The Zen of Home Building

Steve Ellis Press Leave a Comment

Asian influenced home is the greenest renovation in the state of Florida

Siesta Key Zen House-14

It was difficult to decide whether to tear the house down and start over or renovate. The Owner of the ranch-style house an Siesta Key wanted her home to tread lightly on the earth, especially considering its location: saltwater inlet on a nature sanctuary, with views of mangroves. So she hired MyGreenBuildings, an award-winning, green-focused general contractor, along with Osborn-Sharp Architects Of the famed Florida house), who chose to use as much of the existing structure as possible. The result is the highest-scoring FGBC-certified renovation to date.

The 4,000-square-foot house scored 232 points out of 300 on Version 5 of the FGBC’s Florida Green Home Designation Standard. A minimum of 100 points is required for a house to be FGBC certified. My Green Buildings co-founder Steve Ellis says, “We did not set out to be one of the greenest homes in the state, but that’s the way it  played out.’ Ellis and his business partner, Grant Castilow, worked closely with their green consultant, Drew Smith of Two Trails,Inc. To make sure they met the requirements for taking the project green.

The house has many of the green technologies that have become increasingly familiar solar water heating, a closed and insulated attic lighting and Energy Star appliances, HVAC with central dehumidification water-saving toilets and other plumbing fixtures and manifold plumbing system that delivers hot water to demand to the point of use. The healthful interior finishes include green-core cabinets with no added urea formaldehyde, and zero -VOC  paints, sealers, adhesives, and finishes. The landscaping is Florida-friendly.

Siesta Key Zen House-10

But much of the home’s greenness was derived from its passive characteristics. Ellis calls the home ‘Siesta Key Zen because of its Asian-influences, which include five-foot overhangs that reduce the energy load on walls and windows, and an open floor plan and door system that enable entire walls to be open for cross-ventilation. The owner “wanted to make sure the air movement in the home was nice and easy,” says Ellis. “To make it open up, we chose a NanaWall-like product, a folding accordion door system. There are 20-foot spans that are completely open and allow air to flow through.”

He tries to dispel the “myth” that a green house has to look industrial. “This is more of a .Saks Fifth Avenue’ green home, as the owner referred to it. This is what I think people are looking for. They don’t want to give up high style. Not only did we manage to create a really beautiful structure, but we did it all the way green. There is something to be said for that.”

From Florida Green Building Magazine