Solar Today January February 2013 : Page 27

Las Casas Verdes homes use sustainable materials and practices, including 16 SEER or higher HVAC, multi-zoned heating and cooling, Energy Star appliances and no-VOC paints and stains. LENS PORTRAIT (Above) All of the homes at Las Casas Verdes include photovoltaic and solar water-heating sys-tems, are designed and oriented using passive design principles and are sized to meet most or all of the occupants’ electricity needs with j ust a 3-to 6-kilowatt system. LENS PORTRAIT friends first to fund the project. They had always supported my idea of a solar community and were eager to help. Together we scraped up the money to purchase the property, and Las Casas Verdes, “The Green Homes,” was born. It would be the first subdivision in Texas and the southern United States comprised entirely of true solar homes — not tract homes with a few solar panels attached, but site-specific, custom-designed solar homes that middle-income fami-lies could afford. The first order of business was installing the infrastructure. I spent my days doing everything from supervising installations to operating Copyright © 2013 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved. Each home is equipped with a 2,000-gallon (7,571-liter) rainwater-harvesting system. Rainwater is filtered and stored in an aboveground outdoor water tank. This water is piped to outside hose bibs and used to flush the home’s commodes. The system can be switched to municipal water if needed. SOLAR TODAY January/February 2013 27 DAVID MARTIN LENS PORTRAIT LENS PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY, GREG COLEMAN ANDREW POGUE PHOTOGRAPHY

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