BLOCK STEADY: Most homes in Florida feature a first floor of masonry block, but few carry the material to the top plate of a second floor, much less build a form-and-poured elevated platform (in this case, for the upstairs loggia). The result is a rock-solid structure, built to last as well as mitigate mold and other climate-related hazards that can wither a wood-framed structure.
Luxury living is fleeting if the house can't withstand a stiff wind. That's not the case here. Simply put, the house is a bunker masked as a beautiful home, built to be the neighborhood's safe haven in the next storm. It's also equipped beyond local practices and code mandates to withstand fire and flame spread, mitigate mold growth and insects, and deliver a quiet living environment—all by-products of a house designed and constructed to save energy, reduce moisture and air infiltration, and exhaust and refresh indoor air at an optimum level.
In fact, the home's energy-use and resource efficiency story is as impressive as its view of Lake Burden. The home's four, 15.5-SEERheat pumps are zoned for six areas of control, enabling ideal (and seasonal or occasional-use) temperature settings. Better still, the units themselves and their sealed and insulated duct runs (including all return registers) are contained in conditioned and semi-conditioned spaces, the latter in un-vented attic areas in which expanded foam insulation applied under the roof deck effectively regulates the temperature akin to the fully conditioned areas. Bottom line: The equipment doesn't have to work as hard to keep itself cool, thus extending its design life and lowering maintenance costs.
FIRE PROTECTION: Not only is this house built to withstand a hurricane, but it is equipped to fend off flames as well. Though not code-required, a complete fire sprinkler system from Tyco Fire & Building Products (pictured, circle no. 965) is delivered to a multitude of concealed, temperature-sensitive heads by the company's Blazemaster CPVC pipes and fittings. In addition, the builder applied a flame-retardant coating from No-Burn (circle no. 966) to the interior framing and drywall surfaces prior to tape and texture to limit flame spread. Finally, concrete roof tiles from MonierLifetile simulate wood shakes in appearance only, delivering a class-A fire rating for the roof.
Add high-efficiency (as well as impact-resistant) windows and doors, HEPA filtration, energy recovery ventilators, electronic air cleaners, insulated masonry walls, passive cooling schemes, and on-demand hot water heaters to the mix, and you achieve a home that will use 61 percent less energy for heating and cooling and 50 percent less energy for water heating than a comparably sized house. In the end, the house qualified under the Florida Green Building Coalition Home Design Standard, the first New American Home to achieve “green” certification.
- BASE COAT STUCCO. Cemex.
- FINISH COAT STUCCO. Dryvit Systems.
- EXTERIOR TRIM. Elegant Foam International.
- REDI-MIX CONCRETE & BLOCK. Portland Cement Association; Cemex; Florida Concrete; Products Association; Florida Rock; Rinker Materials; Tarmac.
- POWER TOOLS. Hilti.
- DECKING. Louisiana-Pacific Corp. provided its Tech Shield and Top Notch decking materials for the second-level subfloor.
- INSULATION & HOUSEWRAP. A layer of rigid foam insulation panels from Pactiv Building Products, applied to the exterior of the masonry walls, provides a high level of thermal protection for the shell to help reduce heating and cooling loads.
- TERMITE CONTROL. HomeTeam Pest Defense.
- PROPANE SYSTEM. Propane Education & Research Council.
- FRAMING CONNECTORS. Simpson Strong-Tie Co.
- WORK CLOTHES. Riggs Workwear by Wrangler.