Ann Reynolds and Ed McCorry of Albany toured three area homes on Saturday with their children.
"We've upgraded our furnace, we've put windows in, but now we're thinking of going even further and buying a new place and putting solar panels in and having a completely energy efficient home," McCorry said. "We have a belief as a family and our role and relationship to our community and our planet."
Reynolds said they chose the Coons' home to visit because they wanted to see how older homes can be fitted with environmentally friendly measures.
"These people are proving you can have an old house and have it be really high-tech and environmental, too," she said.
Twenty-eight local homes and businesses participated in the open house, which was part of the American Solar Energy Society's "National Solar Tour."
The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association recommends three ways of reducing energy costs: Changing all light bulbs to compact florescent, which reduce energy use by about 66 percent over traditional bulbs; seal air leaks to reduce drafts; and unplug appliances when not in use.
"There's not going to be any oil left, and eventually oil is going to get so high-priced that only the rich can afford it. Oil is killing us, it's going to ruin the environment," Paul Coons said. "I look at my grandkids. What are they going to have when we're all done with this?"
He added that his home also features a more low-tech energy saver: "We've got the solar clothes drier, everybody used to have them," he said, pointing to wet clothes hanging on his clothesline.
For information about the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, visit the Web site at www.nesea.org or call 413-774-6051.