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Solar home tour slated Saturday

The Union StaffMark and Nancy Machado's solar house will be part of the solar home tour.
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Last month, Mark and Nancy Machado’s Pacific Gas and Electric bill was $4.40.

How’d they do it? They’ll explain how Saturday at the annual western Nevada County solar home tour.

The Machado house features passive solar design: It’s positioned so the low-lying winter sun floods the house with sunlight, warming it.



But when the summer sun is high overhead, it’s screened by window shades and overhanging eaves.

The Machados open their windows at night to draw in cool air. So this summer, their well-insulated house stayed between 74 and 78 degrees almost every day.




“We have not used our air conditioner all summer,” Mark Machado said.

Other tour homes will feature straw bale construction and solar roofing material that generates electricity.

Machado is a contractor who builds solar homes, and the tour is sponsored by a Grass Valley business, Sierra Solar Systems.

But the tour isn’t about selling products, stressed organizer Linsey Richards, a Sierra Solar Systems employee.

“There’s no hard sell. It’s people that are interested in the environment. They love what they’re doing, and they just want to open their homes.”

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Solar home tour

WHEN: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Meet at Sierra Solar Systems, 563 Idaho Maryland Road

ADMISSION: $7


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