Builder goes green with their eco-friendly homes in Terrace Park, Tampa

The home’s design and location address issues being considered by local and state government. That is how to increase energy efficiency, encourage water conservation and lessen the amount of waste sent to a landfill. By using a structural insulated panel wall system (SIPS) the walls provide three times the R-Value of a conventionally built home. The wall system, developed by Platinum Advanced Technologies, formerly of St. Petersburg, uses 95% recycled material to form the steel used in the walls.

Use of this wall system means there is no waste during construction of the building. The product was named one of the top five products at the 2007 International Building Show in Orlando by HGTV tool and how-to expert Mark Clement. In Florida where wind storms are of great concern to homeowner’s insurance companies, this product has the ability to withstand 155+ mph wind loads. With companies that offer the discounts, homeowner’s can look forward to lower insurance rates, not only because of its stability, but it is also termite proof, waterproof, fire and mold resistant. A plus, it does not emit volatile organic compounds.

There are several water-wise features to the homes, inside and out. There are low flow fixtures in the kitchen and in both bathrooms, and surprisingly, no disposal in the sink. Garbage disposals require a steady stream of running water to operate properly wasting gallons upon gallons every time you send something down the grinder. You may find it interesting that garbage disposals also contribute to the already overburdened City sewage-treatment systems; the City of Raleigh, NC has stiff penalties ($25,000) for those that install them, or do not fix existing ones.

Water conservation Saving water is a hot topic. Features of the home include tankless (on-demand) hot water powered by natural gas, landscaping with native Florida plants require less water, rainwater is collected and stored in rain barrels.

These homes are affordable not just based on the purchase price, but every day you live in them. Features such as Energy Star certified appliances, light fixtures and ceiling fans add to the energy savings, with utility bills estimated to be up to 40% less than a similar sized home. Front porches and windows shaded by the deep roof overhang promote airflow and passive lighting. The location speaks to another important concept of the green movement: reduction of green house gas emissions. Located mere minutes from USF’s Tampa Campus, in a neighborhood that includes MOSI, Greco Baseball Complex, an 18 acre City park and Busch Gardens; homeowners can bike to work, school, and recreational activities living a truly green life.

Rising Force Construction’s Josh Geary holds a State of Florida Builder’s License registered in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties as well as the City of Tampa and is an Energy Star builder. In business for 10 years, Josh became very aware of the need for energy efficient, affordable houses after working on many large luxury homes in the area. Saving money on utility bills is important to everyone, Josh says, the environmental component, that’s the feel-good part.

The City of Tampa has a limited supply of affordable housing that is also environmentally friendly. City Council, led by Councilman John Dingfelder, passed an ordinance last year that would promote green building practices for new construction. That ordinance while still a long way from achieving its goal of prompting mainstream builders to incorporate green building practices into their projects. Although several buildings have been LEED certified in the area, they have considerably higher price tags than non-green projects.

One company, Rising Force Construction, has undertaken the task of creating affordable, energy efficient homes that promote sustainable living in Terrace Park, an established neighborhood just south of the University of South Florida. Residents have the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint on several levels: They can live, shop, work and enjoy recreational activities; and they can live in a home that reduces utility consumption by 30 to 40 percent over an existing home of the same size. For those that are tired of seeing their budgets eaten up by ever rising gas prices, they can walk, bike or take public transportation.

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