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Friday, June 21, 2024

Gainesville Solar Tour showcases energy-efficient homes

Along with several local homeowners, Dwight Adams welcomed small groups of strangers into his energy-efficient home Sunday afternoon. Adams showed guests his home's solar water heater and 27 rooftop solar panels, some of which connect to a solar inverter that sends the sun's energy to Gainesville Regional Utilities.

"Even on a cloudy day like today, I'm probably giving GRU more power than I'm taking," Adams said.

A sprinkling of rain and a lot of mosquitoes didn't stop about 90 people from attending the Gainesville Solar Tour.

The tour featured visits to six energy-efficient Gainesville homes and UF's Rinker Hall. The private homes offered different features such as solar water heating, solar electric energy, double-pane windows and heat-reflective metal shingles.

The event, sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society at UF and SolarCity Gainesville, began at UF's Energy Research and Education Park.

Fuel-efficient vehicles, such as a Toyota Prius and a hybrid Honda Civic, sat on exhibit, hoods and doors open, as guests milled around local businesses' tables.

Indigo, a local store that offers "green" household products, showcased countertops made from recycled glass and carpet made from old plastic bottles, along with other building materials. Manager Michael Amish said the store also sells cleaning supplies, paints, compostable utensils and other items.

For example, he said a surface cleaner made from parsley is much better for the environment than other common formulas.

"You can eat it," Amish said, laughing. "You can put it on your salad."

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