A Green Dream

By Carol Tisch Photography by Matt McCourtney March 1, 2009

On the surface, this could be a historic home. Its Flo rida vernacular metal roof is classic, conserving energy as it refracts sunlight. Cisterns behind the house collect rainwater to irrigate the yard. Vegetables grow on raised beds out back, and grapevines shade a hand-hewn arbor. From the cypress-trimmed front porch to the picket fence, the Cracker-inspired home is as charming as Laurel Park’s best preserved historic cottages. But Philip Carey’s Codding Cottage is totally new to Laurel Street . And it’s making history for a very different reason.

The 2,914-square-foot residence, with its separate 413-foot carriage house-home office, is the first LEED Platinum home in Sarasota County . But Platinum certification—the highest score awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design) program—was not Carey’s intention when he decided to build downtown.

Carey, a commercial pilot and president of Sarasota-based Engage Aviation, an international aircraft brokerage firm, envisioned a home that would leave a minimal footprint and fit right in with the neighborhood’s architecture. At the same time, it would be thoroughly high-tech, comfortable and—above all—energy efficient. “I have a particular interest in energy management, and the aspects of green building involving energy conversation appealed to me. The rest just happened,” says Carey.  

Carey’s views happen to line up perfectly with those of the late David Codding, who once owned the historic home on Laurel Street on land that included the lot where Carey’s home now stands. “Phil’s home is named Codding Cottage in honor of Codding, a staunch environmentalist who also promoted energy conservation,” explains designer and builder Josh Wynne, of Josh Wynne Construction.

Wynne’s specialty in sustainable home construction made him the perfect choice to convert Carey’s energy conservation goals into reality. “Phil and I did not start with the goal of building the greenest house possible,” Wynne says. “Our goal was to create a truly customized home that used intelligent design and intelligent decision making to reflect his lifestyle, wants and needs.”

Wynne specified all of the structural components and coordinated all of the green elements. He assembled a dream team that included the home’s designer, Dale Parks of Seibert Architects, and Dennis Stroer of Calcs-Plus, who provided the energy and HVAC load calculations essential to meet Carey’s energy goals. Drew Smith of Two Trails guided the team to reach every requirement for LEED Platinum certification (including energy use, indoor air quality, water use, site considerations and disaster mitigation).  

Indeed, some of the most advanced green building innovations in America are hidden behind the bones of the classic Old Florida residence. The carriage house rooftop acts as the home’s power plant, with a 2.8-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array system from Eco Technologies of Sarasota that converts sunlight directly into clean, carbon-free electricity. Water conservation is a whole-house affair that includes a sophisticated rain water cistern system by Rain Drops to irrigate the yard. Inside, the home has dual-flush toilets by Toto and low-flow faucets from Moen.

Carey says the 22 SEER Bryant Evolution HVAC units supplied by Sean McCutcheon Air Conditioning are extremely efficient. And he should know; he monitors the home’s temperatures and solar performance from all over the world, via an HAI Omni home control system installed by Mark van den Broek of SmartHouse Integration of Sarasota. “My home’s safety is important to me because I travel so often,” explains Carey. He can control security, lighting, HVAC, closed-circuit TV and more through his cell phone, land line or the Internet.  

While many of the home’s state-of-the-art technologies are costly, options like the attic’s BioBased spray-foam insulation, made from soy bean oil, are becoming mainstream and affordable. The maker estimates the insulation reduces energy consumption and power bills by 50 percent, while sealing the house from mold and allergens. Other sustainable products, including fiber-cement lap siding, mold-resistant paperless drywall and wainscoting made from scrap wood, are so deftly integrated into the overall architecture that you never notice them.

But the interiors by Kurt Lucas of JKL Design Group command attention. Fashion-forward countertops, made from recyclable concrete and custom colored to the designer’s specifications, look fresher than granite, as does the kitchen’s elegant zinc-topped island. The furniture is an eclectic mix of antiques and comfortable new upholstered pieces that create a natural, urban look. Reclaimed doors from Egypt add character to the entrance of the study, and ancient Indonesian teak shutters have been reworked as a pantry door; both came from Sarasota ’s Architectural Salvage.

Carey says he’s particularly impressed with Lucas’s choice of colors and the design of the great room’s fireplace wall with ceiling beams salvaged from the old El Vernona Hotel (later known as the John Ringling Towers ) and purchased at Architectural Salvage. He gave Lucas free rein with the interior design scheme, as he did with the team that achieved one of the best ratings ever received from the Flo rida Green Building Coalition, in addition to LEED Platinum; FPL BuildSmart, Energy Star and Flo rida Yards & Neighborhoods certifications.

“The formula was simple: Hire the best and let them have their heads as long as they remain within budget,” says Carey. “A lot of people put a lot of love and integrity into this house, and they exceeded my expectation in every respect.”



Why you should own a green-certified home. 

Health: You’ll breathe easier with HEPA-style filtration on HVAC equipment, no volatile organic compounds in paints, sealants and adhesives. Green building products are also formaldehyde-free.

Comfort: Mechanical systems used for heating, cooling and air filtration must be designed and critiqued by professionals to ensure the optimum comfort and indoor air environment.

Durability: Green-certified homes must be built beyond code standard in structural design and product performance. The goal is a “fortified home” that can withstand hurricanes.

Energy efficiency: Energy rating specialists determine the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index of the home for certification, encouraging building products and appliances that lower consumption.

Environmental responsibility: Fewer resources are used and less waste created because recycled products are encouraged and waste management plans are required for keeping steel, concrete and other materials out of the landfill.

Water efficiency: To be certified green, a home will use less water than standard code-built homes, with plumbing products and appliances, water collection and landscape irrigation systems that reduce consumption.


Builder and contractor: Josh Wynne of Josh Wynne Construction,

Certification: Drew Smith of Two Trails, Inc.,

Architect: Dale Parks of Seibert Architects,

Interior design: Kurt Lucas of JKL Designs,

Energy & HVAC load calculations: Dennis Stroer of Calcs Plus,

Landscape design: Michael Gilkey of Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. (941) 924-0132

Smart House features: Mark van den Broek of SmartHouse Integration,

Concrete countertops: Jake Brady of Concrete Countertops, Etc., (941) 232-1411.

HVAC units: Sean McCutcheon Air Conditioning & Heating,


Interior Resources

Architectural salvage: Sarasota Architectural Salvage (coffee table made from shutters from old John Ringling Towers ; stenciled beams from El Vernona Hotel; reclaimed Egyptian doors and Tibetan shutters)

Lighting: Sonneman, Fine Art, Hudson Valley , Troy and Murray Feiss

Ceiling fans: Fanimation and Casa Blanca

Furniture: Lazar, Stanley, Hooker and Marquis

Paint: No-VOC paints by Benjamin Moore Aura and Sherwin-Williams

Ceramic tiles: Stone Peak Ceramics

Concrete countertops: Concrete Countertops, Etc. (941) 232-1411

Energy Star appliances

Smart House features from SmartHouse Integration,

  • ELAN system for whole house music and video distribution
  • HAI OMNI IIe controller 

Plumbing Products

  • Dual flush toilets: Toto
  • Low-flow faucets: Moen


Building Products

BioBased®Insulation & FlexLite Solar PV system: EcoTechnologies, Inc., 2101 47th St. , Sarasota , (941) 364-5900[email protected]

Rain water cistern system:  Rain Drops

HVAC units: Sean McCutcheon Air Conditioning & Heating

Termite protection: Boricare, a product that uses boric acid and food grade glycols

Fiber-cement siding: James Hardie Building Products

Framing: Timber Strand OSB plywood

Light bulbs: LED (light-emitting diodes) and CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs.

Landscape products:  Supplied by Michael Gilkey of Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. (941) 924-0132

Reclaimed Chicago brick pavers, shredded coconut husk mulch, 

Florida native plants

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