home with lower costs.
It is non-commercial. No corporate
business interests are involved. Selection of homes is for things that can be
most useful, practical, cost-effective and interesting to you, not about
selling anything or "steering" you to selected
It is unbiased.
No one who has a personal financial interest in or association with
anything that appears on the tour participates in or has any influence in the
selection process, our Board of Directors, or in anything having to do with our
organization, for that matter.
It is educational. The focus is on
homeowners sharing information and experience. No marketers are involved in
organizing the tour. There is no advertising of business interests. No salesmen
It is voluntary.
This is a nonprofit community event that is organized completely by
volunteers - no one is paid. Hundreds of people and dozens of organizations
have contributed to the great success of this tour.
It is organized by a well-known,
established local organization, the Solar Institute, which is officially
recognized by the U.S. government as a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and
research institution, supporting community action and individual choice in
creating home and community environments to better sustain us and our
We do other good
things. The Tucson Innovative Home Tour benefits from the other community
programs and projects of the Solar Institute and its nonprofit community
partners in these and related fields. The Solar Institute has a strong record
of community service.
It is Tucson's largest community-wide home
tour, its popularity based on giving people a chance to find out about
practical, cost-effective new ideas for making their homes much better and cost
It has also been
recognized as the largest community event of its kind in the
It has attracted such
widespread interest that people come here from all over Arizona and the
U.S. specially for it.
It's a bargain. Over the years, we have
simplified things, reduced the size of the guidebook and publishing costs, and
found other ways to reduce the cost of organizing the tour so that we could
reduce the cost of the tickets. Where else can you learn so much for so
It's fun. Tour
goers have told us for years how much they enjoy the tour and the opportunity
to speak directly with homeowners and others who aren't trying to sell them
It's for a good
cause. First and foremost, its purpose is to help you find good ways to
have a better home with lower costs. It's also about getting together to help
build a better community and improve our local economy by lowering costs and
keeping money in Tucson. Finally, any money left over from the tour goes to
benefit community low income housing and information and referral
Previous years' events
For information on events from a previous year,
Home Tour 2005 - Review of
Homes - descriptions of homes on this year's
"Innovation the theme of
October home tour" - Click here to read the Arizona Daily Star's
article on the Tucson Innovative Home Tour 2004.
October is "Solar
and Sustainability Month" in Arizona. In recognition of the
importance of solar energy and related sustainable measures to the people of
Arizona, and in support of the contribution made by the Tucson Innovative
Home Tour and Tucson Solar Tour and associated events in Arizona to
progress in these fields, the Governor recently issued a proclamation declaring
October to be Solar and Sustainability Month in Arizona. You can
see the text and news release by clicking above. The Solar Institute is your
source for help in putting sustainability to work in sustaining your life in
Home Tour Special Feature
We are honored
by the sponsorship of the
Tucson Commission on
Disability Issues (CODI) . You can learn more about the fine work that
CODI is doing for our community on ...
design, accessibility and
Solar Tours in Arizona and the
The Tucson Innovative Home Tour and Tucson Solar Tour has been
the local affiliate of the
National Tour of Solar
Homes, sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society and the U.S.
Department of Energy, since the inception of the national tour in 1996. During
the month of October, there are other solar tours around Arizona and in other
states. For more information look here:
Arizona and National tours
You Can Do
Participants and supporters of this
community initiative include many individuals, organizations, businesses,
educational institutions and government.
We invite you
to become a part of this community sharing too. If you have ideas and
suggestions, know of a good home you would like to nominate, or would like to
help or contribute to the home tour in some way, please get
in touch with us.
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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, the Tucson Commission on Disability Issues,
Tucson-Pima County Metropolitan Energy Commission 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 success.
© Copyright 2012 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.