When considering the benefits of building green, Josh Wynne, owner of Josh Wynne Construction in Sarasota, Fla. asks, “What would be the motivation for not incorporating green features into a home?” Anyone building higher-end homes that does not seek to reduce waste, promote energy and water efficiency, and manage the site in a way that reduces long-term negative impacts is doing their client a disservice, according to Wynne.
Rancho da Flórida, a one-of-a-kind custom home by Wynne, was built with this mindset, earning it a Platinum 2019 BALA Award for Green One-of-a-Kind Custom or Spec Home. Rancho da Flórida is extremely energy-efficient with a HERS index of minus 33, meaning it produces more energy than it uses, and is NGBS Green Certified Emerald, the highest rating a home can achieve.`
Rancho da Flórida is efficient by design. Long, upswept eaves on the western face of the home shade the abundant windows from the harsh late afternoon Florida sun while capturing the area’s sea breezes to passively cool the home. A single-room depth floor plan helps maximize natural ventilation and lighting.
The butterfly roof design makes water capture simple. Every construction material was selected based on the ability to be recycled, proximity of regional origin, material makeup, life cycle and durability. The home contains: 100% LED lights, ultra-high efficiency HVAC systems and ENERGY STAR appliances and fixtures. Insulation in the home consisted of a non-off gassing foam, with an R-value that exceeds code minimums by almost 70%. The walls are sealed as well, and all of the HVAC is located within the insulated envelope, adding further efficiency. The “dog-trot” design, a Florida vernacular element, helps to create smaller interior volumes that are easier to seal off, making the home remarkably air tight. A 13KW solar array is the cherry on top for energy efficiency.
Throughout the site development process, Josh Wynne Construction kept construction waste to a minimum and recycled approximately 90% of the waste generated while carrying out the demolition of an existing structure. In addition, there was careful consideration given to preserving existing trees and relocating them to desired new locations, the approach and location of a drive lane and the inclusion of a natural water feature. A tree spade was used to excavate, allow for root hardening, and eventually transplant trees to their final destination. Wynne saw an opportunity to create a new allée entrance to the property with minimal efforts using existing tree rows and canopies, holdovers from an old tree farm on the property. They used the existing farm ponds and the natural vegetation on some of the banks as the basis for the natural lake and wetlands.
Wynne notes that there is never a shortage of challenges to draw from in custom homes; every home they build has never been done before and will never be done again. For Rancho da Flórida, which is set on a 40-acre working ranch, the site posed particular challenges, including a scattering of oak trees that the team wanted to preserve and major drainage challenges to manage. Above all, for Wynne, green development has to be honest and is better accomplished with holistic planning and thoughtful effort, rather than just expensive add-on features. Good green development comes down to maximizing all types of efficiencies in a beautiful and sustainable home, like Rancho da Flórida.
For more information about NAHB’s sustainable and green building programs, contact Anna Stern. And to stay current on the high-performance residential building sector, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building team on Twitter.