AUSTIN (KXAN) - With the weather turning hotter as it often does in early June, chances are the energy bills are going up.
Nan and Herb Schwetman's West Austin home is on the tour list this year. Before they built their home, the land was vacant because no one thought they could build on it.
The property slopes down, so much so that the house next door is on stilts.
"It's also a lot with a very small amount of buildable area -- only enough for a garage and to get a driveway up to the garage," said architect Alan Barley.
So architects Barley and Pfeiffer came up with a unique design to utilize the land.
"Instead of putting the house on stilts, we stuck a floor underneath," said Barley.
That means you enter on the second floor to amazing views looking south toward the city. It's one of 10 homes on display during the annual tour.
"The homes are all that have something unique that you probably wouldn't see in your average home," said Natalie Marquis, executive director of the Texas Solar Energy Society.
In order to make the Schwetman's home environmentally friendly, it's all in the design.
"We like to say this house is green without gadgets," said Barley.
That means a metal roof, sustainable material and that the home is built so the windows only let light in from the north or south.
"The north is great light to bring into the house and doesn't have any heat associated with it. So you can flood the house with sunlight, but the house won't get hot," said Barley.
That makes the energy bill for this 3,800-square-foot home around $150 a month -- a cool house for the annual tour the Schwetman's are proud to call home.
"We also wanted a house we could live in for years to come," said Nan Schwetman.
Tickets for the Cool House Tour cost $20, which can be bought at Zingers or Tree House.
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