The first weekend in October, we went on a Solar Homes Tour in Blount county. There are tours all over the country that weekend, but this was the only one in Alabama.
The the tour has been getting more and more popular each year. They had to split our group into two since it was so large. Our half started at the modified yurt.
Outside of the yurt, with solar panel.
Inside the yurt. (There was a lot of glare and contrast in this picture and the next. I tried to correct for it, but as a result, ended up with a few dark blotches where they shouldn't be.)
It's open on the top. The theory is that the warm air rises and can escape. I imagine it's closed in winter. It's not difficult to heat in Alabama... cooling is the main problem.
Where the walls meet the roof.
They stressed that incorporating passive solar principles is the most important thing to do. Basically that means you design the house to take the most advantage of the sun, before you ever spend a dime on technology like solar panels. One of the ideas was to grow grapes (or something similar) over the windows for shade in the summer.
The same idea, at a different house. I think I'd prefer blinds though, so you could still look out the window if you needed to.
Some interesting space-saving stairs at the same house.
Most of the houses were heated with wood-burning stoves.
This was a ridgetop underground house. It's open on two sides and underground on the others. I think this one was my favorite of the ones we saw. We missed seeing the last house on the tour though, which was supposedly the best. (It was running late and I had to be somewhere else.)
Colorful bumper of one of the tour guides. I so wanted a Prius when I bought my car 5 years ago but hubby was vehemently against it. (He worried about repair issues.) Click for a larger image.
A stray dog came along with our group.
Zorak wanted to come too!