Salem Green + Solar Tour 2010

Be inspired by your neighbors!
Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

This year's Salem Green + Solar Tour offers an incredible lineup of nine cutting-edge projects: the first Passive House certified home in Oregon; the first net-zero energy commercial building in Oregon; an existing home solar remodel in McNary Estates; downtown's newest green commercial-retail building, WaterPlace; the first home to receive a Solarize Salem Co-op installation; the green update to Frank Lloyd Wright Gordon House; and ABC Extreme Makeover's newly-completed LEED Gold dormitory at the Oregon School for the Deaf, among others.

Architect Nathan Good will begin the event at 9am with a preview of the tour sites and a presentation on building and design -- key terms, costs, features and benefits. Tour sites across town will be open 10am to 4pm.

Each site will be hosted by an owner, architect and/or builder who will explain the green features of the project, and benefits, costs, and lessons learned. Tour participants will have the opportunity to learn about energy efficiency, passive and active solar systems, daylighting, on-site energy generation, rainwater harvesting, innovative construction systems and building materials, and a lot more.

Registration: Begins at Painters Hall at 9am, Pringle Creek Community Click here for a map & directions http://tiny.cc/paintershall or go to http://www.pringlecreek.com

Cost: $10 per car, carpooling encouraged. Bicyclists free. Organized ride leaves at 10:15am.

Special thanks to our sponsors!

Pringle Creek Community, Salem AIA (American Institute of Architects), Marion County Environmental Services, Nathan Good Architect, Wild Pear, Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center, Tanner Creek Energy, Zena Forest Products, Solarize Salem, Lifesource Natural Foods, Barnwood Naturals, Mahonia Vineyards & Nursery, Bilyeu Homes, Spectra Construction, and City of Salem.

Hey bicyclists! what better way to travel to Green + Solar Tour sites than by bike, especially when it's free! If you're ambitious, visit all the sites. We've also put together a shorter route that focuses on sites within the City of Salem. Bicyclists can take a self-guided loop or let Patrick and Jenny lead the way with a group tour. Group tour departs Painters Hall at 10:15am.

For more information:

Call 503-315-1055 or info@pringlecreek.com

Salem Green + Solar Tour is part of a state-wide tour in 14 communities across Oregon, all happening on the same weekend. According to Solar Oregon, which oversees state-wide coordination, "the Oregon Green and Solar Tours are one of the biggest events of their kind in the nation" and "each tour reflects the unique interests of the community, yet all share a common goal: to educate the public about green and solar strategies." You can also read about the National Solar Tour overseen by the American Solar Energy Society.

Hope to see you there for this great event!


Gardens & Conservatory shots

The gardens are looking beautiful... Here are some shots of our dahlias, sunflowers, pumpkins and the Conservatory. Contact shannon@pringlecreek.com if you are interested in learning more or getting involved!


Painters Hall is focus of Solar Today article

You will want to take a look at Pringle Creek's Path to Net Zero in the September/October issue of Solar Today magazine (to read it all you just click the page-turn buttons at the top of each page). Written by James Santana, the article features photos by Pringle Creek's favorite photographer, Visko Hatfield (including the cover photo. Here are some choice quotations from the text:

Under a rooftop covered in solar panels, Pringle Creek neighbors sit on the deck of Painters Hall community center, sipping iced tea, bird watching and looking out over acres of open space. It’s a modern vision of a sustainable future — integration of the built and natural environments, innovative design and technology — as well as a reminder of simpler times, when community and resource conservation were ways of life.

. . .

The center demonstrates the potential for existing building stock to be renovated in a way that outperforms conventional new construction, saves money, preserves history and inspires beauty and creativity.

. . .

When it came to selecting PV panel manufacturers, the team looked for quality, reliability and efficiency, and if possible, local manufactur- ing. Sanyo Solar (us.sanyo.com/solar), one of the world’s leading solar panel producers, had recently opened a new solar ingot facility just 6 miles away, bringing 200 new jobs to Salem.... For inverters, the team chose the PV Powered (pvpowered.com) PVP4800 for its 96 percent California Energy Commission-weighted efficiency rating, 10-year warranty and manufacturing plant located in Bend, Ore., just 130 miles away.

. . .

The building is, once again, a signal of health and prosperity, and also of a new direction — toward a smart future rooted in innovation, respect for nature and love of community. In this way, Painters Hall, and the entire neighborhood at Pringle Creek, is ready for the next 80 years of new challenges and opportunities.

Solar Today is a publication of American Solar Energy Society, a nonprofit established in 1954. Their mission is to change how American's think about solar, bring the solar community together, and create a sustainable energy economy.

Come out to Pringle Creek anytime between 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to look around and enjoy a cup of espresso, coffee, or iced tea in the Community Café. See for yourself what all the buzz is about.


BTA bike commute challenge!

Shannon and Santiago are participating in the BTA's bike commute challenge this month! http://bikecommutechallenge.com So far Shannon is in the lead but not by much.


Opsis Architecture Picnics at Pringle Creek

Opsis Architecture has led the Masterplanning and Design of Pringle Creek Community since day one. Co-founded by Salem native James Meyer, Opsis is responsible for the thoughtful layout of our green streets and open spaces, for the preservation of so many wonderful mature trees, and for the beautiful restoration of the Painters Hall. Opsis has set the bar high for sustainable construction and sophisticated design with seven different housing types, including the Tall Houses and Cottages.

On a recent Saturday, the folks at Opsis enjoyed an afternoon of food, games, conversation and family. As you can see from the photos, a good time was had by all.

Click here to see more Opsis picnic photos


The upside of downsizing

We can't say we anticipated the housing market losing so much steam so fast, but we did anticipate a trend where downsizing would become a vibrant niche in the home building industry. As more and more developers and builders see the "new normal" coming at them, they are struggling to understand what it means.

Well, I can tell them what it means:

  1. People don't want to spend so much money buying and maintaining a big home;
  2. Neither do they want to spend so much time taking care of a large home and lot;
  3. They don't want to spend an arm and a leg on utility bills;
  4. And neither do they want to spend so much time and money commuting.

Now, you might say each of these points has an economic foundation. That is the gist of this article, Death of the 'McMansion': Era of Huge Homes Is Over:

Just 9 percent of the people surveyed by Trulia said their ideal home size was over 3,200 square feet. Meanwhile, more than one-third said their ideal size was under 2,000 feet.

She said the trend there is more toward building green homes instead of big homes. Right now, they're building a 1,200-square-foot uber-green home for a couple that's downsizing from 3,000-square feet, Cheatham explained."

What's more, many in the real-estate business say they think this trend of downsizing, or "right-sizing," as Flint likes to call it, is here to stay.

All true, all very interesting, but take a look at some
of the thousands of responses to the article and you will see two other engines of change: the desire to protect our environment and to create a stronger sense of community. In our experience at Pringle Creek Community, the equation includes wanting to downsize and simplify, to reduce ones carbon footprint and save money. People want to live in a neighborhood where a culture of sustainability and stewardship prevails, where ecological and social values lead to green and safer streets, community orchards and gardens, mature groves of fir, oak and redwoods connected by walking and biking trails.

Pringle Creek Community is about downsizing housework and yard work and upsizing the important things, like friends, community, nature. Pringle Creek's renewable energy comes not just from solar panels and ground-source geothermal systems; there is renewable energy in the smiles of people who come to Pringle Creek Community for the first time and immediately recognize something remarkable is happening here. And from the residents here, who renew my energy when I meet them at the Café or walking or biking through the neighborhood. They recharge my batteries every time.