LEED the Way
Spray Foam Magazine – Summer Issue 2021 – Pearl Homes, based in Sarasota, Florida, is pushing the boundaries of sustainability by actively developing green building practices for affordable and workforce housing development projects.
Founded by Marshall Gobuty, the company focuses its efforts on building zero-energy single-family homes and multi-family units that meet at the intersection of affordability and sustainability. How did Pearl Homes launch and why using materials like spray foam insulation were crucial in them achieving LEED Platinum certification?
In November 2019, the Greenbuild Conference in Chicago, the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam announced that the model home inside the Pearl Homes Research and Design Center was the world’s very first LEED Zero Energy residential home to be certified by the USGBC—an honor representing the remarkable effort and commitment the Pearl Homes team are making to have a positive impact on the environment.
Spray Foam Magazine investigated the project that helped launch Pearl Homes on the green building practices map. That project was Mirabella in West Bradenton, Florida, an active adult community with an extra special feature. This 160 eco-friendly attached villas community achieved LEED Platinum certification, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest acknowledgement. This made Mirabella the first LEED-certified villas in Florida. The LEED-certified design incorporates solar power, innovative technology and materials such as spray polyurethane foam insulation to reduce energy use and utility bills by more than 40 percent.
Mirabella, an active adult community in West Bradenton, FL, achieved LEED Platinum Certification for its design that incorporated solar power and spray polyurethane foam to reduce energy use and utility bills throughout its 160 villas.Pearl Homes
Pearl Homes specified spray foam insulation to air seal the envelope and provide a thermal resistance barrier and to help reduce the HVAC sizing and increase thermal comfort. Gary Carmack leads the efforts surrounding energy and environmental related matters at Pearl Homes and he comments, “We incorporated spray foam on the entire enclosure–walls, ceilings, floors making it like an igloo cooler, and we chose SPF over other insulating materials for its air sealing, durability and insulating value per inch.”
American Residential Products was hired to install the spray foam on the villas and according to Pearl Homes everything went smoothly with no problems or issues. The crew of two showed up on site with their spray foam rig and mobile trailer, put on their–impermeable protective clothing with full face air purifying respirators and got to work.
Gary Carmack leads the efforts surrounding energy and environmental related matters at Pearl Homes and he comments, “We incorporated spray foam on the entire enclosure-walls, ceilings, floors making it like an igloo cooler, and we chose SPF over other insulating materials for its air sealing, durability and insulating value per inch.”Pearl Homes
Left to right: Jim Dick (Construction Manager, PEARL Homes), Mahesh Ramanujam (CEO, USGBC), and Marshall Gobuty (President, PEARL Homes) review the plans for the Mirabella villas during construction.Pearl Homes
A typical Mirabella villa sprayed was 2,500 sq. ft. According to Carmack, Icynene closed-cell (now owned by Huntsman Building Solutions) was sprayed by the crew. There was no substrate preparation, and the foam was applied directly to the backside of the sheathing. The job took two days in total with one day to spray the floors and the next to spray the walls and ceiling.
Mirabella, was the first home project that founder Marshall Gobuty undertook, and following its great success, Pearl Homes will be breaking ground on the Hunters Point project in May of this year.
Prior to the building of Mirabella, Marshall envisioned building environmentally friendly, eco-friendly homes and accomplished that with the single-family homes built and sold. This led to the full-on effort of Pearl Homes wanting to build something even better, on the last remaining plot of land in Cortez, Florida, the state’s oldest active fishing village.
The new Hunters Point development will also be installing materials like spray foam insulation in addition to features like Google’s Nest thermostat, which will also help control the temperature in these builds. This system will begin “pre-cooling” each home in the evening, when the electric grid is usually working double-time the home’s system gradually raises the temperature. This results in the house staying comfortable since it’s already cool, and the demand on the grid is lessened. The Zero Energy Homes at Hunters Point will anticipate the homeowners needs and execute them in a way that is clean and economical.
Also present is a sonnen ecoLynx, an energy storage unit, which integrates with any solar system, and therefore helps protect the residents from outages before they happen, as well as storing power and distributing it throughout the house. This will enable Pearl Homes to provide a dependable, smart energy system that encourages greater energy independence.
Implementing materials like spray foam insulation helps developers like Pearl Homes reach their LEED certification goals and provides a pathway for advancements in energy efficient homes in the U.S. Gary Carmack added, “Spray foam helped us achieve our minimal air leakage rate and insulating value for our Mirabella community to become the first LEED certified zero energy buildings in Florida. We will continue to utilize the latest types of spray-based insulation, for as newer formulations come to market, they will likely provide greater degrees of thermal resistance making them the ideal choice for eco-centric builders like Pearl Homes.”
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