DOE Tour of Zero: Laurel Gardens by Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County
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This highly efficient 1,290-square-foot home by Habitat for Humanity of South Sarasota County, Florida, is built to the requirements of the U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program and has low utility bills of about $72 per month. The roof design adds to the home’s storm and wind resistance.
The natural comfort shading provided by a covered front porch and deep roof overhangs keeps the sun from overheating the interiors during hot summer days.
High-efficiency ductless heat pumps provide space heating and cooling.
Moisture- and termite-resistant construction includes durable, fiber-cement siding and stucco cladding over foam-filled concrete-block walls and a raised slab foundation.
High-efficiency components include a heat pump water heater and ENERGY STAR-labeled dishwasher, refrigerator, and ceiling fans.
High-efficiency windows and lighting reduce electricity costs and keep the home’s interior cooler.
Water-saving EPA WaterSense-certified plumbing fixtures reduce hot water use.
Comprehensive draft protection is provided by sealing all wiring and plumbing penetrations in exterior walls with caulk, spray foam, and rubber gaskets.
The home is solar electric-ready with wiring and conduit installed in the attic for any future installation of roof-mounted solar panels.
More than 5 inches of open-cell spray foam covers the underside of the roof deck for a high-efficiency attic insulation layer providing a protected space for the professionally installed interior comfort delivery system, including ducts that are properly sized, sealed, insulated, and supported.
Borate-treated rafters, solid concrete slab foundations, and concrete block walls that are insulated with rigid foam along the inside rather than the outside of the wall are all part of the termite-resistant construction strategy.
The continuous thermal blanket construction uses a ¾-inch layer of rigid foam board on the interior side of the concrete block walls. This is topped with ¾-inch furring strips, then a layer of corrugated-paper-backed, perforated foil insulation, and finally drywall.
The high-efficiency attic insulation shields the interior comfort system from temperature extremes in the South Sarasota Habitat home.
"Our energy costs are lower than ever, but our quality of life is higher."
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“The most remarkable thing about living in a DOE-certified home is, even in a hot and humid climate, our DOE-certified home stays cool and dry, giving my family a healthy, comfortable environment. The remarkable thing is that our energy costs are lower than ever, but our quality of life is higher.”