The Florida House Reopens Its Doors

This year, the Florida House--the first green demonstration house in the country--will reopen its doors to the public.

By Susan Burns September 24, 2014 Published in the October 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Hi floridahouse r154ug

Since 1994, the Florida House, the first green demonstration house in the country, has welcomed thousands of visitors from around the world who were interested in using less fossil fuel and more healthy products in their homes and yards. Relocated in 2007 to make way for an expanded Sarasota County Technical Institute, the Florida House sat quietly on an unused grassy corner of the campus. But this year, after donations from local and national companies, foundations and individuals, the Florida House is once again opening its doors, ready to show off some of the latest energy-efficient, practical and affordable ideas and products for new and old Florida homes.

Solar systems provide enough photovoltaic solar electricity to run a 2,500-square-foot house and charge an electric car.

Porches, overhangs, high ceilings and properly placed windows and doors prevent heat buildup.

The landscape features native plants, organic fruits, vegetables, ground covers and more.

A shaded car-charging station keeps electric cars cool, which improves charging efficiency.

The kitchen cabinetry is of bamboo hardwood, which is ready to harvest in less than four years.

The latest generation of cool, efficient and long-lasting LEDs (light-emitting diodes) is inside and outside.

Rock wool insulation provides sound and thermal benefits in the walls, and spray foam insulation in the attic keeps outside air out, strengthens the building and prevents 140-degree temperatures above the ceiling.

High-impact and energy-efficient windows and doors also muffle road noise.

Cork and coconut palm flooring provide durability and comfort from sustainable sources.

With sea levels and insurance rates rising, the house, now elev-ated five feet above the ground, shows that even a slab home can be moved and raised to avoid flooding.

Special paving stones on the walkways allow water to permeate, keeping

water on-site instead of flowing into Sarasota Bay.

$8.75: August electric bill

Three new AC systems (a mini-split for the enclosed porch, a high-performance retrofit for the main system and an ultra-high-efficiency system for large gatherings and commercial application) show cooling options.

Rendering by Phil Hamilton

Click here to see past Freeze Frames. >>

This article appears in the October 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Click here to subscribe. >>