Flex House is a flexible, modular, pre-fabricated zero energy building that can be mass produced and adapted easily to a variety of site conditions and plan configurations. The key factor shaping the design is central Florida’s hot humid climate and intense solar radiation. Flex house combines the wisdom of vernacular Florida houses with state of the art Zero Energy House technologies (ZEH.) A combined system of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal concentrating panels take advantage of the region’s abundant insolation in providing clean renewable energy for the house. Conservation is achieved with state of the art mechanical systems and innovative liquid desiccant dehumidification technology along with highly efficient lighting and appliances. The hybrid nature of the Flex house allows for both an open and closed system to take advantage of the seasonal temperature variation. Central Florida buildings can conserve energy by allowing natural ventilation to take advantage of passive cooling in the mild months of the year and use a closed system to utilize mechanical cooling when temperatures are too high for passive cooling strategies. The building envelope works equally well throughout the year combining an optimum level of insulation, resistance to air infiltration, transparency for daylight, and flexibility that allows for opening and closing of the house. Flex House is designed with a strong connection between interior spaces and the outdoors with carefully placed fenestration and a movable wall system which enables the house to transform in response to the temperature variations throughout the year. The house also addresses the massive heat gain that occurs through the roof, which can generate temperatures in excess of 140 degrees. Flex House incorporates a parasol-like outer structure that shades the roof, walls and courtyard minimizing heat gain through the building envelope. To be implemented on a large scale, ZEH must be affordable for people earning a moderate income. Site built construction is time consuming and wasteful and results in higher costs. Building homes in a controlled environment can reduce material waste, and construction costs while increasing efficiency. Pre-fabricating Flex House minimizes preparation time, waste and safety concerns and maximizes economy, quality control, efficiency and safety during the construction process. This paper is an account of the design and construction of Flex House, a ZEH for central Florida’s hot humid climate.

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