It’s Cool to be Cool – Austin Cool House Tour

This past weekend Austin had TWO home tours open to the public – Saturday was the Outdoor Living tour which sadly I could not attend. But Sunday was the Cool House Tour – a MUST NOT MISS in my book – Just last week I took a Real Estate further education class on Green MLS  – so I was ready to go and get even greener

The Cool House Tour is put on by Texas Solar Energy Society & Austin Energy Green Building One of the best things about this tour is that the “ticket” is a Guidebook – full color, gorgeous pictures, map, and house descriptions. So nice to have with you at each home.  And it had helpful driving directions too.

So if you click on the link above for the Texas Solar Energy Society, you can see a small preview of the homes, I didn’t take many pictures but I will mention a few of my faves:

6001 Bull Creek – Barley & Pfeiffer Architects – Such a cool location, I love this street. One thing I learned at this home that I didn’t know before is that separate, un-attached garages are part of a green home. Car fumes in an attached garage contribute to interior air pollution!  A fave feature of this home was the master bath. The tub and shower were enclosed by a glass door, and were in basically one room, with tub on one side, a bench along another wall and two shower heads with a drain in the middle of the floor.  Love

2004 Canterbury St – in East Austin, fab location. This house was super cool an unique, it was one I could see myself living in. Huge open kitchen and living area in front with bedrooms at the back of the house, they said that this layout allowed for straightforward plumbing and mechanical lines that promote energy efficiency.  Metal roof which not only looks cool but saves on cooling bills.

3505 Villa Court #10 – a PSW Real Estate project! You know I love me some PSW projects, in fact clients of mine bought one of these Villa Court units a couple of years ago so I’m very familiar with their fantastic standards of green building. In fact, in my class last week, the teacher said that PSW were the poster child for Austin Green Building. These are 5 star rated, solar panels, rain gardens, and also very pretty!

1700 South 3rd Street – Ben Obregon, Architect – this home was my favorite, and it was the most different. As much as I love all the modern and new construction, and I really really do… I have a soft spot for vintage and historic homes. 1700 South 3rd was built in the 1920s, and they kept it true in the remodel. Charming wood panel walls, wood floors, original built ins, in the main house. Then they built a Straw bale construction studio, that can be a home office, man-cave (or woman-cave!), in fact it had a bar in it! But the ultimate green feature  for me, were the extensive vegetable gardens.  Corn, squash, pumpkin, chard, kale, herbs, tomatoes and these amazing dewberries, of which I ate 4!

Delicious Dewberries

Delicious Dewberries

tons and tons of kale

tons and tons of kale

This house is actually a Net-Zero house, in the middle of groovy South Austin – you can read about it here http://www.zeronethouse.com/

It’s so fun getting a peek into some really incredible houses, and meet the architects and owners and most of all learn new things.

here are a few new things I learned (besides the garage thing)

– Curved Blade ceiling registers provide good air-throw and air mix

– Large Roof overhangs reduce the impact of sun’s heat and protect materials from weather

– Metal Roofing is ideal for rainwater collection

Let me know in comments below what things you have done to greenify your home!

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