The Green Key Village venture in Lady Lake, Fla., will offer eco-friendly homes available in ten floor plans. Each home and design will be fully sustainable as defined and certified by the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) and the Home Energy Rating System (HERS).
Green Key Village says its biggest challenge was to find a means to analyze every individual aspect of its 145 home community to ensure that each development could be customized, and result in a net-zero energy status at a cost-effective price. With homebuyers able to select custom options, there are potentially thousands of variables to consider for each home in terms of making it net-zero-energy.
Ekotrope’s software suite, which was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, allows builders to analyze energy-efficient and cost-effective configurations of different building envelopes and heating and cooling systems. By analyzing entire systems and comparing thousands of different configurations, the developers of Green Key Village can find the sweet spots that save maximum energy at the lowest cost.
The concept of mixing and matching different features to find the most energy efficiency is also be explored at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which has constructed the Facility for Low Energy Experiments in Buildings (FLEXLAB), consisting of four outdoor test modules. FLEXLAB allows experimenters to replace any building system such as exterior building envelope, windows and shading systems, lights, HVAC, energy control systems, roofs and skylights, or interior components such as furniture, partitions, and raised floors.