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Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

Green Key Village – Net Zero Community – Update

by Brent Sauser

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It’s been fifteen months since the launch of Green Key Village – a Net Zero residential community of single family homes, located near the Villages in Central Florida.  I thought it would be a good idea to return to the development to assess its progress.  Admittedly, it was a glorious winter day in Florida that cried out, “ROAD TRIP”, so Geri and I decided to make the hour long journey to the development.

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When we arrived I was pleased to see more Net Zero homes constructed.  We spent the better part of the the afternoon talking with Matthew (Green Key Village sales rep) regarding Net Zero design, original expectations versus current status, and potential ways to increase public awareness to the benefits of building Net Zero.

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As of today only four phase one lots have been sold, which is far below original expectations.  Inside the sales office I noticed that Green Key Village had taken the time to conduct energy audits for each model constructed.  The results of each audit was indicated on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) created by the DOE.  A rating of 100 is considered industry standard based on current building codes.  Anything lower than a 100 rating is considered BETTER than industry standard (good thing), and any score higher than a 100 rating is considered LESS ENERGY EFFICIENT than industry standards (bad thing).  In each audit (except two) the Green Key Village homes rated BELOW ZERO . . . . . . over 100 points BETTER than industry standard.  Of the two homes that rated above zero, one rated at “2” and the other “7”.  Matthew said that an investigation is underway to make the necessary modifications to assure these two models score below zero in the future. Green Key Village is dedicated to providing an Net Zero product.

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It may be a combination of factors that have contributed to only four homes sold in the last 15 months.  Remote location, proximity to the Villages (retirement community), price (they are a little pricey), style (Key West architecture), or the perceived “trendiness” of building Net Zero.  Perhaps the public isn’t aware of how beneficial it is to live in a Net Zero home.  I suggested that they might consider conducting Net Zero seminars to the residents of the Villages and other nearby locations.  The public needs to be made aware that Green Key Village represents where the future is going.   It is the new “mainstream”.  The wasteful construction practices of the 20th Century are still occurring around us only because the public doesn’t know any better . . . and the current codes still allow it, to some degree.  Green Key Village has boldly taken a giant leap forward setting the bar high for the rest of us to follow.  Who wouldn’t get excited about saving $150 per/month (on average) for the life of their home?  Over 20 years that amounts to $36,000 right back in the owners pocket!   That’s what Green Key Village has to offer.  If you are in the area, why not take a couple hours and check out Green Key Village for yourselves.  It makes for a great Saturday afternoon drive! 

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 CLICK HERE to read my original article on Green Key Village.

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