The 2011 Richmond Solar Tour is a tour of solar homes and businesses in the Greater Richmond area that have solar and sustainable features. Included will be the City of Richmond, and Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield counties. This is a chance to meet your neighbors, see some beautiful homes, and learn about conservation and energy independence.

Both self-guided and guided tours will be available, with the guided tour on Thursday, September 29 from 3:30 - 9:00 pm. Self-guided tours will available via GoogleMaps online and through a downloadable PDF showing the area locations, images and information.

Cost: The self-guided tour is Free, suggested donation of $10 for the guided tour if we need to rent a bus for transportation. Carpooling is available, please use the contact information below to coordinate.

Event Contact: Christopher Maxwell
Contact Phone: 804-920-2470

Contact Email: VirginiaSEA@gmail.com


To start the tour at 3:30, meet at: James River Air location (
9214 Hungry Spring Road, Richmond, VA)
NOTE: Please bring your map and/or GPS. Christopher Maxwell's cell phone is 804-920-2470. He will of course often be unable to answer immediately during the tour.

3:30 PM
James River Air location (
9214 Hungry Spring Road, Richmond, VA)

4:30 - 5:00 PM
Leave the James River Air location at 4:30 PM (travel time about 20 minutes, plus traffic) to travel to the tour's second meeting place. Some tour participants will want to start later and omit this first location.

To start the tour at 5:00, meet at: Belmont Library, 3100 Ellwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23221. We will be meeting in the parking lot behind the Belmont Library. From this location you will have a good view of the rooftop solar panels on the first home on the tour route. (Carpooling is available, please use the contact information above to coordinate.)

5:00 PM
John and Maria Shugars (3113 Floyd Avenue, Richmond, VA 23221)
(Solar Photovoltaic Panels and Airsealing, installed by Commonwealth Solar)
You will see: Solar PV, inverter, charge controller and batteries to keep it producing power even when the power grid goes down. Exterior brick insulation and air sealing of mortar on the garage.
Thermal break between foundation and ground around it with foam paneling outside foundation.

5:25 PM (While driving on the way to the John Roberts location)
View the home at 2418 Rosewood Ave, Richmond, VA 23221

You will see: Solar Thermal Panels and Shadecloth Structure.

5:30 PM (while driving on the way to the John Roberts location)
View "The Phoenix" Grove Avenue Green Home (1413 Grove Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220)
You will see: Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Rainwater Harvest tanks, rain gardens.

5:45 PM (while driving on the way to the John Roberts location)
View the "Partnership for Families" day care center (800 West Graham Road, Richmond, VA 23222)
You will see: Solar Thermal and Solar PV panels.

6:00 PM

John Roberts  (3205 Chamberlayne Avenue, Richmond, VA)
You will see: Solar Thermal and Solar PV. These systems are homeowner installed and grid-tied only. Once the power goes out, the panels stop producing. The solar thermal system had extra insulation added.
All native vegetation in the yard.

(Driving/Parking Instructions: As you approach the loction, watch carefully for the address, as this home is well populated with vegetation. Smaller vehicles can pull in the first south driveway. The loop driveway around back comes back out to the street at the North end of his property. SUV's may have to park around the corner on the side street to avoid low vegetation at the sides of the house.)

6:30 PM
Christopher Maxwell (1520 Porter Street, Richmond, VA 23224)
You will see:
Solar Thermal, extra sized tank (400 gallon) to feed (future) hot tubes under the floor for hydronic heat partially from Solar. System is planned to have wood boiler backup. Shadecloth (two different varieties) that has dramatically reduced AC runtimes. Energy Star TPO reflective roofing. Reflective "Pop-In-Panels" to insulate ancient windows that are not in use. Magnetic sealed attic hatch (the attic entry is the largest leak point of heat in *most* homes). Lined and vapor barrier in crawlspace (now sealed) to vastly reduce humidity in house. 4 zoned 16 SEER AC system with monitoring. Other details are not visible, but will be discussed.

This is a h
ouse still in rehab mode and the owner will detail future alterations which are planned. In addition, the owner will discuss dramatic reductions in heating and AC bills despite an increase in occupancy from 4 to 6 people and despite still not yet having repaired certain windows or finishing the attic insulation. The owner will also share a story relating how the recent earthquake damaged the panels, then they endured the effects of the hurricane, and yet the panels are still making hot water.

6:45 PM (while driving on the way to the Scott Burger location)
Abbot House (423 1/2 South Laurel Street, Richmond, VA 23220)

7:00 PM
Scott Burger (612 South Laurel Street, Richmond, VA 23220)
You will see:
Solar PV panels with a battery backed up Inverter. Charge Controller for batteries. In-House monitoring. Shade Cloth. Cellular Shades (including a discussion of "Mean Radiant Temperature" and why that's important). Pellet Stove. Heat Pump Hot Water Heater

7:30 PM
Food & Discussion (Home of Scott Burger, 612 South Laurel Street, Richmond, VA 23220)

There will be one additional home available to view on Saturday morning, in Ashland, Hanover County, on the way via the I-95 North carpool trip to D.C. to see the International Solar Decathlon competition. Saturday tour details pending. Contact one of the organizers during the Thursday evening tour, or use the above contact inforamation to sign up and coordinate carpooling for the Saturday trip.

Saturday AM
Ken Schaal (12433 Autumn Sun Lane, Ashland, VA 23005)
You will see: Solar PV. Solar Thermal (These panels were hit by a large tree during the recent Hurricane Irene, including damage to the roof, and yet still producing hot water). Beadwall (hyper-insulated bedroom window that fills with foam beads to insulate at night). Foam coated in concrete to build a hyper insulated geodesic dome. Windows incorporating an exterior shadecloth that is controlled from within a closed window. Windows with cellular shades that are in tracks to prevent convective heat gain or loss. Windows with "Window Quilts" and tracks. Radiant floor heat from tubes in the floor. Wood Boiler backup heat for the floor and many gray days of low solar.

Saturday AM - PM
Solar Decathlon Field Trip (Washington, D.C.)

For more information about VSEA or VSEA efforts, email virginiasea@gmail.com,
And click the Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube links below to join us online.

Thanks for your interest in promoting Solar in Virginia!




Updated September 2011