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Greening Boxes

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Okay, I just came from digesting the solar world vision in a 20-minute Powerpoint as presented by one of the industry's leading actors at Bill Sinkins' Bday bash ("Only politics" stands in the way, we're told), so my expectation level is, perhaps, appropriately high.

When I'm told that San Antonio's Imagine Homes has been named the nation's top green home builder, my thoughts rush through a lot crazy, glassy images thanks to all those mind-expanded European architects on the loose.

After checking Imagine out online, I realize they aren't taking buyers off-grid. I mean, they're still sucking up the coal and gas and nuke fumes. That's fine. For now.

What Imagine offers is a really well-insulated house, with non-toxic paints and carpeting, energy efficiency appliances. Etc.

In fact, as our City Council continues discussions about a new standard for new residential construction, this Imagine model should be where we start. Then  push like hell on that refilled solar rebate program CPS Energy will have in place by then. Maybe Hondo will have our rolls of thin-film solar in production and ready to go, too.

Somebody, hurry. Place a collect call to Build SA Green (I hear they have some sway) and see if you can start that ball moving. It's time to imagine not just San Antonio but South Texas as a green energy universe.


SAN ANTONIO (Imagine Homes) – The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has named San Antonio-based Imagine Homes the nation's top green home builder among companies that produce single-family homes for the mass market.

The nation's largest home builder association awarded Imagine Homes its 2008 Single Family Production Home of the Year honor during its Tenth Annual NAHB National Green Building Conference in New Orleans last weekend.

Judges graded competitors on a variety of criteria, including their statements of green building philosophy and awareness of environmental building initiatives, and examined their building processes starting with lot design and preparation.

"Imagine Homes has helped lead the way to the market's embrace of green homes, and in many ways is an industry pioneer," said Ray Tonjes, chair of the NAHB green building subcommittee. "When a green home doesn't look or feel significantly different from one built using more traditional construction methods, when builders have the tools and resources to build them without significant material or labor cost increases, and when consumers readily accept the finished product, then 'green' has arrived. I think it has."

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expe-strongSo out of all the suits and influence peddlers crammed into the Pearl Brewery Stables (it's nicer than it sounds), who was the bigshot at Sinkins' 95th? Well, I'm going to overlook the video greeting from Governor Rick and SA Councilmember Cibrian's self-congratulatory version of how our city got the DOE Solar City grant and say: Steven Strong, founder of Solar Design Associates.

Time Mag dubbed him the "Hero for the Planet" back when Al Gore was still under gag order courtesy of the secret-sauce-swearing McClinton's. 

I'm working on getting Strong's PowerPoint to share witcha. Until then, check out his Q&A on Nova for more solar goodies.

Posted by Greg Harman on 5/19/2008
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