Florida home puts new spin on efficiency

Energy savings, stormwater recycling provide hope for future

The real estate event of the summer
Connect with other top producing agents at Connect SF, Aug 7-11, 2017

You can't learn much in the dark. I learned this lesson once again at the International Builders Show in Orlando last month when I visited the New American Home for the second time in broad daylight. When I saw it the night before, I could discern a highly unusual exterior, a stark aesthetic and an unconventional floor plan. But all the things that make this house a winner -- its colors, materials, details and the salubrious effect of interiors drenched in daylight -- were invisible. As was the charming neighborhood. It is an historic district where many of the houses are more than 100 years old. The streets are lined with ancient-looking trees draped in Spanish moss and an eclectic mix of charming Craftsman-styled bungalows, nondescript cottages and surreal, small-scale Tara wannabes with towering columns and Canary Island date palms. The area is close to Lake Eola and a 10-minute walk from downtown Orlando, itself a startling surprise with many high-rise condos and office towers. Wh...