Green Homes in Florida

Photo by PorterSIPs on flickr.com
Photo by PorterSIPs on flickr.com

What Are GREEN HOMES?

Green homes are energy-efficient environment-friendly homes. They give you shelter and the mainstream conveniences of modern living, but at a reduced energy cost. They're also earth-friendly, meaning you run your household with minimal impact to the earth and the environment.

Certain types of green homes cost more than similar properties, but in the long run, they cost less. Additional costs are offset by your savings in energy bills. You also gain pleasure from knowing you're helping the environment.

Your house can be a green home through some or all of the following:

  • use of natural and non-industrial building materials
  • use of an energy-efficient home design
  • use of energy-efficient household appliances
  • use of sustainable building practices or concepts

Photo by J. Stephen Conn, flickr.com
Photo by J. Stephen Conn, flickr.com

Green Building Products, Materials and Techniques

Some Green Building Materials and Products

  • cool roof materials and radiant barriers
  • roofs that are white metal, flat tile, white barrel tile and reflective
  • radiant barrier roof sheatings such as Thermostat, TechShield, ThermaStrand, SolarBord or RadiantGuard
  • white roof (reduces cooling load by at least 20% in new homes)
  • white and sandstone colors for roofs have 66 and 50 percent of solar reflectance, respectively
  • efficient ceiling and duct systems (solar heat that goes through the ceiling and the ducts can account for 20 to 30% of air conditioning consumption)
  • solar roof panels
  • high efficiency lighting
  • tankless water heaters
  • water-saving faucets
  • low-flow toilets
  • Energy Star water heaters and other household appliances
  • subfloor heating systems that keep the home warmer during the winter
  • drip watering system for lawn maintenance, gardening and landscaping
  • native plants that can withstand minimal watering
  • walls with high R value insulation (R refers to resistance to heat flow. Higher R value means better insulation)
  • low-E windows
  • programmable thermostats
  • wood sourced from sustainable forests
  • recycled materials, such as recycled cellulose insulation
  • interior paints with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) which are toxic
  • GreenGuard carpets for better indoor air quality
  • Gossamer Wind Series ceiling fans, created by Danny Parker at the Florida Solar Energy Center

Some Green Building Techniques

  • tight ductwork (leakage accounts for 10 to 20 percent of heating and cooling bills)
  • efficient sealing of interior ducts
  • locating ductwork in the conditioned space
  • right-sizing of cooling and heating systems
  • preserving trees for shade
  • moving air-handle into conditioned space
  • efficient insulation to prevent heat loss, such as use of spray foam insulation
  • drought-resistant low-maintenance landscaping

Benefits Gained from Having Green Homes

  • Lower household energy bills
  • Higher resale value
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Increased house durability
  • Easier access to mortgage loans
  • Lower homeowner's insurance premiums, as a number of insurers give discounts for energy-efficient homes

Photo by merfam, flickr.com
Photo by merfam, flickr.com

Certifiers of Green Homes in Florida

Here are organizations that issue certifications for green homes in Florida:

Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) Florida Green Home

FGBC offers the FGBC Florida Green Home designation to a new or existing home. As of July 2011, it has already issued certifications for 750 green homes, bringing the total of certified Florida Green Homes to 3,651 homes since the start of FGBC in 2002.

Florida Power and Light Co. (FPL) BuildSmart for New Homes

FPL is Florida's largest electric utility and is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. Homes designated BuildSmart provide up to 30 percent in energy savings.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes

ENERGY STAR homes are houses that provide homeowners with enhanced comfort and home quality through reduced indoor air pollution and reduced energy costs. They have these features:

- high performance windows

- efficient cooling and heating systems

- efficient household appliances

- efficient insulation

- tight construction and ducts

- efficient use of water

- environment-friendly building materials

- indoor air quality

EPA ENERGY STAR Indoor airPLUS

EPA issues the designation EPA Indoor airPLUS Qualified Homes to residential properties that already have the ENERGY STAR home designation and that have required indoor pollution prevention systems.

The anti-pollution systems inspected are:

- moisture control

- radon control

- pest barriers

- HVAC systems

- combustion pollutant control

- low emission materials

Note: Only ENERGY STAR homes are eligible for the airPLUS designation.

EPA WaterSense

WaterSense homes are residential units with reduced water use through efficient plumbing systems, hot water delivery systems, irrigation systems, washers, dishwashers and related appliances, and landscape design.

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes

LEED for Homes are high-performance green homes built with green design and construction practices. The three LEED for Homes certification organizations in Florida are:

- E3 Building Sciences

- Florida Solar Energy Center

- Guaranteed Watt Saver

National Association of Home Builder (NAHB) National Green Home Certification

This program certifies that homes with the National Green Home label meet the design and building requirements of either the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines or the International Code Council (ICC) 700-2008 National Green Building Standard.

Florida Yards & Neighborhoods

This program recognizes homes that practice environment-friendly landscaping and gardening techniques, as described by Florida-Friendly Yards, including:

- reduce the use of potable water for irrigation

- prevent the runoff of fertilizers and pesticides

- does not have prohibited plants, as listed by the University of Florida

Florida Water

This rating is given to homes or residential projects in Florida that have water conservation systems. It lists water efficiency guidelines for features including household appliances, irrigation sytems, landscapes, garden plants, and plumbing fixtures.

Green Home Builders in Tampa, Florida

Green builders in Tampa and in several other cities in Florida:

Lennar Homes. This builder, based in Miami and Fountainbleu and founded in the 1950s, develops green home brands, one of which is called PowerSmart Home by Lennar.

Pulte Homes. This company was launched in the 1950s by Bill Pulte in Michigan, and the first bungalow he built during this period stands as a concrete evidence of the quality of houses being developed by Pulte. PulteGroup has built more than a half-million homes in 67 markets in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

KB Homes. This builder has been honored by Fortune as among the World’s Most Admired Companies and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with its Highest Honor Award for Energy Star Homes.

Centex Homes. This is a division of PulteGroup that builds houses for first time homebuyers, and it's known for its smart home designs. It's a sister company of Pulte Homes.

Florida Green Homes LLC

This builder says that its homes give the following benefits:

  • savings of up to 70 percent savings in monthly energy bills
  • virtually dust-free and allergen-free environment
  • termite and mold resistant
  • lower homeowner insurance premiums
  • low maintenance native landscaping

MI Homes

MI Homes offers Energy Star-certified homes that lets you save as much as 30% on your energy bills. There are MI homes in Tampa and in Orlando, such as Oak Bluff in Pinellas Park, Easton Park and Misty Glen in Hillsborough County, and Heritage Reserve in the center of Pinellas County.

William Ryan Homes

William Ryan Homes has Energy Star homes in Harbour Isles in Apollo Beach, Grand Hampton in New Tampa, Bridgewaer Masters in Lakeland, and Ashton Oaks in Wesley Chapel. One of William Ryan Homes' taglines is Building Greener Futures.

D.R. Horton

DR Horton, the Number 1 Builder for the 9th straight year on Builder magazine's 2010 Top 100 Builders list and a USAA Preferred Builder, has energy-efficient homes in Florida's Central, North, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, East and Tampa-Sarasota areas. DR Horton's Tampa area projects include SunCoast Lakes and Terra Bella in Land O Lakes and Kinglet Ridge at Fishhawk Ranch in Lithia.

View Green Homes with Tampa4U Professionals

Tampa4U Realty is a team of professionals who can show you green homes and other types of Tampa real estate properties in Tampa and in other residential communities in the Tampa Bay counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco.

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Comments 2 comments

Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 5 years ago from Orange County, California

It is exciting to see so many home builders building green homes. Since a well-built home can last 50 years or more, the impact these houses will have on our future will last for generations!


Nera Woods profile image

Nera Woods 5 years ago Author

Thanks a lot, Deborah-Diane, for your kind comments. So encouraging. Yes, green homes, oftentimes with higher prices, are still popular despite the real estate market crisis.

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