When a prospective home buyer from the U.K. balked at the idea of building green for fear of an industrialized look, Sarasota, Fla.–based custom builder Josh Wynne convinced him that he could combine high-performance and an authentic rendition of the local architectural style.
The result is an efficient and well-appointed 2,229-square-foot home with a 413-square-foot dwelling over a detached garage that blends seamlessly within its infill neighborhood and earned a platinum rating from LEED for Homes.
Wynne also kept an eye on costs, building the project for less than $190 a square foot, including the costs associated with gaining LEED certification. “It’s a team effort,” he says, noting specifically his energy rater and LEED-AP consultant. “You just need to be very specific and document everything.”
The builder reduced expenses by sticking to a tight, seven-month schedule and working closely with his subs and suppliers to sharpen their pencils while maintaining their margins. He also reduced his dump fees to a mere $610 by diverting 85 percent of the project’s construction waste away from landfills, earned faster approvals of his permits due to his commitment to green building, and leveraged a variety of rebates and tax credits to offset premiums for green building practices and products—the latter of which helped pay for a peel-and-stick photovoltaic system and the $3,100 fees for the LEED certification process.
Wynne estimates he spent only about 10 hours on LEED-related paperwork, a small fraction of the time he spent investigating and testing products and systems that would enable the house to qualify under that standard—a knowledge base he can now amortize across future projects. “The extra cost to meet a minimum green standard is zero if you do it right,” he says, noting that he even earned money for recycling scrap metals while gaining points for waste management practices. “This house proves you can build to an extreme level of green without compromising design or spending too much money.”—R.B.
LITMUS TEST: Josh Wynne’s LEED-platinum house in Sarasota, Fla., looks like all the other homes in its infill neighborhood but performs far better than almost any other house in the country.
Photos: top: Courtesy Center for Family Services; bottom: Matt McCourtney