Solar greenhouse and hoop house

Solar greenhouse and hoop house

Saturday, Oct. 4, the annual north central Illinois Solar Tour will be held. Seven homes and buildings will be open for visitors who are interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Owners will be available to discuss their systems and answer questions.

All but one home, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The tour is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required. Visitors simply stop at the homes that are of interest to them — one or all.

Sites on this year’s tour, from southeast to northwest, are as follow:

• Bob and Sherry Piros, 4585 S. Chana Road, Chana, Illinois (815-732-7020): large photovoltaic system on barn roof; new house with geothermal heating and cooling; prairie restorations. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. only.

• Bob and Sonia Vogl, 1230 E. Honey Creek Road, Oregon, Illinois (815-732-7332): Hybrid grid-connected photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup; three separate PV installations; stand-alone (cabin-type) photovoltaic installation. Solar greenhouse and hoop house. Wood heat using wood collected from the property. Woodland and prairie restorations.

• Kickapoo Nature Center, 1919 N. Limekiln Road, Oregon, Illinois (cell only): Super insulated “1-watt” building built on German Passivhaus principles. Includes earth tube for fresh air intake. Conventional metal roof acts as a solar collector. Concrete floor used as a heat sink.

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