Shalimar, Fla. — Charlie Rushing, project director and CEO of Eco Smart World Wide takes pride in having built green long before it was called “green.” The son and grandson of builders and master carpenters, Rushing said, “Every home I've ever built was strong, intruder- and storm-mitigated, and highly efficient.”
Eco Smart is Rushing's consulting and sales venture promoting the latest in sustainable, renewable and high-efficiency practices and products. To that end, he's building the Eco Smart Demonstration House to showcase as many of those practices and products as he can in an interactive residential setting. The certifications he's aiming for include U.S.GBC LEED, Florida Green Building Coalition, Harvard Undergraduate Research Symposium, Energy Star, URS, Water Star and Fortified Home.
The 5,625 sq. ft. home is being built on the northwest Panhandle of Florida. It consists of three distinct, connected living units. The main building is a two-story Charleston row-style house. Next to that is a two-story garage complex with a top floor carriage house. Just in front of the garage building is a one-story cabana-style building.
To create an ideal green building envelope, Eco Smart is using insulated concrete technology, a panel system similar to insulated concrete forms in the building's construction. Large pieces of foam insulation have an attached mesh of galvanized steel wire on both sides. The panels get electro-welded together, then sprayed with concrete.
“It's going to be just under R-40 wall, roof and floors,” Rushing said.
Since it's Florida, there's not much need for a heating system. Most of the heating and cooling is handled by a geothermal heat pump system from a company called Thermalflow.
“The system is water cooled using a 20-ft. well which maintains a constant 75°F,” Rushing explained. “We've got two heat recovery systems on the main house, and a third that will be shared by the other two buildings. They'll have dampers on them and be zoned for separate use.”
Supplying the hot water needs will be two 50-gal. A.O. Smith Vertex water heaters. Already high-efficiency units, an additional hot water recovery system from the heat pump system means that the only time they'll have to come on is when there's a very high demand, or the A/C isn't running.
But Rushing is at least as worried about the energy it takes to move the domestic water as he is about the energy it takes to heat it. To help on that end of the equation the home will employ the D'mand System from Metlund. Consisting of a pump, integrated controller and electronic zone valve, the system generates instant hot water, so the user isn't running water down the drain waiting for hot water to arrive.
Almost all the piping is being done with FlowGuard Gold CPVC. Altmans Products LLC is the exclusive supplier of low-flow faucets and showerheads. Eco Smart is using eight Caroma dual-flush high-efficiency toilets in various styles.
But being water- and energy-efficient doesn't mean having to do without life's luxuries. The main house has a Pro-Series Thermasol steam shower system (with the full sound and light package) in its own glass-enclosed wet room. The system uses less than two gallons of water to deliver a 30-minute spa experience.
And if you ask Charlie Rushing he could tell you much more about the lighting fixtures, about the stone-coated metal roofs, about federal tax breaks, about rainwater reclamation and so on — and that's just what he intends to do, for everyone who comes to visit.
He's hoping to finish construction by the first of the year. “We're going to keep it open five days a week,” said Rushing, “and have rights on weekends to have Saturday barbecues, open houses, so we can bring in plumbers, unions, the BIA or the National Homebuilders Association.” All the while he hopes to grow the Eco Smart brand, and continue building other Eco Smart Homes for sale.
“We sell everything online,” he said, “and in most cases we've got certified dealers, distributors and installers lined up… We've got great pricing and everything is drop-ship.”