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Pinellas' first green home

Energy-efficient "green" building design sprouts in new townhomes on the beach. The developer of Color Key cabana homes sees this as a natural decision.

Published May 26, 2007

Each unit at the Color Key cabana homes has a private elevator. Floors are bamboo or tile. The living area of the units - they're 27 feet wide - overlooks Gulf Boulevard and the Gulf of Mexico. The units have Energy Star-certified appliances. There are decks on two sides.
[Times photo: LARA CERRI]
[Times photo: LARA CERRI]
The Key West-style townhomes are sided in vinyl in tropical colors with white gingerbread trim. The top-floor master suites have uninterrupted views of the Gulf of Mexico, directly across the street.


Green has already come to the beach.

The model unit at the Color Key cabana homes on Gulf Boulevard is the first home in Pinellas to be certified green by the Florida Green Building Coalition.

The three-story townhome is built with insulated concrete forms that provide an insulation value of R-40. An instant hot water system replaces an energy-hogging heater. Compact fluorescent bulbs glow in most of the light fixtures. Natural gas is provided for heating and cooking. A metal roof reflects the sun's heat. Impact glass provides hurricane protection, insulation and sound deadening. The floors are renewable bamboo. Appliances are energy-efficient models with Energy Star certification. Spray-foam insulation in the attic provides R-30 insulation. Air conditioning ductwork is in conditioned space.

The decision to build green came easily for Ed Fernandez, a first-time developer whose family has owned the land on Gulf Boulevard for decades. "I thought about doing modular construction or SIPS, " he said, referring to structural insulated panels, "but they're too hard to explain. Green just seemed the right thing to do and the right way to build."

The rest of the Tampa Bay housing industry is moving in that direction. The showcase homes this year and last year for the Tampa Bay Builders Association were both certified green, and several local builders have announced that they're moving toward building exclusively green homes. Waterset, a new residential community under development in Apollo Beach by Newland Communities, will be all-green.

Fernandez found himself in the role of groundbreaker as he researched building products. FEMA codes for flood-resistant materials were written in 1993, long before many of today's materials were on the market. He provided the documentation and engineering that won approval from the Indian Shores building department for Georgia-Pacific's paperless fiber-reinforced gypsum board that was used in the foyer and stairway and for LP's Smart Side oriented strand board used in the garage.

The model unit scored 242 points from the green building coalition, which requires a minimum of 200 for certification. If buyers want their units green-certified, Fernandez says he'll be glad to make that happen so they have official bragging rights.

Judy Stark can be reached at (727) 893-8446 or



Visiting the model

Color Key cabana homes are at 19125 Gulf Blvd. in Indian Shores, just north of the Park Boulevard bridge and south of the Town Hall and the Salt Rock Grill restaurant.

Four homes have been completed and eventually there will be 12 in six buildings. The three-story homes, built in a Key West style, have four bedrooms and three baths in 2, 400 square feet. The units start at $750, 000.

Information: Coldwell Banker Sun Vista, (727) 595-1604. The model is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Further information is at


[Last modified May 25, 2007, 12:36:06]

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