The 4,300-square-foot green house averages about $100 a month in electric cost thanks to a series of solar panels that produce 10,000 watts of power.
REDINGTON SHORES – It is called Casa Verde and it is located on a normal residential street in Redington Shores. But there is nothing “normal” about the 4,300-square-foot house that is for sale for $1.5 million.
The house, located at 116 Wall St., was designed and built by owner Louis Sanchez who describes it as “a one-of-a-kind contemporary home without compromise.”
Sanchez is a career homebuilder who does most of his work for the military. It is work that takes him all over the world. Just over a year ago he decided to build the house in Redington Shores.
What makes the home so special is that it is an energy-saving green house and is as green as green can get. Yet, Sanchez says that wasn’t his intention when he began the project.
“The plan was not so much to build the ultimate green house, but a safe house,” he said. “I have always said that a house should be built to be storm, earthquake and fire resistant and this proves it can be done economically. I wanted to build me a house like I build for the military; you don’t need a Key West-type house or a stick-like house here on the beach. There is no reason why we can’t have a house with good structural integrity.”
Once the house was designed and built, it turned out to be energy efficient in every way.
The average electric bill of a house this size is usually upwards of $1,200 a month. Sanchez’s house averages just $100 a month, he said.
Water is another way to save money and Sanchez says his home uses water economically.
“The average home in Pinellas County uses 210 gallons of water a day,” he said. “My house is three times the size and we use only 110 gallons of water a day. We don’t waste drinking water on irrigation and we have a Florida friendly landscape, which requires no water other than nature, and very little maintenance.”
Sanchez says the entire house uses LED lighting, which he says is the cleanest form of lighting there is.
“Incandescent lights are archaic,” he said. “They get hot because they are creating energy instead of light. LED lights are brighter than flood lights or fluorescent lights or halogens and they don’t use nearly the energy.”
The house is listed with Realtor Steve Busse who says the buyer will ultimately be someone special.
“It is going to be someone who can see the benefit in green and someone who likes the contemporary design,” he said. “The house doesn’t have a nail in it and it is priced in line with other new houses in the area.”
The price is obviously critical to any real estate transaction no matter how special. The house has been for sale for several months according to Busse, but it wasn’t until they trimmed $300,000 off the price that interested buyers surfaced.
“We’ve had two parties that have expressed an interest in the property,” he said. “I suspect we’ll see the house move in the next 90 days.”
Those interested parties, and any others, are going to discover an economical air conditioning system as well as everything else.
“The A/C system itself is based on the MERV,” said Sanchez. “That means minimum efficiency reporting value and is based on a scale from 1 to 20. The cheapest air filtering system is a 1, and 20 is what they use in a clean room in a nuclear facility. Hospital operating rooms use a 15, this house is a 13. There are a lot of hard surfaces, which means you don’t have any fibrous services that have molds and spores that promote allergies.”
The house also produces energy through solar panels. Sanchez says the panels produce 10,000 watts of solar power and the home often does not need any power at all from the grid. He says more people should be doing the same thing.
“It is old technology and has been around since the ’50s,” he said. “It is all about awareness and education. When people aren’t familiar with something they are scared of it. Builders are the same way and they just say no.”
Busse points out that the home has won several design and energy efficient awards.
“It is a regional award winner, it has won every award you can possibly get on this side of the United States,” he said. “It is without question the most unique home that I have ever represented. In fact, I have never had the pleasure of marketing a true green home.”
One might wonder why Sanchez, who lives in the house with his fiancé Sara and their 2-year-old daughter, wants to sell the house. The answer is one of necessity. Sara has accepted a new job in Sarasota and the 100-mile daily commute has become too much. Sanchez says it doesn’t matter where he lives because he is out of town so much, but he will be sorry to move.
“I love my home, I love the Redingtons, and I will miss it all dearly,” he said.
As for his new residence in Sarasota, expect it to be similar as the home in Redington Shores.
“I will be doing the same,” said Sanchez. “I will never regress, it is my military background, you never turn back and even if I find a non-green home, I can turn it green.”