- March 22, 2019
London Bay Homes in Naples recently completed its first ever solar-powered home.
The 6,000-square-foot estate, in the The Estuary at Grey Oaks, incorporates advanced and emerging technologies, according to a statement. That includes energy-storing Tesla Powerwalls in lieu of a generator — and relies on Florida sunshine for most of its power.
“We pride ourselves on leading innovation and creating a better way to build. Solar power was the next logical progression in London Bay’s more than 30-year evolution and we’re grateful to our clients who really wanted to push these boundaries with us,” London Bay President and CEO Mark Wilson says in the statement.
The owners were living in a home they built with London Bay Homes in the early 2000s and sought a change.
“They wanted to push the boundaries of solar power, green home and energy efficiency and felt London Bay Homes was the right company to guide them through the process,” London Bay Vice president Steve Miller says in the release. “Any time you have the opportunity to work with the client for a second time, the energy throughout the creative process is even more collaborative and the communication is more open. There is established trust and transparency, which leads to better design and exploring options outside the box like technology and solar, for example, but also on lifestyle.”
Dramatically different from their previous home, which had a central courtyard with a pool, the new residence features an open-concept floor plan maximizing indoor-outdoor living, the release states. London Bay’s team of architects, interior designers and building professionals partnered with Florida-based Goldin Solar, the state’s leading installer of Tesla technology, to achieve the right balance of aesthetic and function, the company says. “Design concepts that, on the surface, seemed contrary were resolved through architecture, innovation and automation,” the release adds.
Using 3D modeling, the home was positioned strategically to ensure optimal sun exposure to fuel 78 solar panels. To address interior heat gain and increase energy efficiency, extended overhangs shade windows from the outside while automated window treatments and smart lighting inside react to natural sunlight at different times of the day and year. In the master suite’s walk-in closets, sensors detect when the rooms are unoccupied and turn off lights.
To maximize energy efficiency, the home was designed using such features as higher-rated wall insulation and insulated windows to reduce energy usage and improve indoor air quality. Multi-zoned air-conditioning conserves energy in seldom-used parts of the home, sensors monitor water consumption, and the Tesla Powerwalls store power for future use.
“London Bay Homes was one of the first builders to use the Tesla technology in Naples,” Miller says. “The theory is that the home will produce enough power throughout the day that it can draw off the Powerwalls every evening, and when necessary, in storm conditions with minimal or no assistance from the power grid. We believe the house is going to be close to net zero. If we can minimize the electrical load on the house, then solar should be producing the lion’s share of the energy needed.
“While the financial savings aspect is an added benefit, for these clients the primary goal was more about being an early adopter of solar power.”
As a custom estate by London Bay Homes, the new home also caters to the clients’ lifestyle and needs: a second study, a sink in the pantry for preparing shakes, a four-car garage with one bay used to store their bicycles and outdoor recreation equipment and a lighter, more contemporary interior aesthetic created by Romanza Interior Design. The home also connects the indoors to large outdoor living spaces. Artificial turf provides a solution in shady areas of the lawn and doubles as a putting green.