Today's environmentally conscious builders and building science experts want platinum. And a StalwartBuilt zero-energy home in Panama City, Fla., has it. Last month the house became the first in Florida to achieve U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Homes Platinum certification.

Green features in StalwartBuilt's LEED-Platinum house in Panama City, Fla., include solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, Energy-Star-rated appliances, low-E windows, spray-foam insulation, and low-VOC paint.
StalwartBuilt Homes Green features in StalwartBuilt's LEED-Platinum house in Panama City, Fla., include solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, Energy-Star-rated appliances, low-E windows, spray-foam insulation, and low-VOC paint.

Homes reaching LEED-Platinum have earned 90 to 136 of the possible 136 points available in categories including water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and awareness and education. Some green features of the Panama City single-family residence include solar panels, spray-foam insulation in the attic and under the house, bamboo flooring, Energy Star-rated appliances, low-VOC paint, and low-E vinyl windows.   The home also features a geothermal system, which uses the constant temperature of the ground to provide central heating and cooling, and a desuperheater for hot water.

The builder's goal was to use the home's energy-generating and energy-efficient features to zero-out the energy purchased on an annual basis, says president and founder Julius Poston. During the day the home will sell leftover power created by its solar panels to the grid, and at night the home will buy whatever power is needed from the grid.

"The only way a zero-energy home can be built cost effectively is to build the home within a systems-engineering approach," says Poston. The various components of a zero-energy home are like the spokes on a wagon wheel, he says. "Leaving out one or more of these spokes makes the wheel less efficient and more likely to fail."  Cost effectiveness and product success depend on utilizing all of the Panama City home's employed energy-efficient features.  

StalwartBuilt Homes, a Panama City-based building science technology company, worked with the Phoenix Contracting Group, Jeff Tucker Development Partners, Promised Land Builders, Jim Coffer Homes, and Orville Kreager to construct the home, which was licensed in Callaway Corners, a new single-family workforce housing development.