Flex House is a grid connected balanced energy
prototype designed for Florida’s hot, humid climate. The main body will be prefabricated
and shipped in one piece. The modular design allows for easy transport and deployment on
any site. Elongated on its east west axis to facilitate shading, the design incorporates
an umbrella structure covered with local, insect and weather resistant cypress louvers
that cut down on direct heat gain in Florida’s hot southern climate while allowing indirect
light to penetrate and provide daylighting. Photovoltaic panels connect to the power system
through individual micro inverters ensuring maximum efficiency for each panel. Architectural
features such as louvers and the reflective corrugated metal skin prevent heat gain, which
means less energy is required to cool the house. The design incorporates a number of
energy efficient features in a compact space. Energy Star appliances throughout conserve
energy, and low-flow fixtures save on water. Telescoping glass doors along the north face
allow for natural light, while reflective surfaces reflect light deeper into the house
and enhance day lighting. LED and compact fluorescents minimize energy consumption when
natural lighting isn’t available. The telescoping doors also open to a large exterior deck,
allowing for cross ventilation during Florida’s cooler months, and effectively merging the
interior and exterior spaces. A high efficiency HVAC system picks up where passive cooling
leaves off. The liquid desiccant system dehumidifies incoming air to reduce the cooling load while
also functioning as a design amenity, adding to the modern feel of the home. Two separate
fan coil units serve two distinct thermal zones separated by an interior partition.
This helps to minimize energy consumption by not conditioning unoccupied space. Building
management software monitors and controls all of Flex House’s mechanical and electrical
systems. All hot water end uses including the shower, sinks, dishwasher and washing
machine are supplied by the solar thermal system. The system is composed of two solar
hot water collectors mounted on the umbrella and connected to an insulated water tank.
When there is sufficient heat to be drawn from the collectors, the controller automatically
activates a pump and pulls cooler water from the storage tank through the collectors to
be heated. Once heated, the water is pumped back down into the storage tank for consumption.
This process continues as long as there is heat to be drawn from the collectors. When
there is little or no sun, a backup heating element self-activates to provide ample hot
water for the house. Thank you for visiting the Flex House.