Our Vacation Rentals Boast Green Lodging

Florida Green Building Coalition awards PAR the ultimate Recognition

Recently completed buildings in the Anna Maria Guest House group on Pine Ave have achieved  “Platinum Status” from the Florida Green Building Coalition. This award is the highest certification available.

Our green lodging is reflective of  the PAR philosophy of “responsive development”.  We have never been interested in the ‘points for marketing’ game.  We do not believe in doing things just to score points on some arbitrary scale. However, we are committed to developing the best long term solutions in terms of energy management, storm strength and water management so that our guests and our community benefit from our efforts. This begins with our Insulated Concrete Form wall systems, is furthered by our commitment to native landscapes and is completed with sand where pavers, concrete or asphalt ordinarily go. Our goal is to minimize our footprints, both physically and environmentally. It’s not so much ‘green’ as it is common sense stewardship.

The nexus of this project was a desire to save our small business district and do it in a way that reflects the unique quality and character of Anna Maria. That’s why we built two story structures instead of three and developed them using historic designs and native landscape and materials. We are extremely pleased with the quality of the small businesses and shops we have attracted as well as the compliments and expressions of support we have had from so many in our community as well as our Anna Maria Guest House visitors. The FGBC’s certification of our efforts is really icing on the cake. We are very proud to have completed the greenest buildings ever built in our city.

According to Consultant Drew Smith, whose accomplishments include the highest scoring FGBC home in Florida  as well as the highest scoring LEED home in the country, “Being Eco-savvy is one goal, but being eco-conscious is a thing all to itself. In obtaining Platinum status they understood what it took to build an environmentally friendly building. In this , they took the lessons learned in their first two buildings to an entirely new level. They have become what I like to call eco-conscious builders. They are building sustainable structures for the next generation.

It is so refreshing to work with a builder who is able to achieve enough points for FGBC certification based on their environmental stewardship and intuition rather than a monetary goal. In my opinion, this project is an exemplary icon in the way they have integrated green building technology into a product that melds into the existing environment.

I feel this project and the rest of the projects that PAR have planned for Anna Maria will be a showcase of sound green building practices and a great asset to the community. They have set a standard which others on Pine Avenue are now following and feel challenged to exceed, which is good for everyone. Anna Maria can point to this  as reflecting the soul of the island spirit, which has always focused on what nature has provided.”

HOW WE DO IT

First, we have advanced the quality and sustainability of the overall project by choosing to build with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) provided by Greenblock of Stuart, Florida.

ICF construction is the first step in constructing environmentally responsible, energy efficient buildings, built to withstand the tests of time and nature. These buildings conserve energy while providing peace of mind with their extreme wind load capability. It is costing us a bit more, but is ultimately the right thing to do.

An insulated concrete form (ICF) wall begins with the forms themselves, which consist of a web system tying together 2.5” Styrofoam panels, forming blocks, which are set, like lego’s, onto the foundation. Inside these forms is a 2’x2’ reinforced steel grid which covers the entire wall system. This web and grid system is then poured solid with 6” of solid concrete. The result: a fortress-like structure able to withstand the most extreme storm conditions. An added benefit is a very quiet environment. (Look out the window, you see the cars going by but you don’t hear them).

It’s also hard to imagine a wall system that is more energy efficient, since the normal escape routes for cool or warm air are sealed with a nominal 11.25” “thermos bottle” type enclosure.

Now, a state of the art system like this forms the basis for everything that follows it.

To begin with, regular glass, even regular hurricane glass, won’t do. In order to stay consistent we have chosen full solar heat gain, 3/16”, vinyl, hurricane windows. These windows provide the maximum in impact resistance, energy efficiency and light retention.

Next, a regular hot water heater, using energy whether or not hot water is needed, is replaced by tankless, “on demand” systems that only use energy when the hot water tap is on. Better still, these systems don’t run out of hot water!

Of course, in a state of the art building like this, regular bat ceiling insulation must be upgraded to a spray foam process, such as “Icynene”, or other such system. This results in a sealed attic space with temperature variations of 3-5 degrees from the habitable space. A great bonus is that, being sealed, no venting is required thereby eliminating wind or rain penetration in the event of a severe storm event.

Beginning to get the picture ? These are the “foundation blocks” for a total building system that is kind to your energy bills, quiet and pollutant free to live and work in, with rock solid peace of mind regarding severe storms and hurricanes.

This philosophy continues into the land itself, where native plants eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides since they thrive where they were intended to be planted.  Native pathways replace hot concrete sidewalks and engineered sand and shell combine to replace paved parking lots and pool decks. This, in turn, contains and cleanses road and rain runoff before it carries pollutants to the precious waters surrounding our Island.

All things being equal, this is better.