Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

March 15, 2008
Solar Saturday

My wife wanted to get ideas for tile in the bathroom so we took a road trip today to the new Madeira neighborhood in Elk Grove to look at model homes.
We dropped first into Amberleigh, being built by Tim Lewis Communities of Roseville. The place was having a solar fair to promote what a lot of Sacramento-area builders are doing now to differentiate themselves in a tough market. The public utilities, Roseville Electric and SMUD, have been especially aggressive in partnering with builders to do solar. I have not tracked the numbers of new solar houses in the region in awhile because there are just so many builders doing them now. But for awhile there about a year ago - and maybe it is still true today - utilities and builders in the Sacramento region were frontrunners nationally for building new solar-powered homes.
It makes sense with 320 days of sunshine a year here.

Anyway, we got to the models around 1 p.m. and saw a steady stream of browsers - proof that people are looking as the weather warms up. It did not hurt that there were free hot dogs and chips and soda.
If you have been through the models at Amberleigh you know it is like a civics course in being green. The rooms have all these little green signs telling visitors how to save energy:
- Remember to turn off the water faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Ceiling fans improve heat and cool air conditioning to keep energy costs down.
- Guest rooms not in use? Adjust the vents to direct air to other rooms until needed.

They really get your attention with one sign in particular: it says that buying a house with a solar package like this cuts your energy bill by 60 percent.

IMERYS2.jpg There must be hundreds of people by now who have bought these houses in the last couple of years here. Do they really save their owners that much? Do these solar panels really work? What do you do in winter? What is it like living in these houses?
If you own a solar home and have a minute drop a line here and give us a quick opinion.
I have heard plenty the past year from solar installers, environmentalists, builders and utility reps with agendas and financial interest in saying solar is great. But I have not heard much from real people who have lived under a solar roof for a year. A lot of us would like to know: Do they really make a difference?
Photo courtesy of Solar Energy Alliance

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

Jim Wasserman on Twitter

Follow "jimwasserman" on Twitter

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31