In the past decade, Josh Wynne has established himself as a master of the sustainable house — among the best in Florida and one of the best in the nation at constructing what most would call “green” houses.
Oddly, Wynne doesn’t even like the term “green building.” He prefers “good building.” And he did a lot of it at The Pearl, a 4,000-square-foot house on South Lake Shore Drive in Sarasota’s Oyster Bay.
With a HERS rating of 51, the house earned LEED-Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council with 101.5 points.
As a result, the Pearl, named for a landscaping feature at the rear of the 100-yard-deep property, won multiple trophies at the annual Aurora Awards presentation during the Southeast Building Conference in Orlando a week ago. Other local Aurora winners include Neal Communities, Synergy Building Corp. and Habitat for Humanity (see list on this page).
Josh Wynne Construction has brought more than 40 Aurora or Grand Aurora trophies home to Sarasota in the past few years, and they mean a lot to the company’s founder and chief designer.
“It is more of a regional competition,” said Wynne. “It is for 12 Southeastern states. It is a good opportunity to compare my houses to what other people are doing.”
Regarding the house’s LEED-Platinum certification, which has become almost a given for Wynne’s projects, he said, “We achieved that with no solar supplementation (photovoltaic panels), no rainwater cistern and no greywater collection. It was all just through smart design and intelligent use of materials and lot placement.”
The Pearl, on South Lake Shore Drive in Sarasota’s Oyster Bay, was created for a client who likes to entertain and enjoys Asian art and design. The central great room is a dominant feature, with exposed trusses that are 6 feet on center. “I built those myself in the field,” said Wynne. “It is pretty spectacular.”
The oddly shaped lot is 50 feet wide at the rear, 110 feet wide at the front and 297 feet deep, “and that drove the design of the house,” said Wynne, who designed the house with an engineer’s review, and also did the interior design.
“The client likes to have catered parties, but also is a private person,” said Wynne. “The progression is: public spaces, intermediate spaces and private spaces. That is echoed through the landscape design and the floor plan of the house.
“She has a lot of Asian furnishings and likes the idea of an Asian-style house, maybe even Polynesian. I took those design principles and converted them to the Florida vernacular. There are a lot of different roof lines, and a feeling of individual buildings — the great room building, the garage building, the guest wing building, and the master suite building — each with a unique and individual roof.”
At the rear of the property is what Wynne calls “our little pearl” — a circular garden that is sodded, with an elevated wood deck surrounded by four species of bamboo.
“It is pretty heavily planted and creates a really cool backyard 100 yards from the street,” said Wynne. “A lot of transition happens between the two.”
Wynne is proudest of the Grand Aurora award presented for the house’s kitchen.
“We won for best kitchen in show, so that is pretty awesome,” he said. “The kitchen is pretty spectacular; I like to do fun stuff with my kitchens. Jay Brady did an island top for me that is second to none. It is a 16-foot-long island top, 42 inches wide, waterfall edge, two and a half inches thick. It is one piece with an integrated sink and drain.
“It is pretty phenomenal. One piece, no seams, of GFRC — glass-fiber reinforced concrete. We put the island together and set the top over the island.”
Josh was interviewed recently for a local TV show, Sarasota Business Today. CLICK HERE and fast forward to the 3:36 mark to see a story about what we do!
We were so excited to be browsing Builder Magazine and unexpectedly stumble upon a mention of our Power Haus project!
Location: Sarasota, Fla.
Principal: Josh Wynne
Size: 5 employees
Little-known fact: Our first LEED-certified project (Codding Cottage) was the highest scoring LEED Platinum home in the U.S. at the time of certification and the first LEED for Homes v.1 in Florida.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from your project, Trade Winds?
Josh Wynne: Among other things, we learned that extremely high levels of sustainability can be achieved by implementing simple design techniques and diligent conservation efforts. The use of expensive secondary systems such as solar PV, rainwater cisterns, and greywater recovery are not necessary if the proper design is in place and all opportunities for conservation have been exhausted.
What insights from this and other sustainable projects would you share with other professionals?
Sustainable homes start with good design. If your house is inefficient without the inclusion of secondary systems (such as air conditioning), it will be far lass efficient when those systems are factored. Passive design principals are imperative in a truly sustainable home.
What is your firm’s philosophy on sustainable design?
Every client wants a sustainable home. Some clients require an education to help them realize that.
What kinds of sustainable solutions are non-negotiable for your firm? What are the baseline standards your firm aims to meet with every project?
Every home is Energy Star-certified and FGBC-certified (a regional accreditation through the Floria Green Building Coalition,). Honestly, through education, we push our clients further than they ever intended on going.
What are the top energy-saving features you put in your projects?
Tight, well-insulated building envelopes, proper solar and natural ventilation design, and high efficiency HVAC systems. Obviously renewable energy systems are great when the budget allows.
How do you think these types of innovative green solutions might become standard?
Standards are what we make them. Our standards are maximum energy conservation, maximum water conversation, complete indoor health considerations, maximum durability and regional environmental stewardship.
Read more about Josh Wynne Construction’s Trade Winds in EcoHome’s case study.
Turn waste into wonderful for your home
Katy Tomasulo, special to USA TODAY
What’s old is new again, so before you hit the showroom, consider reclaimed materials and find one-of-a-kind gems, sometimes for a fraction of the cost, to give your home a new look.
- Repurposed materials run the gamut from simple DIY home décor projects.
- Reclaimed materials are sometimes less expensive than their newer counterparts.
- Reclaimed materials can offer a reduced environmental footprint.
7:37PM EST December 6. 2012 – Imagine walking on your kitchen’s stone floor each day, knowing that the surface below your feet was worn down over hundreds of years by carts, horses and pedestrians half a world away. Or imagine that the vanity where you get ready for work each morning was crafted from oaking staves once used to flavor wine.
Such is the hidden wonder and appeal of reclaimed materials.
Repurposed materials run the gamut from simple DIY home décor projects, such as bulletin boards made from accumulated wine corks or mail organizers fashioned from old window shutters, to professionally installed products like barn siding transformed into a door or a vintage trough finding new life as a bathroom sink.
Used materials often bring with them a one-of-a-kind story and an element of rarity. Reclaimed wood, for example, often comes from treasured old-growth species that can’t be found in wood products today. Saw marks, nail holes and other nostalgic signs of a former life can make the item even more interesting.
What’s more, reclaimed materials are sometimes less expensive than their newer counterparts and can offer a reduced environmental footprint.
Sourcing these elements is fairly straightforward via your builder or the Internet. Sometimes it takes a bit of digging—scout Craigslist, Freecycle, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, architectural salvage yards and yard sales for starters.
“It’s always an opportunistic thing,” says Josh Wynne, owner of Josh Wynne Construction in Sarasota, Fla., who often uses reclaimed materials in his custom homes.
Some items he finds on his travels, like the 400-year-old doors from Egypt he repurposed for interior use or the old shutters from Burma he transformed into pantry doors.
Other times, it’s about turning waste into wonderful. Wynne once stumbled upon a sawmill that was discarding rough-milled pieces of wood from more than 10 different tree species; he glued the scrap pieces together and cut out kitchen cabinets, resulting in a one-of-a-kind striped look.
Architect Gay Hardwick sought out numerous reclaimed materials for her own recently completed house in Kensington, Md. One source was a partially demolished elementary school she found on Craigslist. Hardwick purchased remnants of a 200-year-old stone wall circling the school to build her home’s chimney, fireplace and retaining wall, bringing the beauty of the old stone inside.
Hardwick also repurposed the school’s gym floor, originally headed for the dump, for flooring in her living room, hallway, and other areas, for a savings she estimates at $11,000.
Interior doors were salvaged from old houses in Virginia and Pennsylvania; hardware was also reclaimed. The super deep bathtub in her kids’ bathroom—original value $6,000—was bought at an architectural salvage store for a mere $75.
Hardwick attributes her finds to both hard work and luck. “Don’t do it unless you like going to architectural salvage places or flea markets. You have to enjoy that type of thing,” she says. “Otherwise, it’s a chore and you won’t be as confident.”
But the payoff can be worth the effort. “[With new homes,] you don’t get that emotional response you get when you walk into a 150-year-old craftsman bungalow,” Wynne says. “Reclaimed products, even in a new project, bring that story, that life.”
This article was excerpted from USA TODAY HOME magazine, available now on newsstands or through USA TODAY’s online store. The premium publication features articles on home improvement, décor and entertaining.
Our Power Haus project was recognized as the 2011 Outstanding Project of the Year by the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. Click on the link below to see a full list of winners.
Read full article here.
Please read full article here.
As seen in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, this article is a good commentary about looking beyond cost and at the total value of construction.
Published: Friday, July 29, 2011 at 5:16 p.m.
The latest high-tech in the home building business is all about smart — smart houses, smart wiring, smart appliances and a smart grid.
And then there’s “smart money,” an old-fashioned concept that’s been around as long as we have been building houses. Smart money is money that’s spent wisely. It gets you the best house for your budget, not the biggest house or the one with the most trophy features per square foot.
What are some smart money tips?
1. Hire experience.
Though many people think any fool can design and build a house, you need years of experience to do this well.
An experienced residential architect has taken the proverbial “sketch on the back of an envelope” and developed it into a finished house many times. She won’t waste time on ideas that are too costly to execute within your budget, and she will have the guts to set you straight when something you really want is a bad idea.
Likewise, an experienced home builder has taken many projects from a pile of construction documents to a finished house. He can work with grace under pressure and deal with screw-ups quickly and efficiently (every new house always has a few). He treats his subs so well they will follow him to any job, and he has a real office, not a pickup truck. And, most importantly, he doesn’t promise a great price. He promises a great house.
If your spouse suggests economizing by hiring “a young architect who’s eager but still wet behind the ears and won’t charge much” and an “experienced carpenter who’s just starting a home-building business and promises a great price” put the kibosh on it immediately.
2. To control costs, hire the architect and the builder at the same time.
This unconventional approach, called the negotiated bid, can help you control both design and construction costs. It’s called the negotiated bid because you negotiate the architect’s fee to design your house, the builder’s fee for building it, and determine your construction budget before you start the project. The architect and builder work together as a team. During the initial design phase, as you work with the architect to design your house, the builder monitors the work to ensure that he can build it with your budget. An experienced architect will have a good sense of costs, but a builder is out in the marketplace everyday, and his information will be more accurate. Another plus with this arrangement: a builder can often spot ways to achieve the architect’s desired effect that are simpler and less costly to execute.
Despite the advantages of the negotiated bid, many homeowners are convinced that competitive bidding will produce the best (read lowest) price. A competitively bid price may well be lower than the negotiated price, but the bid price will not be the final price. That’s because a custom-built house is a unique prototype with hundreds of details.
Even the most conscientious architect can, inadvertently, make an error or an omission in the construction documents that form the basis of the competitive bidding. The bidding contractors are supposed to confer with the architect if they spot a mistake, but this doesn’t always happen.
When the errors or omissions eventually come to light during construction, the builder will issue change orders, and he’s not obliged to give you his best price. Besides adding to your cost, change orders can poison the atmosphere at a time when you want everyone to do their best work and you have several hundred thousand dollars on the line.
With the negotiated bid, the builder’s job is to catch errors and omissions during the design phase and he has every incentive to do this. He knows he will be getting the job, he knows upfront how much profit he will make, and he wants to keep things on track.
3. Focus on lifetime cost, not first-time cost.
First-time cost is what you’re paying to build the house. Lifetime cost includes both the initial cost to build the house and the maintenance costs you’ll incur over the 20 to 30 years you expect to live in it.
This distinction will become clear when you begin to select building materials. For example, you can save a bundle with cheap windows, but when you factor in the cost to replace them once, or more likely, twice over the 20 to 30 years of your occupancy, they become your priciest window option. Skimp on insulation to save a few bucks and you’ll saddle yourself with higher utility bills every day you live there. Purchase cheaper but less efficient heating and cooling equipment, and you’ll not only be paying higher utility bills from day one, you’ll also be replacing the equipment long before you move out.
4. Cost per square foot figures are a useful tool at the beginning of the project, period.
When you start, the cost per square foot is a useful tool for helping you understand what’s possible with your budget. A low cost per square foot is not the hallmark of a good deal.
In fact, it can be just the opposite — a sure indication that a builder is using inferior materials or subcontractors known for shoddy work or that the builder is so desperate to get your job, he has cut his own costs to the bone, and he may go belly up halfway through the project.
Initially, when most homeowners are trying to match their budget with realistic choices, the cost-per-square-foot figure can provide useful information. Divide the amount of money you have to spend (say, $375,000) by the size house you want to build (say, 2,500 square feet), you get $150 per square foot.
Using this cost figure, an experienced architect or home builder can tell you what finishes and features are affordable for the size house you want. You may quickly realize that you will have to build a smaller house to get the features you want or accept modest details and finishes for the 2,500-square-foot-sized house you envision.
The cost per square foot is averaged over the entire house. It does not mean that every foot in the house will cost exactly that amount.
The cost of a specific square foot depends on what’s in it. A square foot in your kitchen or bathroom will cost a lot more than a corner of your living room or bedroom that’s merely “raw space.”
Questions or queries? Katherine Salant can be reached atwww.katherinesalant.com.