Homeowners in this new hurricane-proof neighborhood will live a carbon-free, high-tech lifestyle

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
December 10, 2018, 7:08:09 PM EST

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes

Image via Pearl Homes


A new Florida neighborhood will allow residents to live a cleaner lifestyle than any other development in the country, while feeling safe in the event of major hurricanes.

The builders of the development say the time for affordable carbon-free living via energy storage, home automation and home building has now come.

Two companies, Pearl Homes and sonnen, paired up to create a community of solar plus storage smart homes using Google Home.

The community of homes, named 'Hunters Point — Pearl Homes Community and Marina,' is the first community designed to help decarbonize Manatee County near Sarasota, Florida, and surrounding regions of Florida by making green living affordable to a broader market.


The second sonnen community to launch in the U.S. market will be installed at Hunters Point in the small fishing village of Cortez, Florida. It is comprised of 148 homes pursuing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, a way to define and measure “green buildings," that empower residents to be pioneers in energy and join a movement creating net-zero energy communities.

Each home will be equipped with rooftop solar panels, a new and affordable sonnen energy storage system designed for mass market appeal, a smart thermostat and an electric vehicle charger, all controlled by way of sonnen's powerful new energy automation and artificial intelligence (AI) software platform.

The builders are designing the homes with hurricanes in mind, by adding carbon fiber in the building materials. Those materials will help the houses meet the standard for a Category 5 storm, which by law, the builders only have to meet a Category 3 standard.

If a storm harms the electric grid, the solar panels and batteries can keep the power on in the neighborhood after the storm passes.

“As long as the sun is shining–and the good news is you’re in Florida, so there’s usually going to be lots of sun–we should be fine for perpetual backup,” said Blake Richetta, senior vice president and head of sonnen's U.S. operations.

Hunters Point — Pearl Homes Community and Marina represents the first time an energy storage system has worked in concert with Google Home in a master-planned development, capable of maximizing the intelligent use of each household's renewable energy.

In initial tests, it was determined that the already-built homes are generating approximately 96 percent of their own clean power, with the goal of being fully net-zero.

Pearl Home Model Exterior 1.png

Image via Pearl Homes


Following the installment of the first 148 homes, Pearl Homes will commence a second development comprised of 720 apartments, making additional living options possible for those who don't currently own a home but wish to make a difference for the environment.

It will be the first net-zero rental community of this size, with cost-affordable pricing designed to provide people of varying income levels with the opportunity to live in a greener residence.

"We are thrilled to partner with Pearl Homes, the unparalleled leader in building LEED Platinum homes in the U.S., as we upend the traditional homebuilding vision and replace it with one based on decarbonizing the grid and establishing a complete solution for green living that is affordable for a much broader market," said Richetta.

"Together with our partners at Pearl Homes and Google Home, we are effectively demonstrating the intersection between renewable energy, home automation and homebuilding, establishing a blueprint for the affordable clean energy home of the future," Richetta said.

The first-of-its-kind community is designed to declutter wires of the local utility grid, providing load-shaping throughout the day to support intelligent demand management. It will also establish smart configurable backup that provides resiliency and peace of mind for homeowners in the face of storms and other natural disasters all while living a cleaner lifestyle than any other development in the country.

"For years, energy experts have sought an answer to the solar conundrum: how to generate and store enough solar for our homes," said Marshall Gobuty, president of Sarasota, Florida-based Pearl Homes.

Pearl Home Model Master Bedroom 2.png

Image via Pearl Homes


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"Sonnen's technology in combination with our LEED Platinum home design has changed the equation for the ability to truly optimize smart homes using solar plus storage to the point where we are capable of building sustainable communities that share solar and decarbonize the region, one Pearl Home at a time," Richetta said.

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