Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Palm Harbor event to put focus on life without power bills, organizers say

The Zero Energy America Homes model has walls made of autoclaved aerated blocks that resists fire or wind damage.

Zella Aircrete North America Inc.

The Zero Energy America Homes model has walls made of autoclaved aerated blocks that resists fire or wind damage.

PALM HARBOR — Imagine a day when power bills are a thing of the past. The image, no doubt, is priceless.

But is it possible?

"It's real. It's here. It's possible. And we have the ability to do it today," said Alfonso Castaneira, a film producer from Safety Harbor. Castaneira recently partnered with Marc Rutenberg, president of Marc Rutenberg Homes in Tarpon Springs, to form Zero Energy America.

To prove this point, Mark Rutenberg Homes will build its first Zero Energy America Home inside the upscale Hawks Landing subdivision in Palm Harbor.

The partners hope the home will ignite a green revolution in the home-building industry and expect the building to be complete in a year.

"As much as I love our industry, it's archaic," Rutenberg said. "We build from familiarity; instead we should be promoting environmental stewardship."

Friday, a free kickoff celebration will be held at the home site, 2712 Deer Track Way.

Instead of the traditional gold shovels for the groundbreaking, organizers will celebrate by pouring part of the foundation, using a low carbon footprint cement manufactured by a Florida company called Blue World Crete.

The Friday affair features an interactive trade show with 20 vendors showcasing their energy-conscious products, many of which will be used in the 4,500-square-foot Mediterranean-style model home.

Look for:

• Wall blocks made from autoclaved aerated concrete, said to be up to four times lighter than traditional concrete and practically indestructible by fire or wind. A torch will be used to prove the point.

• Demonstrations of the superior heating performance of a stove top that uses electromagnetic induction technology.

• On-demand solar water heaters.

• Stylish tile roofing materials that reflect heat and stay cool, even in summer.

• The latest in low-energy LED lighting.

• Photovoltaic solar panels for the production of electricity to power the entire house. The zero-energy home is expected to generate more kilowatt hours than it will consume, Rutenberg said, bringing the net operating cost to zero.

• Paperless drywall that prevents mold and mildew.

"One of my favorite products is the reclaimed river logs that are 80 to 100 years old," Rutenberg said. "They were found in the bottom of river beds and are made of heart of pine, cherry and cypress. They'll be used in flooring and cabinetry."

One thing buyers won't find once the home is built: granite countertops or travertine floors.

"I love the beauty of natural stone, but mining granite is one of the most environmentally damaging operations we do today," Rutenberg said. He is in the process of looking for alternatives that are equally attractive but won't harm the planet.

Mark Rutenberg Homes received a $2.1 million grant from the state to help create the Zero Energy America project and to take on the challenge of building zero-energy homes. The project will help educate a national audience through a two-hour documentary about the home and products used to build it.

The documentary will be produced by Bluewater Media, distributed by American Public Television and shown on hundreds of PBS stations sometime in the future, Castaneira said.

The partners said the home will likely have a price tag of $1 million or more, but emphasized that extreme energy efficiency can be obtained across the spectrum of housing design.

"It usually adds a 10 to 15 percent premium to the price of a home, but it will pay for itself in energy savings," Castaneira said. "And we can all retrofit our existing homes too. There are 120 million homes already built in America."

He said with the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico and climatic changes, the push for homes powered by renewable energy is urgent.

"Our homes and buildings are responsible for 48 percent of greenhouse gases and pollution," Castaneira said. "Cars only produce 12 percent."

If you go

What: Zero Energy Technology Education Fair and Groundbreaking Celebration

When: Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: 2712 Deer Track Way inside the Hawks Landing subdivision in Palm Harbor

For more information: Visit ZeroEnergyAmerica.com or call (727) 243-6965.

Palm Harbor event to put focus on life without power bills, organizers say 06/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest

    Nation

    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.
  2. Police pull unconscious New Port Richey man from SUV in Cotee River

    Accidents

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Police rescued an unconscious driver whose sport utility vehicle plunged into the Cotee River on Saturday.

  3. Analysis: Bannon is out, but his agenda may live on

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — In his West Wing office, Stephen Bannon kept a chart listing trade actions — on China, steel and autos — that the Trump White House planned to roll out, week by week, through the fall. Now that Bannon, the president's chief strategist, has been pushed out, the question is whether his …

    Steve Bannon thinks he could be more effective influencing policy from outside the White House.
  4. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program

    Politics

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  5. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times