Five homes in Southern California will participate in Saturday's National Tour of Independent Homes, offering a variety of alternative energy systems and geographical sites.
Los Angeles--Eco-Home in Los Feliz has functioned as a public model for urban environmental living since 1988.
"We generate about one-third of our electricity needs using solar," said Julia Russell, who owns the home and lives in it. "The rest is conventional electricity."
Eco-Home visitors will see a solar hot water system, a photovoltaic system that generates electricity using solar energy, and passive solar space heating. Russell asks that visitors call for reservations and the address: (213) 662-5207.
Sylmar--Ivan and Elke Forbes use a combination of sun, wind and water to provide alternative energy for their house. They will show visitors how solar energy is used to both heat and cool the house. They ask visitors to call for reservations and the address: (818) 361-3444.
La Crescenta--Ted Baumgart completed his backyard solar-operated garden railway, pools and waterfall four years ago. Now he is building a 3,000-square-foot house and will show visitors how it's done.
"We'll offer a walk-through solar house under construction with written descriptions and illustrations that answer the questions of cost, performance and ease to live with," said Baumgart, a set designer and commercial artist. "Then they can relax in the solar garden and chat about ecological living." The home is at 2425 Mountain Ave.
Oxnard--Alvis Karalius will demonstrate "solar on a budget." His photovoltaic system provides 40% of his home electrical power and heats all the water.
"My monthly gas bills average $6 to $8 and my electricity bill rarely goes over $10," he said. "I'll have the bills to show people. We have a television, computer, dryer and microwave--all the things people want. But it's just an average house."
The home is at 4792 Strickland Drive.
Mojave Desert--Biologist Robert Fulton is the resident manager for the California Desert Studies Center, a remote field station run by the California State University system in the desert near Baker. He and his family, along with a small staff, are full-time residents of the complex, which accommodates large groups of biologists, geologists and other desert scientists for weekend field trips.
"We used to generate all our power by onsite propane or diesel generators, but it was dirty, expensive and difficult to maintain," Fulton said.
Now, thanks to Southern California Edison, they have a solar power plant with a huge rectangular array of 156 solar panels in a system that can store power and convert it to household current.
From Los Angeles, take Interstate 15 to 60 miles north of Barstow, and exit at ZZYZX (six miles before Baker), turn right and follow a short distance of pavement that turns to dirt and ends at the station 4.3 miles. Telephone: (619) 733-4266.
For more information on any of Saturday's open houses, call Real Goods Trading Co., (800) 762-7325.