G-Rated Green Tour

Not to be on a “green” kick, but there is a really great home tour coming this Saturday, September 15th in the Portland Metropolitan area. The Office of Sustainable Development’s G-Rated Program and Metro host an annual “Build It Green” tour in Portland and the outlying areas. This year they have 21 homes in the self-guided tour. It’s a showcase of alternative remodeling, building, and landscaping methods for homeowners. I’m not going to put green in quotes anymore, but when related to homes it can be anything from using solar panels, salvaged wood, tankless water heaters, creating cob structures, turning your grassy yard into a garden, and other alternatives to traditional building and landscaping concepts.

It sounds like a bunch of damn hippies, but it’s a combination of hippy-esque sensibilities mixed in with energy and money saving ideas for homeowners who would prefer redesigning their space as opposed to moving elsewhere or building new. There are a couple of new homes and even two high-rise residential condominiums, a new addition this year. I guess those are the sell-outs?

The tour runs from 11:00am – 5:00pm on Saturday, which means realistically you’ll be lucky to hit five to seven homes. Last year 500 people attended the tour, so the crowds can get thick and possibly require a wait to get into some of the homes. Arciform’s 1899 House in the North Mississippi neighborhood will be jammed for sure. The tour coordinators encourage biking and carpooling as parking can be a pain.

After the tour a free Information Fair will be held in the parking lot at the Environmental Building Supplies showroom on 819 SE Taylor St. by the post office. They’ll have contractors, vendors, suppliers, free refreshments and live music available for tour attendees and the general public. The fair will run from 4:30pm – 7:00pm.

The tour is actually a lot of fun and an opportunity to snoop around people’s homes and get some ideas for your own projects. From my experience everyone is really friendly and helpful and are great about answering questions or explaining some of the barriers they’ve run across in the remodeling process. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 if you’re carfree (not carefree which you may by but it doesn’t count), a student or a senior. You can purchase tickets and get more information and a sneak peek at the homes at http://portlandonline.com/osd. You can also purchase tickets at Environmental Building Supplies, open from 9:00 – 5:30 during the week, and 10:00 – 4:00 on Saturday. They suggest not waiting until the day of because it’s completely crazy and will cut into your small window of time to tour the homes.

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