A Port St. Lucie home became the first in the state to earn a certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes pilot program after several inspections and performance tests were completed by the Florida Solar Energy Center.
The Port St. Lucie home, at 1972 SW McAllister Lane, is a Grand Emerald model built by Royal Professional Builders of West Palm Beach. The home includes hurricane-resistant wall panels that provide superior energy efficiency, Energy Star appliances and a drought-tolerant and low-maintenance landscape.
In 2005, the Green Building Council selected the Florida Solar Energy Center at the University of Central Florida to administer the LEED for Homes pilot program in Florida and verify the compliance of each certified home in the state. The program is designed to provide national consistency in defining what constitutes a “green” home.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified homes are energy efficient and consume fewer resources than conventional homes use. The added features help to improve the safety and comfort of homes while also reducing the costs to operate them.
“It took a little extra planning, but we successfully integrated the green building principles addressed in the LEED for Homes pilot rating system into this production home with only a slight increase in cost,” said Dan Walesky, director of Research and Development for Royal Professional Builders. “We feel that the added value that results from building green will be appreciated by both our employees and our customers.”
The core of the Grand Emerald is the Royal Wall System of construction, a process in which an engineered pre-cast wall panel is produced in a factory and transported to the job site. The hurricane-resistant wall panels are constructed from steel-reinforced concrete with integrated insulation. They provide superior energy efficiency, reduce waste and reduce contractor trips to the job site during construction.
To further minimize waste generated during construction, Royal Professional Builders transports construction waste to a sorting facility where about 75 percent of the material is pulled out and recycled. The home also features Energy Star appliances, a fluorescent lighting package and a high-efficiency filtration and ventilation system for the entire home. The landscape features drought-tolerant and low-maintenance plants and turf that require no irrigation once they are established.
FSEC worked closely with Royal Professional Builders before and during construction of the Grand Emerald to ensure that LEED standards were met. When the home was completed, FSEC performance-tested the building and all mechanical air flows into, out of and within the home to ensure that design specifications were achieved. The home completed the certification process on March 19.
Eric Martin, a senior research engineer at FSEC, oversees the Florida pilot program. He encouraged other builders to participate in the pilot, which remains open until the final version of LEED for Homes is released in fall 2007.
The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in the country. Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, fuel cells and other energy areas. For more information about the center, visit www.fsec.ucf.edu or call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at (321) 638-1015.