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GREEN BUILDER ECO-CONSCIOUS
HOME OF THE MONTH
Island Jewel
Nestled on an island just a short boat ride from Sarasota, Fla., this sustainable home is sited to take advantage of natural breezes and breathtaking views. Among the many green lessons to be learned from this efficient getaway are its simple approach to sustainability and brilliant use of small square footage.


LIVE/WORK OUTSIDE No matter where you are in the house, you can throw open the doors and feel like you are outside. The conveniently located high- efficiency stack unit by Bosch is under the stairs on the east porch and not in conditioned space. Graywater from the washer is used for outdoor watering.


SMART KITCHEN The kitchen features plywood cabinets with no added-urea formaldehyde, Heart Pine flooring with water-based low-VOC sealer, Energy Star-qualified appliances (except for the refrigerator), and a water-saving faucet from the Kohler Memoir series.


EASY LIVING The kitchen opens to the living room and wide porch. It is the center section of the 67’-long house, with bedrooms flanking the living space for privacy. The open floor plan allows for passive ventilation.


NEW LIFE The house includes many recycled and reclaimed products. The Sarasota Collection trestle table is made from reclaimed Cedar planking; the chairs from a shuttered restaurant. The hanging lamp in the foyer was rescued from a house that was being demolished.


Probably the greenest way builder Steve Ellis could have used his island property would have been to continue enjoying it as a festive 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 end, 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 efficiency against ideas of luxury. “What we’ve always 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?”

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