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Feature Story - Southern Plains ONAP

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Tunica Biloxi go green

On February 26, 2009, HUD staff from the Southern Plains Office of Native American programs attended the Grand Opening of a "solar home" constructed by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe in Marksville, Louisiana.

This cutting edge green construction project integrates energy-smart features and is funded in part by the Indian Housing Block Grant.

[Image: Interior of Solar Home]
The living area of the solar home is 1500 square feet. With the porch and carport it is 2052 total square feet. The home has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and the exterior of the home is brick and vinyl siding.

The home's construction incorporates energy efficient building materials such as 2 x 6 framing and a heat-barrier membrane along with renewable energy technology including solar panels (made of a hail resistant material to prevent damage and are
Interior of solar home-kitchen area

designed to withstand winds in excess of 100 mph) and a solar water heater (sunlight strikes and heats an "absorber" surface within a "solar collector"). Heated water is stored in a separate preheat tank or a conventional water heater tank until needed.

Some utility companies have net metering programs. When a system generates more electricity than needed, the excess goes to the utility grid and the meter spins backwards. This excess power can then be sold to the utility or traded for future credit on an individual's utility bill.

Roof-mounted solar panels are the primary source of electricity for the home, which will cut the monthly electricity bill from $120 to about $30, according to Sylvester "Joe" Barbry, the tribe's housing authority director. If the panels generate excess electricity, this power is returned to the power grid and may reduce the energy bill further. Should the home need power beyond that produced by the panels, standard electrical service is available. All of this energy efficiency comes at a reasonable price. According to[Image: Exterior of Solar Home]
Left to right: Bobby Pierite, Joe Barbry, Brenda Lintinger, Leonard Sampson, George Lopez

Mr. Barbry, the three-bedroom home cost the tribe about $115,000 to build. Once HUD assistance is included, the home will cost about $85,000 to tribal members.

The tribe intends to track and evaluate the performance of its first solar home and make the future homes it builds even more energy efficient. Mr. Barbry hopes to erect a new and even greener home every year.

Content current as of 10 April 2009   Follow this link to go  Back to top   
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