Fox Res LEED Platinum Certification is Official 12 07 2012

I am (very) late in posting this. It has been a busy season.

On December 7 2012 I received the email from the USGBC indicating our Platinum status. What a relief!

Project #: 10186
Dear Stephen Bender,
USGBC is extremely pleased to approve the certification of the LEED home at 612 SW 5th Terrace, Gainesville, FL, USA built by Tom Fox & Ben Bressack, and supported by the LEED for Homes Provider, Florida Solar Energy Center. This project received a “LEED Platinum” rating. Congratulations!

Achieving LEED certification is fairly straightforward but it requires planning, execution and follow up. I need to thank the members of our team who contributed toward the success of this certification.

Thanks go first to Tom for having the desire to do something different and share it with the world, and the tenacity it required to keep going. It is, after all, for the betterment of the world that he went through all this! He’ll be sharing for a long time. It is a very generous project. Thank you Tom.

Thanks go to my design team engineer Greg Wayland.

Thanks to the builders. The project would have been very different were it not for Ben Bressack, Building Contractor and John Andrews, welder, who led the container efforts. Thanks also to Jim Kesl, Jim White and Jeremy Brown for a can-do anything attitude.

Thanks to the City of Gainesville, Building Department, under the leadership of Building Official Doug Murdock and Inspector Tom Panico, for being a true partner in the building process; for finding solutions rather than problems. Thanks for the support of Planning and Development Director Erik Bredfeldt and Planning Manager Ralph Hilliard.

Thank you to Jennifer Langford, AIA, CNU, PA and the USGBC Heart of Florida Chapter for sponsoring and coordinating a few of our public tours.

Finally, and not least, thanks to our green team, led by Mary Alford, PE, LEED AP, for their ideas, suggestions, tracking and accountability. Helping along the way were Mike Amish (now with Sustainable UF), Tricia Kyzar, Theresa Spurling-Wood.

If you are interested to see what it takes, or maybe go after it yourself, see the information visit the USGB site, LEED for Homes!

Fox Container Residence on First Coast News


Tom’s shipping container home is in the news again! Check out the coverage at


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Fox Residence Open House 02 25 2012

Fox Residence Open House 02 25 2012

Despite the harsh cold of winter morning, the open house was a success. Over 500 + Gainesville residences came to support the container house. The Open House started strong with guided tours by the architect and owner. Tours were short but elaborate, roughly 20 minutes each. Visitors were informed of spatial programmings and sustainable design concepts of the project. With minimal restrictions [safety purposes], visitors were free to explore independently within the three story structure. The itinerary of tours ended on the roof top deck with visitors gazing over downtown Gainesville wondering what future has in store for container constructions.

Here are some pictures from the Open House.


Gainesville Sun Artice Features Fox Residence

Comments from the architect…

As with most reporting, things don’t come across like you mean it.  The following quote was from a conversation regarding the home’s construction. The article reads, “Once you get inside the house,” he said, “it’s fairly conventional.” However, the design of the interior is spatially crafted to fit the owner’s specific needs, provide light, air, view and allow minimum heat gain all within the constraints of the container form. It is not “conventional” in that sense. The interior is, however, constructed using conventional materials (2x4s and drywall)!

Why even ask if it is an eyesore? …especially in the articles title. What title sets the tone! You can do better than that! Chad, there is more to your article than “controversy!” I’ll never understand why the press gives so much space to the one and only nay-sayer in the neighborhood…

How about this title, “Gainesville Residence proposes a different way to think about home”.

Please come see this overwhelmingly positive addition to Gainesville’s way of life!

Fox Residence Final Tours February 25 – 9am thru 3pm

Please don’t miss this opportunity. This will be the last tour session (famous last words). The building permit is closed out, final LEED inspections and testing are underway and Tom is working through the details (finishes, millwork and paint). It’s not finished, but it’s finished enough! Come see this one of a kind Gainesville home. 612 SW 5th Terrace Gainesville Florida (click for a map). Please park in the block north of the site.

A New Years Message to Gainesville From Tom 12 29 2011

I want to thank the City of Gainesville.

Especially the City Commissioners and Building Dept under the good leadership of Doug Murdock. This innovative house needed an innovative permit process and the City came through. That is one of the important hurdles we had to overcome.

With Stephen Bender’s design and Greg Wayland’s engineering, with Ben Bressack as the contractor, and a team of other amazing people like welder John Andrews, we had a great team. It built a wonderful house.

This house is designed to have a positive ecological foot print by using recycled materials and having a solar system that was made in the great USA. The extra steel for supports was made in the USA. All appliances are Energy Star or better. The new hot water system is the most environmentally friendly Gas system made. This gas system is the first one to have been installed in the southeastern USA.

I am making more electricity than I am using through the first month. This during the shortest days of the year; December. The rest of the year should be better. This house is hurricane proof. Maybe tornado proof but I don’t want to test that! No termite will bring this house down. All this cost less than a conventional home the same size. If Americans used these concepts when building homes, this nation could end its foreign oil dependency and it could transform the economy very quickly. If Americans built houses like this each would make a great contribution to solving environmental problems and lessening the impact buildings have on climate change.

I built this house to give people the idea that we can all help solve our biggest problems by changing the way we think about our most important physical investment, our homes. I have repaired my carbon footprint problem and I am saving money over the life of my home. Who doesn’t want to save money?

Have a great end of the year! Thanks Gainesville!

Happy New Year!

A Long Awaited Progress Post – Date Range 09 15 2011 thru 11 30 2011

This post is very late. I have excuses, but I won’t bore you with them. Instead I will apologize for not getting these images up as the action was occurring.

Needless to say, a lot has happened in the last three months. Solar structures and solar panels have been installed, insulation and interior wall finishes are installed, roofing is installed and most importantly, Tom has achieved his Certificate of Occupancy meaning that his building permit is officially closed out! Read on, this is a long one…

09 15 2011 Solar Tree Construction

The structures I designed for Tom’s solar array are going up.


09 20 2011 Insulating Between Floors

Here is a pic of the floor insulation being installed. Tom cut strips of container floor out along each side and filled the space between roof/floor of stacked containers with cellulose (recycled paper) insulation. Also, Tom was able to get a couple of rolls of chain link fence that was being taken down on the rails to trails at the end of the block. We will reuse the fence on the green wall.


09 20 2011 Green Wall Frame

Tom’s green wall will be a prototype; built out of recycled material (chain link fence), and outfitted with micro pumps fed from a rainwater harvest cistern. There will be a sensible variety of plants; edibles within hands reach, colorful flowering above, and airophytes toward the top. Pretty much what Tom always envisioned. The consultant has even mentioned using wind powered pumps for the cistern. Very cool.

Tom says, “One of the main reasons I pumped all my money into this was to push the boundaries and give people environmental options like this green wall.” All the best – Tom


09 20 2011 Work Around the Site

some pics of the new sidewalk…
solar powered driveway gate…
recycled steel hand rail…
some interior doors…
solar tree and the priming…
mini split AC/heaters on wall…
The energy rating stickers on the minis 23seer…
the vision triangle concrete border…


10 27 2011 Solar Is Up

The solar panels are up and will be making power soon. I have inserted some of the digital model images for fun…


11 11 2011 Roof System Preparation

Here are some pics showing how Tom epoxied the roof. He made sure all the welds were clean and then sealed the roof using a 100% solids two-part epoxy. Then he will use Super Therm to cover the entire living area of the roof.


11 11 2011 Elastomeric Application (Super Therm)

All white with a few leaves that fell. I might need to figure out some kind of grate system since I noticed shoes will dirty it up


11 30 2011 Solar Power

Tom is happy to announce that the solar system is now on. He has passed all building department final inspections on the container house. There are still a few details to finish; flooring, LEED inspections and blower door test, painting the exterior, landscaping, etc.

Fox Residence Solar Structures 09 14 2011

Construction has begun on the structures that support the solar panel installation. These inverted steel pyramids tree like elements hold twelve panels each for a total array of 8kw. At thirty feet off the ground in this neighborhood you are at the point in the oaks where branching begins. These structures are designed to evoke this branching.