Zero Energy Demo Homes / Solar Decathlon Houses

Florida has a wealth of solar and zero-energy research and demonstration facilities. These include model homes that showcase sustainable materials and building methods, training centers, living quarters, and entries in the international Solar Decathlon, where collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.

FLEX House: Team Florida’s 2011 Solar Decathlon entry, University of South Florida

The Flex House is being constructed in a climatically responsive process that is both practical and affordable and which illustrates the belief that the marriage of technology and carefully designed human centered architectural space can produce a building that transcends the traditional notions of sustainability. The Flex House is Team Florida’s entry in the 2011 solar decathlon, to be held on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in Fall 2011.




Florida House – Sarasota County Extension

The Florida House is a model home and yard showcasing sustainable materials and methods for building, remodeling and landscaping. From 1992 to 2007, the Florida House operated as a partnership between UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension and the non-profit Florida House Institute—a unique public/private collaboration whose mission has been to demonstrate the most sustainable products and practices within education, government and the private sector. The goal is to inspire beneficial behavior changes in citizens’ personal and professional lives.



Florida State University – OGZEB (Off Grid Zero Emissions Buildings)

The Off -Grid Zero Emission Building (OGZEB) is a prototype for buildings that will meet the needs of our current lifestyle while also protecting our environment. This FESC-funded project involved the design, construction and operation of a completely solar-powered building that achieves Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-New Construction (LEED-NC) platinum certification. The OGZEB is a combination of staff offices and living quarters for graduate students,providing a real world testing scenario for alternative energy and green technologies.



Florida Solar energy Center (FSEC) Manfactured Housing Laboratory

The Manufactured Housing Laboratory (MH Lab). The MH Lab is a 1600 ft2 ENERGY STAR® manufactured home that will serve as a training center and building science laboratory. The MHLab features two complete separate heating and cooling systems: an overhead duct system connected to a package unit air conditioner with electric resistance heating and a floor-mounted duct system connected to a split system air conditioner also with electric resistance heating.

FSEC also is involved with several Zero Energy Buildings across the state.Zero Energy Homes (ZEH) are homes designed to use zero net energy from the utility grid. The concept is simple — couple the maximum possible building energy efficiency with the best available renewable energy resources in a way that maximizes the effectiveness of both.

FIU Solar Decathlon House

The Florida International University Solar Decathlon Team accepted the 2005 challenge with its sights, not just on building an energy-efficient home, but on designing and building a residential prototype for sustainable living.  Their goal was t o integrate environmentally responsible design with readily available technologies and materials that can be tailored to fit almost any lifestyle and climate. The FIU Solar Decathlon house was on display at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and is now located on the FIU campus.


University of Florida Solar Decathlon House

This house was Team Florida’s entry into the Solar Decathlon Europe 2010. The house’s design includes elements from historic Florida houses for a back-to-basics approach to energy conservation. The design strategy combines technological advances with the poetic sensibility and humble celebration of utility of our local building traditions.






University of West Florida – BEST House

Sustainable, durable, affordable housing is a continuing concern for Florida citizens as well as construction, housing, insurance, and supporting infrastructure industries. The BEST House is a demonstration house that will be used as an educational tool and resource for Northwest Florida. UWF students, students in regional partner institutions, construction-related professionals, and community members are invited to be part of this learning community to explore construction-related issues.