FSEC Helps Orlando Home Achieve LEED Certification

An Orlando home rebuilt after it was destroyed in a 2004 hurricane has become the first house in the state to achieve the silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes standard.

The Florida Solar Energy Center completed several inspections and performance tests on John and Pamela Parés’ new home, which features solar water heating, high-efficiency windows and doors and many other environmentally friendly features. The home, built by Classic Construction, is only the second home in the state to earn a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Coalition (USGBC).

After Hurricane Charley destroyed the Parés’ home, they sought out environmentally friendly contractors and features that would promote clean air, clean water and the conservation of resources while also reducing their utility bills. The Parés lived in a rented house across the street while watching the reconstruction of their home.

John sums up their decisions to “go green” this way:  “People make choices every day that, collectively, have dramatic impacts on the environment, and could have severe consequences for quality of life.  I believe that if we make some simple, conservative choices about how we use our environment, we can live comfortably today, and preserve the planet for tomorrow.”

The house, located at 2017 Anderson Place, is constructed using insulating concrete forms (ICF). Together with many other design aspects and energy efficient products, the home qualified for the federal Environmental Protection Agency¿s Energy Star and Energy Efficient Tax Credit. The home includes many other green features, including a location close to public amenities and mass transit, low-maintenance landscaping and an interior that promotes the health of the occupants while still being resource efficient.

FSEC completed the inspections and performance tests on the home as part of its role as an administrator of the LEED for Homes pilot program in Florida. The center’s scientists verify the compliance of LEED-certified homes in the state.

The program is designed to provide national consistency in defining what constitutes a “green” home.  Eric Martin, a senior research engineer at FSEC who oversees the Florida pilot program, encouraged other builders to participate.

LEED-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.

The Florida Solar Energy Center is a research institute of the University of Central Florida. It is the largest and most active state-supported energy research institute in the country. Center divisions and their research activities include Advanced Energy Research: alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel and fuel cells; Buildings Research: energy-efficient buildings; and Solar Energy: solar water and pool heating and solar electric (photovoltaics) and distributed generation systems. For more information, visit www.floridaenergycenter.org or call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at 321-638-1015.