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Oregon homeowners use innovative ways to get energy use to zero

The folks who live in zero-energy homes are paying next to nothing for electricity.

By: Keely Chalmers | kgw.com

PORTLAND, Ore. — Did you know that residential homes account for almost a quarter of all the power consumed in Oregon?

Some homeowners are bucking that trend by making their homes zero-energy.

And a dozen of those homes will be featured in the Goal Zero Tour later this month. The tour highlights the sometimes simple and innovative strategies that homeowners are using to get their energy use down to zero.

The Tillamook Row apartment complex is one of the residences on the tour.

An array of solar panels on the South-facing rooftops produce the energy and then several things are in place to keep that energy inside the buildings.

Things like foot-thick walls, triple paned windows and decorative shades that help block the sun and reduce overheating are inside.

As a result, the folks who live there are paying nothing for electricity.

It’s a feeling Susan Leafe knows well. She also lives in a zero-energy home.

She said she not only pays nothing for electricity, but her home is on track to produce about 30 percent more power than it needs.

And she is pleasantly surprised every time she opens her power bill.

“It’s $10.64 and that’s really just the fees and taxes,” she said.

In addition to new builds, the tour will also feature homes that have been remodeled to be net-zero or at least close to it.

The Goal Zero Tour will take place Saturday, October 19 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

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