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Cool House Tour showcases energy-efficient homes in Austin

June 6, 2017

The 21st annual Cool House Tour opens Sunday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with some of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes in Austin.  All the homes on the tour are built to the highest standards of energy efficiency, comfort and sustainable design. Austin Energy Green Building celebrates rating more than 13,500 single family homes since creating the first ever green building rating system in 1991. 

This annual self-guided tour co-produced by Austin Energy Green Building and Texas Solar Energy Society showcase homes that are a resource for learning how to live comfortably in the hot Texas climate.  The tour is one of a kind in Austin and covers a wealth of styles and sizes.

Tour goers will be greeted at the tour stops by homeowners and building professionals who will personally spend time discussing home features, design strategies and sustainable building practices that can help you create your own cool home.

“Austin Energy thanks the participating homeowners, designers and builders for sharing their homes, experiences and expertise so others can replicate their success”, said Debbie Kimberly, Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions at Austin Energy.  

This year the tour showcases seven homes, along with one multifamily community and the world’s largest LEED Gold Neighborhood Development. Half of these homes have most energy needs met by onsite solar photovoltaic installations.  Two of the homes’ water is supplied solely through rainwater collection and onsite water treatment; and three of the homes utilize sufficient rainwater catchment for their outdoor landscape watering needs. 

Healthy living features are prevalent in several of the homes that will delight the health minded enthusiast.  One home goes beyond healthy interior finishes to incorporate health-conscience furnishings and another represents healthy natural building systems and finishes, which also saves resources.  Several of the homes are built in the urban core, with one multifamily community offering affordable apartment living in one of Austin’s most desirable urban hotspots.

Green building has become part of the mainstream in the real estate market today making it affordable for anyone looking to buy an energy efficient, sustainable home.  About one-fourth of all new, single-family homes built in Austin are now green building rated.  Austin Energy Green Building develops and maintains their own Austin specific rating systems that allow them the flexibility to carry out Austin’s ambitious climate protection goals.  They use these ratings to pave the way for energy and building code changes that will reduce building energy use.  The superior energy efficiency of the rated homes-both new and remodeled – can furthermore achieve a net-zero energy use when solar panels are added to the home.

This showcase of homes has become very popular and tour goers are encouraged to get a jump on this year’s tour by purchasing a guidebook ticket early.  They will receive information that will help them map out their tour day in advance and get ready for a wealth of green building ideas. A map of the tour stops will be posted on the Cool House Tour website ten (10) days before the tour.  The tickets for the tour are available online for $21 and at retail sponsors Treehouse and Zinger Warehouse for $20 (cash or check only) through June 11th. Tickets purchased at the homes on the day of the tour are $25 (cash or check only).  Children 12 and younger attend for free.

Visit to view photos of the homes and information about the tour and to purchase your ticket online.   

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