A three-story Sarasota home built by Michael K. Walker and Associates has achieved the lowest (best) HERS (Home Energy Rating System Score) of all green homes certified this year by the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC). “Only two other homes in the past four years have scored a lower HERS), FBBC reports in its Green Trends Newsletter.
The house as a HERS score of (-11). If the home has a score of zero or less, it is referred to as a “Net Zero Energy” home, meaning it produces as much energy as it uses (or more in the case of -11) through renewable resources such as solar panels. The excess energy is typically sold back to the utility, reducing the home’s energy costs.
To help reach this level of energy efficiency, the home incorporated a number of green approaches, such as sealing and insulating the floor joist perimeter, installing energy-efficient appliances, using light-colored paint on the interior and exterior walls, sealing the penetrations of recessed ceiling lights, and equipping the home with a comprehensive set of ENERGY STAR qualified light fixtures, Green Trends reports.
The green certification designation represents achievements in a comprehensive set of categories in addition to energy efficiency, such as water conservation, site preservation, indoor air quality, materials, and durability – including disaster mitigation.
To conserve water, low-flow water fixtures and appliances were installed, and reclaimed water is used for irrigation. In addition, the landscape consists of drought tolerant plants compatible with the local environment and grouped by maintenance requirements, such as sun and water needs.
All slab penetrations were sealed and a central dehumidification system installed to control moisture within the home. Low VOC paints, stains, finishes, and sealants reduce the risk of poor indoor air quality that can result in respiratory ailments, as does minimizing the use of carpet. Other approaches include installation of a controlled mechanical ventilation system, ENERGY STAR bath fans, venting to outside for range hoods, fireplaces and dryers, and an efficient HVAC filter.
- Some other unique green achievements of this platinum-level certified home include:
- High-efficiency irrigation system that utilizes the geothermal well as the primary irrigation water source
- Geothermal heating and cooling (HVAC) used for the domestic hot water, the pool & spa
- The high-performance solar system produces approximately 15,000 watts
- Bamboo flooring
- An emergency power backup system
- High efficiency LED lighting