PORT ST. LUCIE — Ripe strawberries are dangling in the yard at the lone house on Westcliffe Lane. Tomatoes, onions and corn are sprouting, too.
No green thumb is necessary: A solar-powered pump shuttles water from two nearby rain barrels to the hydroponic garden. To find out if the rain will fill the barrels today, step inside the house, where a flat-screen monitor greets you with the forecast.
No showers predicted? That's okay. Sunshine powers rooftop solar panels. The monitor shows how much energy they're generating, too.
"It doesn't provide all the electricity, but it sure helps," the home's architect, Michael Carlson, said of the 2-kilowatt system.
This is Home & Garden Television's Green Home, the network's second ever and first in Florida. It's a $750,000 collection of eco-friendly must-haves and green novelties that HGTV will give away in a drawing in June.
The home, in the Tradition development in western Port St. Lucie, recently won platinum-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program.
Features range from the practical (tankless water heater) to the indulgent (organic linen headboard) to the politically conscious (lamps made by artisans in Haiti).
Even the toilets do their part. They have two buttons for flushing: one for a low flow, another if you need a little more oomph. The water-saving features mean the house will use half as much water as a typical home, according to HGTV representatives. It also will use about half the electricity. Helping to keep the power bill low: extra insulation, a reflective metal roof and Energy Star-rated appliances.
At 2,430 square feet, though, the three-bedroom, three-bath home is no mansion.
Jack Thomasson, HGTV's green home planner, doesn't like to build much bigger than that. It's hard to say you're green when you're air-conditioning more space than you need.
Thomasson even bypassed that staple of most Florida dream homes: the swimming pool. They tend to use too much water, he said. Instead, there's a bocce court in the back yard.
The home giveaway contest, which you can enter at hgtv.com, runs Friday through June 5.