- WHAT IS LIFESTYLE SUNSMART℠?
In its most simplistic sense, LifeStyle SunSmart℠ is a new method of building that reinforces our commitment to do what’s right. It represents our promise to build smarter, cleaner, energy-efficient homes.
Today, each and every home we build adheres to LifeStyle SunSmart℠ standards. These standards allow our homes to be at least 70% more energy efficient than typical resale homes, and at least 40% more energy efficient than typical new homes. In other words, by building with us, you can save at least 40% percent on your annual electricity costs – guaranteed!
Not only does building LifeStyle SunSmart℠ save you money, it also provides a higher-quality living environment for you and your family, as well as conserves natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It is truly remarkable how everybody wins with each LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home we build.
LifeStyle SunSmart℠ helps to:
- Conserve your money. 40% less energy used means 40% savings on energy bills.
- Improve your life. Higher indoor air quality comes free of charge with each LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home.
- Save our planet. Each LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home cuts down on the need to burn more of the fossil fuels that cause the release of the noxious greenhouse gasses.
- PREPPED & PRIMED FOR SOLAR POWER
The clean-energy revolution is upon us, and today, especially in Florida, more and more homes are powered by the sun. While we’re happy to build you a solar-powered home today, (also known as a LifeStyle SunSmartPV℠ home), we understand that you may not be ready to make the investment in a complete solar system just yet. Rest assured, though, that because LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes are built to such tight energy-efficiency standards, each one can easily evolve into a SELF-SUSTAINING, NET-ZERO-ENERGY HOME with ease. In other words, your SunSmart℠ home will be built as a “net-zero-energy ready” home. So, just as soon as you’re ready to make the solar leap, your home will be too!
- FAMILY HEALTH & COMFORT
Building LifeStyle SunSmart℠ is not only good for your wallet, it’s also good for your family’s health. Each home includes a sophisticated heating and cooling system that offers superior indoor air quality. The system can be set to draw in a measured portion of filtered outdoor air, ensuring that a constant, controlled influx of fresh, contaminant-free outdoor air is mixed with the air already inside your home. The air you breathe in a LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home is also regulated for proper moisture content to provide your family’s best safeguard against dangerous mold growth.
All of these benefits come as a result of our state-of-the-art air conditioning and heating equipment installed in each LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home. Yes, we want to help you save money on your energy bills, but we care even more about your family’s health and well-being.
- ENVIRONMENTAL SUPPORT
Beyond health benefits, LifeStyle SunSmart℠ is also good for our planet. Because each LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home consumes at least 40% percent less electrical power than standard new homes, your home directly benefits the environment by cutting down on the need to burn fossil fuels, thus providing our planet relief from noxious greenhouse gas emissions.
Not to mention, burning less fossil fuels makes the air we breathe cleaner and cuts down on the formation of toxic acid rain.
- SUPERIOR CONSTRUCTION
In order to pass the stringent energy-efficiency inspections that each LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home undergoes, each home must adhere to tighter tolerances, closer fits and better-sealed wall penetrations. Simply put, the pursuit of energy-efficient homes requires our homes to be built with stiffer construction quality standards than are acceptable in conventional code-built homes.
What does that mean for you? Here is an example. For years, home builders have routinely busted holes in the inside surface of exterior concrete-block walls to provide room to mount electrical safety boxes that support wall outlets. That’s because the required electrical safety boxes are too deep to fit between the drywall around the wall outlet and the concrete block behind. This approach, however, results in the movement of air in and out of those homes. Summer heat seeps indoors, as does winter chills.
Here’s the deal. We used to bust these holes ourselves, but we don’t do that anymore. To stop that energy-wasting air transfer, LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes include double-thick furring strips between drywall and concrete block. This allows electrical safety boxes to be mounted without busting any concrete block. This method also doubles the insulating effect of the dead air space inside the wall.
We may be the only home builder in this area who adheres to this higher standard.
- LIFESTYLE SUNSMART℠ FEATURES
A lot of thought, effort, and expertise on the part of the scientists at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has been devoted to finding the exact right combination of equipment, materials, and building techniques to produce maximum-performance gains for LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes. There is no payback waiting period when it comes to LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes. You get a superior home performance and the accompanying energy bills savings from day one.
FSEC’s research that guided us is backed by the full resources of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This means that LifeStyle SunSmart℠ standards represent true state-of-the-art delivery of reliable technologies to save energy, increase comfort, and improve indoor air quality. No other home builder can match the LifeStyle SunSmart℠ package just by cherry-picking some of the components and techniques we use. It is the exact combination of components and construction techniques that result in the high-performance home you deserve.
Please note that this list of LifeStyle SunSmart℠ features is ever-evolving as advances in technology are made.
- Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater. This system represents a new advancement in water-heating technology. The hybrid heat pump water heater is approximately 60% percent more efficient than a standard electric water heater. The hybrid system has a conventional electric storage heater paired with a heat pump. Instead of generating heat directly, a hybrid heat pump water heater will absorb heat and transfer heat from the air to help heat the water.
- High-performance 15 SEER/HSPF 8.5 HVAC. Heat pump HVAC units are inherently more efficient than conventional air conditioners, because they run the cooling cycle in reverse when heat is needed. This minimizes the use of inefficient glowing heat coils. The heat pump in your LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home will still include a heat coil, though, to keep you warm during the few really cold nights that occasionally occur in Central Florida.The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of a heat pump’s cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER number, the more cooling produced per unit of electricity used. The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) rating works just like the SEER rating, except it measures how efficiently an HVAC unit produces heat. With guidance from FSEC, we have chosen to upgrade our system to an HSPF rating of 8.5, which provides the new optimum balance between operating efficiency and initial cost.
- Filtered outside-air supply to HVAC. A sophisticated, flow-tested heating and air-conditioning system can be set to utilize a measured supply of fully filtered outside air. This scientifically designed air-management system markedly improves indoor air quality by controlling humidity and balancing air pressure to guarantee more even temperatures throughout the home.
- Pressure-tested, certified-tight air ducts. Oftentimes, cooled air is blasted into the attics of homes through leaks in the duct systems. LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes use better-quality joining products and workmanship to ensure this doesn’t happen. Better yet, the air tightness of duct work of each LifeStyle SunSmart℠ home is inspected and certified by third-party energy raters.
- Air handler mounted in conditioned space. If you can see your air-conditioning unit in your garage, it is working extra hard because of the super-hot air surrounding it. How much more sense does it make to place this unit in a air-conditioned space?
- Double-pane Lo-E windows and glass doors. These super high-quality windows and sliding-glass doors feature a vacuum-sealed interior space that minimizes radiant and convective heat transfer between the indoors and outdoors. This feature will save you money each month on heating and cooling costs. These windows and doors also employ specially coated glass to minimize the invisible heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays admitted to your home without reducing natural light. This limits the destructive, color-fading effects of UV radiation.
- Extra-thick R-38 ceiling insulation with retainer fence. LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes feature R-38 ceiling insulation, providing twice the protection of R-19 against unwanted heat transfer from super-heated attic spaces into your home’s interior living areas.
- R-30 insulation in walls adjacent to attic using ICYNENE®-brand foam. We carefully insulate all walls adjacent to attic spaces, as well as complex surfaces like knee walls, using ICYNENE®-brand foam insulation where necessary to avoid even small gaps that can allow excessive heat transfer to occur.
- Double-furred, R-7.1 interior wall insulation. Adding a second furring strip between the outer surface of your home’s drywall and the inner surface of adjacent concrete blocks doubles the volume of air trapped in the space between. This dead air is a very efficient insulator all by itself. Taking this extra step is a simple and very cost-effective measure to improve not only the energy-efficiency of your home, but its comfort level as well.
- Solar-powered thermostat-controlled attic ventilation fans (where needed). To lower your attic temperatures, LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes may feature attic exhaust fans that use roof-mounted photovoltaic panels to capture sunlight and convert that sunlight to electricity. These fans operate automatically whenever replacing warmer attic air with cooler outside air is favorable. Unlike conventional attic fan systems that may consume as much energy as they save, solar-powered attic fans are truly beneficial.
- Radiant heat barrier under shingle roofs. In LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes that feature shingle roofs, we install a radiant heat barrier under the roof decking. This shiny reflective foil intercepts much of the sun’s intense heat radiation, preventing it from heating up the air in your attic, and thus making your air-conditioning system more efficient. This radiant barrier is not needed for tile roofs because tile mounting already offers extra heat protection.
- Deluxe EnergyStar®-certified appliances. The appliances in your home account for about 20% of your total energy use. EnergyStar® appliances have been certified to use less energy and produce less heat while providing performance on par with non-Energy Star® appliances. This means you save money without sacrificing performance or convenience.
- 80 CFM Hi-Flo exterior-vented kitchen and bath fans. One of the best ways to improve indoor air quality is to get rid of stale, odor-ridden and over-humidified air by including kitchen and bath fans that actually move air outside of your home. These fans will remove excess kitchen and bathroom humidity before it can spread throughout your home, allowing you to feel more comfortable while inside your home.
- Efficient high-ambiance compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) lighting. Using cool-to-the-touch fluorescent bulbs saves energy two ways. First, these bulbs draw much less current than conventional bulbs to produce equivalent light. And second, they produce no heat of their own to overburden your air-conditioning system.
- Superior sealing of all wall and ceiling penetrations for leak and pest control. LifeStyle SunSmart℠ homes provide a better seal between window and door frames and the surrounding concrete blocks of exterior walls. As an important side benefit, the system used to provide that better seal also significantly strengthens those joints – an important consideration for your safety in high wind conditions.