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Home&Real Estate OPEN HOME GUIDE 62 Also online at Home Front EDIBLE DESIGNS ... Maureen Decombe, a staff member of the BayFriendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition, will teach a class on “Edible Designs for Peninsula Gardens” from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. She’ll offer an informal talk and a walk to visit local edible gardens, which demonstrate gardens at different stages of design. Cost is $35 for nonmembers, $25 for members. Information: 650-329-1356 or www. ECOHOME OPEN HOUSE ... City of Palo Alto Utilities staffer Kevin Carley will lead a tour through the EcoHome, behind the Lucie Stern Community Center at 1120 Hopkins Ave., Palo Alto, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 13. The home showcases sustainable building materials, such as recycled glass countertops, permeable paving and energy-efficient appliances. Information: for a virtual tour PLANT SALE ... The Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden is holding its annual plant and compost sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. The sale includes iris, succulents (and succulent containers), salvias and more. Wheeler Farms Compost will be offered at $5 per bag. Garden staff and UC Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions. Information: 650-329-1356 or www. N Send notices of news and events related to real estate, interior design, home improvement and gardening to Home Front, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302, or email Deadline is one week before publication. Sven Thesen adjusts the triple-paned windows, made by Sorpetaler from Germany, that feature thicker, stronger glass, better insulating frames and seal airtight. No energy wasted here Solar home tour features energy-efficient homes S by Carol Blitzer ven and Kate Thesen’s front yard is a dead giveaway: Here lies a net-zeroenergy home. A sign proclaims “This house is saving energy (and money too!),” an electric-car plugging station sits proudly in the half driveway, four bicycles lie ready to ride and mulch covers the front yard, awaiting further landscaping. The Thesens’ home is one of five that will be on a self-guided tour on Saturday, Oct. 13, offering visitors up-close-and-personal views of what it takes to lower one’s carbon footprint. The 2012 Solar Home Tour begins with an informational session at the Girl Scout House, with presentations on how photovoltaic (solar) systems work and what they cost, including information on the city’s rebate program and federal tax credits. Visitors are encouraged to bring their monthly utility bill, with its average monthly cost kilowatt-hour usage, as well as a bag lunch to enjoy before embarking on the home tour. Thesen is eager to share the details of his new home, beginning with how he had to negotiate with the city to honor both the need for siting the house as far back as possible to get the best sun exposure for the solar panels and still meet the requirement to line up with his neighbors along the street. “The best solar gain is farther back,” he said, but they compromised by adding a façade that juts forward. After a year in the house, all is complete except the landscaping, which is slowly being added with edibles and California natives. Whenever tree trimmers work in the neighborhood, Thesen asks them to drop off the ground-up mulch that now covers his front yard. Much of what was on the property has been reused, he said, beginning with the rotting planking from a side fence that was trimmed down to a narrower low picket fence at front and side. Now the posts are elevated. “They should last a long, long time,” he said. “There’s a lot of sweat equity in this fence,” he added, but they saved more than $1,000 by re-using the posts and pickets. Thesen and his family are literally walking the walk, or riding the ride, of energy efficiency. Although trained as a chemical engineer, he’s now become an expert on energy efficiency and consults on the topic. He points to the electric-car charging station in front, noting that “the real carbon (continued on page 39) Veronica Weber EAT LOCAL ... Deva Luna, master gardener, horticulturist and owner of EarthCare Landscaping, will teach a class called “Eat Local, Eat Your Landscaping” from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Common Ground, 599 College Ave., Palo Alto. Luna will cover edible landscape favorites, including trees, vines, shrubs and edible weeds. She’ll also include information on native and drought-tolerant plants, plus tips from a professional landscaper. Cost is $31. Information: 650-493-6072 or Veronica Weber FREE WORKSHOPS ... UC Master Gardeners are offering a pair of free classes on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, 851 Center Drive, Palo Alto. “Outstanding Waterwise Plants for the Fall and Winter Garden” is 10 to 11 a.m., and “Gardening in Containers: Ornamentals and Vegetables” is from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. On Friday, Oct. 12, from 1 to 2 p.m., Master Gardeners will offer a free talk on “Colorful Plants for Fall and Winter” at Avenidas, 450 Bryant St., Palo Alto. Information: Master Gardeners at 408-282-3105, between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or The picket fence in front of the Thesens’ Net Zero Energy home was made from reused wood from an old sideyard fence. A trellis-covered patio extends forward to align the home with others on the block, while allowing the home to extend back to take advantage of the sun. ÜÜÜ°*>œÌœ"˜ˆ˜i°Vœ“ÊUÊ*>œÊÌœÊ7iiŽÞÊUÊ"V̜LiÀÊx]ÊÓä£ÓÊU Page 37

Palo Alto Weekly 10.05.2012 - Section 2

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