Florida’s First Zero-Energy Community

Partnering with sonnen, a worldwide leader in smart solar technology, residential development firm Pearl Homes announced its plans for a zero-energy community in the small fishing village of Cortez, Florida.

Hunters Point Pearl Homes & Marina will include 86 performance homes, 62 lodges, and 47 boat slips. Comprised of a network of solar-powered smart homes, each smart home in the innovative community will share excess renewable energy with its neighbors and to a larger grid, which creates a virtual power plant that produces clean electricity.

Construction on the fully furnished green homes will begin in late 2019. Hunters Point is the first residential community established to help decarbonize southwest Florida, and also makes history as the first time an energy storage system will use Google Home to intelligently maximize renewable energy in each household.

“We have an opportunity and responsibility to improve our impact on the environment, and this is our chance. Hunters Point is about luxury living and sustainability, but also about the larger picture — creating a world that is better for our kids and grandchildren,” said Marshall Gobuty, president and founder of Pearl Homes.

In addition to a 600 square foot open-air entertainment space, 600 square feet of interior living space, and a 1,200-square-foot garage that doubles as a basement, each home uses sonnen’s energy management technology to control rooftop solar panels, a smart Nest thermostat, and an electric vehicle charger, ensuring that the home is powered by the cleanest possible energy source.

Photos courtesy of Hunters Point Pearl Homes & Marina.

This story previously appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of Unique Homes Magazine.

All photos courtesy haberdashery.

As cities grow ever taller, parts of the ground level below become starved of light just like a rainforest floor. Helio Ray, haberdashery’s latest concept, aims to bring the sunshine back in metropolitan areas. The conceptual idea from the London-based design studio is engineered to redirect sunlight from above the skyline and bring it back down the side of buildings.


“Sunlight has a huge effect on our physiology and wellbeing,” explains Ben Rigby, co-founder and creative director. “It influences our circadian rhythms, provides vitamin D and illuminates our environment, bringing the true colour out of the surfaces, architecture and the urban grain. Our ambition was to create a focal point using sunlight in order to reinvigorate areas that had become disenfranchised from the life-affirming effects of the sunshine from way above.”


Mounted on the top of a tall building, Helio Ray is fuelled by light collected from a Heliostat, a mechanized mirrored surface that automatically tracks the sun and gathers it into a concentrated beam. It then abstracts this beam of light when reflecting off a second custom-designed reflector that sends the resulting shafts of light down the side of a building, creating “god ray” effects.


This slow variation in surface provides a slowly evolving pattern of reflected light, whilst perfectly controlling the extremities of the overall light effect so as to only fall on specified building surfaces. The effect comes and goes just like the real sun above, so is a true extension of the actual sun’s reach. It is visible from all surrounding buildings, providing a stunning, calming intervention in juxtaposition to the static, man-made urban grain of most cities.


The studio believes Helio Ray can bring a “sense of wonder and pride back into areas that had evolved into transient spaces lost in shadow, reinventing them as landmark destinations.” Such installations can also help hasten city planning by providing a quicker, less complicated path of incorporating infrastructure projects.


Alternatively, this concept further lends a hand toward haberdashery itself that explores the uses of light and how it can invoke a positive emotional response with the public.

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