The design for this residential estate is the manifestation of months of research and collaboration with architects and engineers before any significant design was completed. The forward thinking clients charged the design team with developing and implementing green design technologies that would allow them to be at net-zero for electric and water use annually and do no harm to the sensitive site which is in the St. Lucie River Watershed of Palm City.
To meet the client’s charge and following guiding principles of LEED, LID, SSI and the North Fork St. Lucie River Aquatic Preserve Management Plan, the proposed house was sited in the location of the existing house’s footprint to minimize disturbance the site. Existing concrete foundation and driveway slabs were cut and removed to be used as stepping stones in a Zen Garden designed for contemplation on the south side of the house. Green roofs on the second level provide cooling and higher performance for the PV panels above. Rain water makes its way from the green roofed areas to the rain gardens where it is captured and then filtered by the aquatic plants before it is sent to underground cisterns. The water is periodically cycled through the rain gardens to oxygenate the water in the ponds and cleans the water. Cistern water is also used for irrigation purposes and as a make-up for the pool and fountains. A unique feature of the swimming pool is that it also is filtered by an aquatic system comprised of selected plant species. The existing artificial shoreline is being naturalized with various mangrove species to serve as habitat for the estuary marine life which had been in decline and provide a level of defense from the erosive action of tidal activity. Invasive exotics were removed from the entire property which spanned six ecosystems including lowland marsh, saltwater tidal, freshwater spring, and upland pine, coastal hammock and mangrove fringe habitats with native species being re-established in each. A created wetland, which was designed to manage the wastewater including effluent, became the focal point of the entry garden featuring a grove of native, moisture loving royal palms and native ornamental grasses.