Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

Green Key Village – 100% Net Zero Residential Community

by Brent Sauser

Green Key Entrance

Located nearby the famous Villages of Central Florida is a new residential development called Green Key Village.  It is a three phase residential subdivision that, from a distance, may appear just like all the other residential communities surrounding the Villages.  However, closer observation of Green Key Village will reveal a significant, quantum leap difference from all the others.  Green Key Village comprises single family residences that are all NET ZERO construction.  Let me repeat that . . . . EVERY MODEL BUILT IN GREEN KEY VILLAGE IS DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED TO ACHIEVE NET ZERO!  Think of it . . . three phases of construction comprising dozens of single family homes that produce more power than they consume.  Amazing, simply amazing!


Green Key Village further proves that to achieve Net Zero the architecture does not have to appear goofy.  Quite the contrary, the Bahamas style of the Florida Keys provides a fitting host for the various components utilized to obtain an energy independent solution.  The 7.02kW solar array fits in nicely, along with the GE heat pump water heater and manifold PEX plumbing system.  Open cell foam insulation fills the 2×4 stud walls, with 5 inches of open cell foam along the underside of the roof, making the attic part of the overall building envelope.  Placing the water heater and HVAC heat pump in the conditioned attic space allows for shorter duct runs, and smaller HVAC system (2 ton instead of 4 ton).  High ceilings of 10ft and 12ft allow the hot air to rise with ceiling fans gently circulating the air in each space.


WaterSource plumbing fixtures and EnergyStar appliances are a part of the overall energy efficient planning for each Green Key Village model.  Low-E and low SHGC windows are provided throughout.


Not only is every home in Green Key Village Net Zero, but the real story is HOW they determined the most cost effective and energy efficient, Net Zero approach for each residence.  Green Key Village utilized the time saving ekotrope software (featured in a previous article on  This software calculates the best possible combination of Net Zero components to achieve the most cost effective solution, while optimizing the greatest potential for energy efficiency.

Interior 2

Interior 1

DSCN2666Green Key Village is definitely worth checking out, whether via website or in person.  I’ve done both.  I applaud all those who took the risk to make Green Key Village a reality.  Hopefully, more will follow.  Net Zero is a here and now reality.  Green Key Village is a vibrant example of how Net Zero can be integrated into design and construction with very little visual fanfare or sacrifice.  We don’t have to give up our expected creature comforts to live a Net Zero lifestyle.  Anyone from Green Key Village will be happy to tell you that!

Exterior 4

DSCN2695For further information regarding Green Key Village CLICK HERE.

For further information regarding ekotrope software CLICK HERE.

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    March 21, 2015 at 9:37 pm

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