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Eastside Eco Tour, a free look at sustainable homes

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One visit to Julia Russell's Eco-Home, pictured above, was all it took to inspire Tomas O'Grady to design and build his own green home. "I went to one of her Eco-Home tours and met a bunch of people who showed me how I could do it," O'Grady said.

Now O'Grady, director of a volunteer environmental group in Los Feliz called Farm Feliz, is hoping to inspire others to live a little greener too. Farm Feliz and the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council are hosting the Eastside Eco Tour on Sunday. The self-guided tour will include eight homes and three community gardens that incorporate sustainable elements such as passive cooling, rainwater catchment, gray-water systems, solar panels, beekeeping, composting and edible gardens.

Ecotour At last year's inaugural tour, O'Grady expected 20 people per home. He ended the day with 300 at his house alone. "People were lined up down the street," he said. "It was like a Bruce Springsteen concert."

The tour this year is scheduled to held from noon to 4 p.m. Homeowners are to be at each site to share advice and talk about their mistakes. More information, including addresses of the locations, is available online. Admission to the properties is free.

From 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., a party at O'Grady's home will include food, lectures and exhibits. A suggested donation of $15 will benefit a new environmental studies magnet program at Thomas Starr King Middle School. "Hopefully the green magnet will be on the tour next year," O'Grady said.

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credit: Tomas O'Grady

 
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