The FLeX House is a flexible, modular building system that can adapt easily to different site situations and plan configurations. The FLeX House is designed for a young couple living in Central Florida on a moderate income. The key factor shaping the design approach is central Florida’s hot humid climate and intense solar radiation. Team Florida's proposal will combine the wisdom of vernacular Florida houses and the team’s years of experience in ZEH technologies to make a state of the art zero energy home.
Designing an envelope that works equally well throughout the year combining an optimum level of insulation for temperature extremes, resistance to air infiltration, trans parency for daylight, and flexibility, is a challenge in central Florida. Team Florida will work with industry partners to design an affordable building envelope that meets these criteria.Variations of SIP and stick built configurations will be analyzed to find the best balance of efficiency, sustainability and economics. Materials will be evaluated and selected based on durability, energy efficiency, recyclability [easy disassembly of parts], maintainability, recycled content, origin, and toxicity over their life cycle.
The flexibility inherent to the architectural design of the house, which allows it to take on different configurations by operating movable elements that expand or contract the living spaces, is supported by the continuity of interior materials applied to flooring, ceilings, and interior walls. Material changes in the foyer, bathroom and kitchen area will respond to the nature of these moisture-prone or transitional areas, whereas consistent materials echoing outdoor components in the built-in casework throughout the house will visually integrate all indoor and outdoor spaces.
Interior finishes in the FLeX House carry on our objective to build with green materials that ensure optimal insulation, thermal capacity and reflectivity balance. Selection criteria emphasize appropriateness of use and aesthetic value while considering durability and ease of maintenance, as well as green attributes such as recycled content and recyclability, embodied energy and energy efficiency, and health impacts.
The FLeX House engineering approach combines conservation measures with cutting edge technologies in a system uniquely suited to the central Florida climate. Team Florida will use energy simulation software, as well as, monitored case studies to “right size” the building and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The Florida State University Off-Grid Zero Emissions Building [OGZEB] will be used as a full scale testing lab for technologies that will be integrated into the The FLeX House. The FLeX House will use a combined system of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal concentrating panels to optimize the energy conversion system.
To keep energy consumption to a minimum efficient appliances are essential. The FLeX House will include smart grid appliances that talk to each other to prevent multiple high draw appliances from turning on at the same time, reducing spikes in demand on the grid. Lighting is a major consumer of energy in buildings and the FLeX House will include a strategy for energy efficient lighting. Daylighting can significantly reduce energy costs by replacing electric lighting and consequently reducing heat and air conditioning loads. The FLeX House was designed to make the best use of natural day light for its interior spaces with large glazed areas on the north and south facades. Shading devices are designed to control the amount of direct sunlight that hits the glazing system reducing heat gain through windows and doors. At night LED and fluorescent lights will provide illumination. Energy efficiency is also related to the operation and monitoring of building systems. The house will incorporate whole building systems control and diagnostic software that monitors more than 35 channels of data (i.e. temperature, humidity, power, occupancy schedules, window operation incidences, etc).