Green Village on Anna Marie Island
By Rick Krieger
Travel down Tamiami Trail through Bradenton, hop off and head west on Manatee Avenue, then continue straight ahead until you reach the Sunset. There you’ll find Anna Maria Island, a charming barrier island among the chain of Keys nestled along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Now follow Gulf Drive to Pine Avenue, and you’ll discover a most extraordinary place known to the locals simply as the ‘Historic Green Village”.
Mike & Lizzie Thrasher relocated from the UK to AMI some five years ago, bringing along their personal passion and vision to create sustainable, compassionately developed green buildings which utilize their environment to largely support themselves. The Historic Green Village (HGV) covers 5 lots on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City and when completed will contain 5 commercial buildings and 2 vacation rental units. Three of the buildings are historic buildings that have been donated and in some instances moved from a different location to the site of the HGV. Recycled on a major scale and incorporating state-of-the-art green technologies, The Sears Catalogue Cottage from 1935 is now a vintage boutique and the Rosedale Cottage built in 1913 is now the Village Café. It is intended that the HGV will generate more energy than it consumes, in the vision to become the first Zero Net Energy campus in Florida. The site also harvests rain and storm water, and encourages a range of sustainable transportation choices (bicycling, electric carts and cars, Segways). All of the buildings are designed to meet LEED Platinum level – the highest level of certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
Technologies at the HGV Involve:
COOL Technology: GeoThermal Cooling and Heating - using the constant temperature of the earth to reduce the energy required to cool and heat the buildings
HOT Technology: 100 kilowatts of Photovoltaics (PV) panels to generate electricity on-site and solar thermal panels to produce a steady supply of hot water for the Village Cafe at Rosedale
SMART Technology: from the simple - using cisterns to capture rainwater to irrigate the site and flush toilets, to High Performance equipment; all fixtures and appliances either EPA Energy Star- or Water Sense-certified with only the most-efficient equipment used
REUSE & RECYLE on a large scale: Historic buildings, recycled materials, low-emitting paints, sealants and solvents, and a range of other sustainable design choices and material selection choices that reflect the desire to have a minimum impact on the environment
Symbiont Service Corp. of Englewood, Florida, became involved in the HGV project when the Thrashers’ contractor and owner representative, Tom Stockebrand, contacted Mike King of Symbiont, who helped them with the designs. The result was an energy-smart, cutting edge installation that included a 3 unit 4-ton FHP GeoThermal HVAC system that uses a ground water loop system to provide heating and cooling. Mike’s proposal included a supply and discharge well that provide enough water for the initial installation, and for the Villages’ upcoming upgrades and expansion. GeoThermal technology will eventually do everything from freezers and refrigerators for the café, to display cases and ice machines – all using the same loop and wells. The system also called for a Plate Heat Exchanger – a device that uses metal plates to transfer heat and to isolate the HVAC loop water from the GeoThermal wells. Then, once the heat is extracted from the source water, it’s re-injected into the ground through the discharge well.
According to Mike, “When you think about how extreme temperatures can get—people dealing with scorching hot in the summer months, then winters that can be brutal and cold—and then you realize that temperatures just a little bit below the surface temperatures really remain pretty constant. Up north, ground temperatures don’t go much below 45°F, but in Florida, Geo-Thermal technology is even more effective, because our ground temperatures constantly range from 70°F to 80°F.” This ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. The geothermal heat pump takes advantage of this ground water temperature using it as a heat source for home or pool heating or as a heat sink for home or pool cooling, essentially exchanging heat with the earth. “This is actually a way of borrowing what nature gives us in warmth, and then returning it with no harm to the environment. It’s absolutely the best win-win situation I can think of.”
“What makes the system really come to life is the Yaskawa Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)”, adds Jim Howarth, also of Symbiont Service Corp. “When we spec’d the system, knowing that Mr. and Mrs. Thrasher were going for zero-net energy usage, the Yaskawa VFD was a key component in our design.” The VFD adjusts the speed of the pump by controlling the frequency of the electrical power supplied to the motor so, rather than running at a constant output, it provides only the supply that’s needed to keep the system operating properly. “If we program the VFD to ‘throttle back’ during lower demand times, when it’s running at 80% of capacity, we actually have about a 50% energy savings. And since it eliminates the need for a magnetic starter, they’re also really cost-effective to install.”
In 2012, the Historic Green Village will be complete, and the Thrashers’ will be welcoming guests to their residential vacation rental units. With Really Relish and the Village Café already open, the next construction phase begins this September, adding additional buildings to the site – all continuing with the theme of moving in and refurbishing vintage structures, and bringing them to the next generation of energy efficiency. The plans include building car ports with more photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for the rest of the project, and in such abundance that HGV will still be able to continue selling their excess back to Florida Power and Light. “It’s absolutely one of my favorite projects and installations, and we’re really proud of the partnership we have with Mr. and Mrs. Thrasher”, Mike says. “You can see everything – the transfer boxes, readouts on the exterior of the buildings – nothing is hidden. We’ve all worked together to use the technology, and this project helps show how to make zero net energy a reality”.
For more information, visit Green Village’s website at www.AMIGreenVillage.com, Symbiont Service Corp. at www.GeoThermalFlorida.com, or Yaskawa America at www.Yaskawa.com.
Author's Bio: Rick Krieger is with Symbiont Service Corp.