Probably the greenest way builder Steve Ellis could have used his island property would have been to continue enjoying it as a sestive site for bonfires and camping. But the day finally came to build his dream retreat on the two-acre site. He was driven to build the most efficient green home possible, with mind-blowing views of the Gulf and room for large get-togethers. He tracked how the sun would hit the house, how breezes could be harnessed to reduce HVAC loads, and even how to most efficiently build on a site where everything had to travel in by barge. In the ends, he built this Florida Green Building Coalition home his way, without using high-tech systems to give the building a green gloss. Instead, he worked from the ground up to create a true showcase for eco-friendly living. For example, Ellis, who is president of MyGreenBuildings, wanted the house to top out at 2,000 square feet. "That doesn't mean you have to sacrifice luxury and comfort," he explains. "This house does not read campy. It's having everything you want without sacrificing the environment to get it." With every decision, Ellis balanced resource use and energy efficient against ideas of luxury. "What we've alreways dreamed about is an efficient home that brings family close and wraps them up and keeps them close. Isn't that, above all, what you want from a home?"
The hallway above looks like interior space, but it's actually outside, tucked under the eaves. It creates a deep porch on the level below. Every inch of upstairs space is used for either storage or kids' bunk beds, creating los of usable living space for visiting guests (and their four-legged friends).
Ellis used the short eaves space upstairs to store a single Geyser heat pump water heater. He needed to provide enough capacity for four bathrooms and an outdoor shower. So the two hot water tanks act a sstorage and are plumbed in line with the Geyser heat pump providing heat for the system. The heat pump runs on standard 110 volt power. As the systems use ambient hot air to heat water, they blow out colder air, cooling the "outdoor" hallway. Also in the space is the 4.5 ton 16 SEER Trane high-efficienty heat pump that conditions living area.
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