Saturday, April 29th, 2017 - 9:30 am 
(Arizona time)


Valley of the Sun Solar and Sustainability Tour Downloadable Tour Guide: PDF format (5.59 MB)

Site Descriptions

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Becker Residence

October 22 - Saturday only

12176 E Double Tree Ranch Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
Directions: From 101 in Scottsdale, take the Shea Blvd exit. Travel east on E. Shea Blvd. Turn right onto N. 124th Street. Turn right onto E. Doubletree Ranch Road. Home is at end of the road on the right.

The Becker Residence is the result of a creative solution to an awkwardly shaped site squeezed by utility corridors and a desert wash that was previously scraped bare and left by a subdivision developer. The owners decided that the lot's deep arroyo and view of the McDowell Mountains outweighed the negatives.

Rainwater harvesting, site contours and swales were constructed to collect rain water on the lot for abundant plant growth while creating a desert oasis. A gray water recovery system collects household water that would otherwise go down the drain.

Southwestern tree species and plants were selected for drought tolerance and year-round color. Most of the trees adjacent to the residence were placed for shading and reducing heat gain.

Other features include sun protected building entries; graywater collection from bathroom sinks and showers that supply a 400 gallon storage tank to irrigate trees; rainwater collection from roofs directed to landscape areas via roof drains; thermal mass (concrete flooring) and exposed masonry that tempers daily indoor temperatures and contributes to healthy indoor environment; and use of local and regional materials including masonry, stone and recycled metal.

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Garrett Residence

October 22 - Saturday only

8502 E. Cactus Wren
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Directions: From Loop 101 Pima Freeway, take the Indian Bend Road exit. Head westbound, turning south on 86th street. Turn westbound on Cactus Wren. Home is on the corner of Cactus Wren and 85th Street.
This 30+ year-old passive and active solar residence shows shows that good ideas, design and applications withstand the test of time.

Orientation, materials, below-grade living zones, thermal decompression, and numerous passive strategies combined with solar equipment have led this building to provide a comfortable environment through Valley summers and winters, year after year for at least three decades.
Features include:
  • PV tracker to run the pool pump
  • Solar hot water heater
  • 12V lighting in bedroom
  • Solar powered 24V battery-based Sunfrost refrigerator
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Edwards Remodel

October 22 - Saturday only

8737 East Valley View Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Directions: From Pima Rd. and McDonald Rd. go West to 86th street then turn south (left). Go 7 blocks until you come to Valley View Rd. turn East (left) drive about a block the house is on the south side (right) follow the house numbers.
This House was built in 1961 — the era of cheap energy, and the insulation and mechanical system equipment reflected it. There was no wall insulation, just masonry block and single pane windows and HVAC equipment with a SEER rating of about 8 located on the roof, with the leaky duct work running through the hot attic. This is the typical situation found in the existing inventory of homes in the valley.
An attic fire provided the opportunity for a complete remodel.

It was decided to reconstruct this home as a super energy efficient structure, which allowed the Owner to minimize the expense of future utility bills but also offers a good example of a practical approach to modernizing existing Homes.

The thermal envelope is the center piece of this remodel and is achieved by replacing the windows, wrapping the masonry walls with a unique wall system that has aluminum backed foam and a ventilated air space for the radiant barrier and air flow. The ceiling area is a hybrid that is fully ventilated for the radiant barrier and air flow benefits while adapting the roof trusses to encapsulate the HVAC duct work within the conditioned air space.

Mechanical equipment is the most efficient available in today's market with a SEER rating of 20. The appliances, lighting and plumbing fixtures will all be selected to optimize today's cutting-edge technologies.
Indoor environmental health is another consideration, by utilizing continuous mechanical air exchanges, selecting low VOC products, and providing easy-to-clean surfaces.
Passive solar adaptations include incorporating large overhangs and strategic placement of vegetation. Active solar PV and thermal water heating applications are currently being planned for by providing the space and integrating conduit and piping to the appropriate locations for gray water, and other green technologies.
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Catlin Residence

October 22, 23 - Saturday & Sunday

120 S. Omaha Street
Mesa, AZ 85206
Directions: From Main Street and Val Vista, drive East on Main Street. Turn right on S. Norfolk. Make a left turn on E. Alder. At the end of that street turn right onto Omaha. The home is the next to last house on the right side of Omaha.
The homeowners created a system designed to eliminate all electric bills – even during the summer! There are three different photovoltaic systems with three different inverters located here (roof- and pole-mounted panels with one system having battery backup), for a total of 12 KW of installed capacity. The home also features:
  • A solar water heater
  • Solar clothes dryer (clothes line)
  • Solar-powered attic fan Information about energy production, system costs, and return on investment will be provided.
  • A water feature with fish, raised gardens and fruit and pecan trees.
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Hoffmann Residence

October 22, 23 - Saturday & Sunday

1430 S. Roosevelt St.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Directions: From 101 in Tempe, take Broadway Rd exit. Head west on E. Broadway Road for 3.2 miles. Turn right (north) onto S. Roosevelt Street. Travel 0.4 miles, then turn left onto access road. Home is on north side of street. Note: There is no parking on the small access road to the property, so it is best to park on the West side of Roosevelt Street, or on West 15th Street (just south of access road) for easiest access to property.
This 1,200-square-foot passive solar home was built with 160 bales of straw covered with eight coats of mud plaster outside and four coats inside. The 24-inch-thick walls keep average monthly utility bills at around $20, minus the basic fee and taxes. Trees surround the home and a wide covered porch on the east side overlooking a garden creates a passive solar climate. Two garden beds and a rain-water catchment system help meet needs for vegetables. There is no clothes dryer, dishwasher or garbage disposal on the premises. Rather, clothes are hung outside, dishes dried by hand and leftovers composted. With lots of natural light in the home, the lights are rarely turned on.
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Tempe Beach Park Solar Installation

October 22, 23 - Saturday & Sunday

Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85281
Directions: The park is located at the Northwest corner of Mill and Rio Salado in Tempe. The shade structure is located to the west of the splash pad. Note that the Soma Triathalon will be going on at the park on both days.
The Tempe Beach Park Solar Installation supplies a portion of the energy used to power facilities on the south side of the park, including the ball field, park lights and splash playground pump.

Tempe Beach Park receives more than 1 million visitors each year and is home to a variety of major events, including the Fourth of July Festival, New Year's Eve Block Party, Oktoberfest, P. F. Chang's Rock ‘N Roll Marathon, music festivals, triathlons and a variety of recreational activities.

The solar installation produces nearly 20,000 kilowatt-hours of energy each year using 52 solar panels that are supported by river rock pylons. The structure near the splash pad play area, also provides shade for picnic tables and a gathering area underneath. Interpretive signage explains how the panels turn sunshine into electricity.
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Peris Residence

October 22 - Saturday only

337 West Roma Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85013
Directions: From the intersection of Indian School and Central Avenue, go north on Central Avenue. Take a left onto West Turney Avenue. Take a right onto North 3rd Avenue. Go one block to West Roma Avenue. Take a left. The house is on the south side of the street.
In the mid-1930s Yaple Park was the country getaway from urban Phoenix. Now, only two blocks away from the Central Avenue Metro stop at Campbell, this 1938 Territorial Revival house has been beautifully restored and tastefully expanded with an outdoor patio to create a true urban retreat without compromising its historic character.

The southern exposure of the backyard made it a perfect candidate for a passive solar ramada, which provides full shade in the summer months, full sun on the house during the winter months, and pleasant partial shade inbetween. The thermal mass of the brick and stucco southern wall gently radiates heat into the house during winter evenings.
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Dunton Residence

October 22, 23 - Saturday & Sunday

16026 S. 14th Dr.
Phoenix 85045
Directions: Take Pecos off of the I-10 heading west. Exit north on S. 17th. Ave. and head north until Chandler Blvd. Turn right (East) on Chandler Blvd. take first right on S. 14th Ave. (Club West Golf Course), then take the 2nd right onto Wildwood Dr.; then head north (right) up to the end of S. 14th Dr.
We have converted ½ of our lawn in the back to a vegetable garden, the front lawn is now a desert scape, window shades and some film on all south and west windows. Our small PV system (3.8 kW) and PV pool pump (1.3 kW) have had a nice impact on our energy bill.

Will have a system monitoring station running, with current and past energy harvest information visible. Being an instructor for PV installers and a residential PV system design engineer I can hopefully answer questions people may have about solar energy. Will have a number of solar modules on display, and other system components.
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Edwards Residence

October 23 - Sunday only

8151 E. Smokehouse Trail
Scottsdale, AZ 85266
Directions: From the intersection of N. Scottsdale Road and E. Carefree Hwy., go south on Scottsdale Road about 1/2 mile. Turn east onto E. Westland Rd. Travel east on Westland Road 1 mile to Hayden Road then turn south on Hayden Road. Turn east onto Smokehouse Road — 4th house on right.
Completed in 1999, the Edwards Residence in North Scottsdale incorporates many Green Building elements in its construction. Its Southwestern design blends with the surrounding desert with an emphasis on sustainability.

The Edwards residence was also the first straw bale home to be permitted in the City of Scottsdale. Features include:
  • Straw bale R-50 walls
  • Thermal mass floors
  • Cooling tower
  • Thermal pane windows
  • water heating
  • Grid-tied 5.0 kW PV system
  • Highly insulated attic, R-67
  • Dual-drain plumbing for graywater
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Grieb Residence

(Withdrawn from Tour)

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Barnhart Studio

October 23 - Sunday only

506 N. Center St.
Mesa, AZ 85201
Completed in 2008, the studio is constructed from glass and steel, and a vast amount of additional material in this project are used or recycled. The Studio is 3,700+ sf with 28 foot ceilings. Beautiful natural light pours through the 7 skylights and north windows. The Studio is complete with a rock climbing wall, sculpture garden, a fireman’s pole, and a VW Bus mounted 12 feet off the floor that has been converted to a bedroom, and accessible by a glass catwalk. A 1,500 lb arched steel and concrete-ball entry gate gently pivots across the driveway to the front, and a lushly planted xeriscaped sculpture garden graces the rear of the property.
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DiFrancesco-Priebe Residence

October 23 - Sunday only

463 N. MacDonald Street
Mesa, AZ 85201
Directions: From University Dr. and Country Club go east on University approximately 3/8 of a mile to MacDonald. Head north on MacDonald—home is the 5th house on the right.
Located within a historic district, this six-year old residence incorporates numerous green building/sustainable strategies while keeping with the neighborhood. The east-west axis with large southfacing windows coupled with stained concrete floors and countertops for thermal mass provide much of the winter heating requirement. Gray water lines to the landscape and many other water-saving strategies are incorporated.

Exterior walls are constructed of OmniBlock with an additional inch of insulation applied to the exterior of the wall and interior insulation is made from recycled denim blue jeans! Lots of natural daylight provided by windows and solar tube, high-efficiency air cooling, tankless water heater and a PV solar power system make this a super-livable home.
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