See inside local green homes during the National Solar Tour

Hancock_2As much as I love the Internet, you can’t get the full impact of a green home from a computer screen.

Unless you’re standing right there, you can’t really sense the quiet environment (from good windows and thicker insulation), the sweeter air (from nontoxic finishes, sealants and adhesives), the natural daylighting (from good design), the nice feeling that comes from generating your own solar power. I tour homes for a living, so I know this is true.

Now you can get inside some green homes and feel these things for yourself.

With a theme of "real places for real people," the 2007 National Solar Tour takes place Saturday, Oct. 6. During these self-guided tours, you can see for yourself what homeowners have done to make their homes more green and energy-efficient.

Here are some tours in Southern California:

The Good Life Gone Green Tour
Date: Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Areas: Los Angeles, Sun Valley, Sylmar, La Crescenta.
Presented by: Valley Solar Amigos
For more info: E-mail
Tour description: Local L.A. Valley-ites went green and solar and now open their homes to the public to demonstrate the possibilities. Whether "normal," "Dwell" or "eccentric," this tour shows the promise of the future.
Cost: Free
How to take this tour: This is a self-guided tour taken on Saturday with a few homes open Sunday, Oct. 7. Follow the posted info, directions and maps, easily printable from the Valley Solar Amigos website.
Or: Save your gas money and take a Web tour.

SoCal Solar Tour
Date: Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Areas: Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Tustin, Seal Beach, other Orange County cities; plus Long Beach, L.A., Rancho Palos Verdes, Cerritos, other L.A. cities.
Presented by: Volunteers
For more info: Contact Doug Korthof, (562) 430-2495 or (714) 496-1567, or send an e-mail to, or visit the website.
Tour description: Caravan plus open homes; key homes in Long Beach, Cerritos, Huntington Beach.
Cost: Free
How to take this tour: Website sign-up list, and information at

More tours in California, including a tour of 30 green homes in the San Diego area.