The ASES National Solar Tour:
A Grassroots Movement
By Brad Collins
Brad Collins is the
executive director of
the American Solar
Energy Society (ases.
The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Tour, now in its 14th year, is the largest grassroots solar energy event in America. We work to put cutting-edge
examples of low-carbon, energy-efficient buildings on public
display, boosting market demand for solar technologies and
green buildings. But that’s only part of the story.
More importantly, the tour educates thousands of citizens
about energy and its use in buildings. Tour attendees learn what
is possible in their own communities. Contemplate the statistics
from last year: 5,000 homes and commercial buildings on display, more than 10,000 volunteers and more than 140,000 tour
takers. The tour provided energy-literacy education in 3,000
communities across 49 states.
But the single most telling statistic concerns how we empower attendees to become purchasers of solar technologies. Before
participating in the ASES National Solar Tour, 44 percent of last
year’s visitors indicated an intention to purchase clean energy
technologies. After taking the tour, an astounding 73 percent
reported an intention to go solar. Within the next two years, 38
percent of tour attendees plan to retrofit an existing home with
sustainable energy features.
Many tour-goers wind up participating in following years as
organizers or homeowner hosts. Last year, 32 percent of tour
hosts indicated that attending a previous tour was the motivating factor behind their decision to invest in a renewable energy
system. This translates to a substantial growth rate for more
buildings, in more communities, available to more tours, year
But it gets better. As we expand the tour, we expand the
group of Americans who get it. We have more citizens who
appreciate the personal cost savings and positive environmental
impact of living solar. They communicate this passion to family, friends and neighbors, touching still more citizens with the
truth about solar.
Solar energy happens every day. It’s available in every town.
It helps us feel good about our lifestyle choices and creates a
safer, cleaner and better planet for our children.
What’s not to like about the ASES National Solar Tour?
LEADING THE RENEWABLE ENERGY REVOLUTION
Brad Collins: Executive Director/Publisher
Gina R. Johnson: Editor/Associate Publisher
Seth Masia: Managing Editor
Corey Dahl: Associate Editor
Dona McClain: Publications Manager/Editorial Assistant
Richard Haight: Proofreader
Charlie Angelo: Intern
Brooke Simmons: Manager of Online Publishing
Allison J. Gray: Art Director
Dan Bihn: Photojournalist
Richard Crume, Rona Fried, Chuck Kutscher, Liz Merry,
Mick Sagrillo, Ken Sheinkopf, Robert Ukeiley
General McNeill Group Inc.
Southern U.S., Hawaii, Asia and S. America:
800.394.5157, ext. 26
Stefanie Lauff: email@example.com
Northern U.S., California, Alaska, Canada
800.394.5157, ext. 31
Kris Ohrenick: firstname.lastname@example.org
Automotive Focus Media & Marketing
Ken Stubblefield: email@example.com
Mark Moyer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Magazine Advisory Council
Paul Notari, Co-chair
Ken Sheinkopf, Co-chair
Jane M. Weissman
Irene Pérez Law: Chief Operating Officer
Becky Campbell-Howe: Director of Professional Education
Neal Lurie: Director of Marketing and Communications
Carolyn Beach: Membership Manager
Richard Burns: National Solar Tour Manager/
Elena Hoffrichter: Receptionist/Bookkeeper
Kate Hotchkiss: Executive Assistant
Ann Huggins: Member Services
ASES Board of Directors
John Reynolds, Chair
Margot McDonald, Chair-elect
Travis Bradford Paulette Middleton
Richard Caputo Nathan Mitten
David Comis Victor Olgyay
Gregory Edwards Bill Poulin
Barbara Farhar Dave Renné
Allison Gray Mary Spruill
David Hill Mark Thornbloom
Jason Keyes Claudia Wentworth
SOLAR TODAy (ISSN: 1042-0630) is published nine times
per year by the American Solar Energy Society, 2400 Central
Avenue, Suite A, Boulder, Colorado 80301-2843, 303.443.3130,
FAX 303.443.3212, email@example.com, ases.org. Copyright © 2009
by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
BPA Worldwide Consumer Publication Audit Membership
applied for October 2008.