At first glance, HGTV's Smart Home 2013 is not what one might expect from a newly constructed, LEED Gold-seeking home that boasts some fairly cool energy-saving technologies. Designed in the coastal vernacular by Mike Stauffer, the home sits a few blocks away from the ocean, and it looks at ease alongside nearby historic properties in the laid-back beach town of Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Building upon a base of good design that allows for natural daylighting and ventilation, the home is fitted with a number of systems that help to reduce energy usage and overall environmental impact—systems which can be installed in many existing properties. We recently got to take a tour through this energy-efficient and, frankly, gorgeous new residence. Click through our gallery to see everything the home has to offer, and don't forget to enter HGTV's sweepstakes for one person to win not only the house, but other prizes - including $100,000 in cash!
While the Smart Home is aiming for LEED Gold certification, it is arguably not what one might typically expect from a green home, (and HGTV makes this distinction—see more info on this here). The 2,400 square-foot, 3 bedroom, 2 and a half bathroom property features 1,000 square feet of covered porches, a swimming pool and a two-car garage. But with technologies incorporated into the house that aim to “set the standard for creative spaces and ways that consumers can use emerging technology to improve their homes,” the base design and construction are also notably responsible.
HGTV’s Jack Thomasson emphasized to us that he takes “great pride in producing homes that fit perfectly into [and respect] the natural environment,” and that pay tribute to historical homes. Thomasson recruited the architect, Mike Stauffer, as well as all contractors and builders locally. Stauffer, more than familiar with local architectural traditions and warm climate, incorporated the large covered porches and carefully-placed windows to allow for easy cross-ventilation and an abundance of natural light, while providing shade from the sun during peak hours. Before all the technology is in place, Stauffer seeked to use “good design to reduce consumption,” and looked to the traditional architectural elements used along the warm Florida coast, long before we could monitor the carbon footprint of our home with an iPad.
That said, in the Smart Home, you can monitor the carbon footprint of your home with an iPad, and it’s actually quite awesome. A Savant Apple OS-based platform ties together a huge number of the home’s systems, for both control and monitoring. The lighting, appliances and Lutron shades (as well as alarm system) can all be controlled from the iPad app, which provides real-time data on energy usage and consumption—as well as ones actual carbon footprint. By enabling homeowners to see when their peak energy consumption is and where those draws are coming from, not to mention the dollar-sum attached to it, the system allows users to make quick, informed energy-saving decisions.
Additionally, there is a host of other quirky, touch-sensitive components to the house—in-cabinet lights that can be dimmed with a simple tap on the door, a kitchen sink faucet that turns on when one waves ones hand over it, and—slightly comically—a toilet seat that raises and falls as you enter or leave the bathroom. These elements can arguably (well, we might be less sure on the toilet seat) make basic energy-saving habits a more intuitive part of every day life, bolstered by the capacity of the Savant system to see the impacts of ones behavior.
Builder Glenn Layton describes the Smart Home as an “extreme build with standard components.” The contractors and builders used entirely locally-sourced timber for the framing of the home, and a soy-based closed cell foam insulation in the attic of the house. Located within the Jacksonsville Beach Paradise Key development, the Smart Home is part of a Florida Water Star community. The zero-scaping of the property reflects that; there is no lawn to the property, instead there are native and drought-tolerant plants surrounding the home, planted into land that was not razed during construction. For any watering needs, the home includes a modest rainwater collection system.
For the interior, zero-VOC paints were used, as well as partially recycled and recyclable Shaw carpets. Consideration for the environment was even employed when selecting the Florida beach house accessories—the fish are molded, the coral is made from resin, the quartz is recycled and a large outdoor dining table is made entirely from salvaged parts. With dramatic drapes serving as room partitions throughout the living area, the entire space can be opened up to make the most of the natural daylight.
And the home is being given away…
Starting on April 11th through May 31st, HGTV is running a sweepstakes to win not only the house, but a car and $100,000 in cash. If you’d like to enter, visit HGTV.com and HGTVRemodels.com (you can enter once per day on each site).
If you’re in the area and want to tour the home, tickets can be purchased through the Beach Museum, and all proceeds will support their efforts to sustainably maintain historic properties in the Jacksonville Beach area.