WSU's Sustainability House

WSU’s Sustainability House is one of 18 buildings featured on the Renewable Energy Tour Bike Route.

WSU’s Sustainability House, located at 377 E. Main St., will be open to everyone for free tours from 10am-3pm on October 5 as part of the Winona Renewable Energy Tour.

The Winona Renewable Energy Tour is a special opportunity to discover how homes, schools and businesses are adopting and adapting solar (pv and passive), wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, conservation and efficiency measures to reduce dependence on fossil fuels that cause greenhouse gas emissions and climate disruption.

Tour developer and coordinator Chris Meyer, a retired software engineer, sees this as an opportunity to hear objective evaluations of what works and what doesn’t. “These people are the innovators and testers of emerging renewable energy systems and they will tell you about both pros and cons – they’re not selling anything. This might be the only chance this year to get inside and see how things work,” she said.

Chris Meyer and Paul Schollmeier, who teaches at the Winona Middle School, have been experimenting with and demonstrating renewable energy options at their home over the past several years. Their house is featured on the tour route, along with 17 others, scattered from Winona to Rochester. The five locations on the Winona Area Energy Tour Bike Route include schools and businesses, as well as homes – all sites demonstrate how innovative and individualized energy conservation and renewable energy strategies can be.

Tour organizers and participants were delighted to have WSU’s Sustainability House and its students open their doors for this year’s event. Sustainability House senior resident leader Thomas Gorycki noted some important features that will be highlighted during the tour. “Here, we have a roof-mounted photovoltaic array that offsets our electrical bills. We have energy efficient appliances, motion sensor lights, Solatubes for natural inside light, a living green roof, and other innovations that help cut costs while contributing to our overall quality of life. The students here are committed to learning about and demonstrating how we all can live better sustainably.”

The Sustainability House will be open to everyone for free tours from 10am-3pm on October 5. Everyone is invited, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to see renewable energy driven lifestyles for yourself.

–Tex Hawkins
Sustainability Advisor