Steel solar home, offered at an affordable price!

The longtime East Naples businessman built the home so he could offer it as a more affordable and environmentally friendly place to live in Collier County. He plans to sell the house to one of his crew leaders for $300,000. He built the prototype single-family home — made out of metal — because he grew tired of seeing so many workers in town including teachers, firefighters, nurses and other essential employees, struggling to find an obtainable place to live in the county. 

The home is made from pre-engineered, pre-insulated steel panels. Henderson used the same building materials, supplied by Star Building Systems in Oklahoma City, for both projects.

Henderson estimates the monthly mortgage payment for the new home at $1,300. That compares to $3,700 to rent the average house and $1,700 to rent a smaller two-bedroom apartment, with one bathroom, in Collier County, he said. According to the latest report by Florida Realtors, the median price for existing homes, or resales, in Collier County rose by more than 4% to $499,500 in April. The median is the price at which half the homes sell for more and half for less. With a roof and walls of steel and storm-resistant windows and doors, the home has been built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with 180 mph winds.

The house can take care of itself. Solar panels on the roof of the 1,500-square-foot home produce more power than the home needs, which will allow the owner to send energy back into the power grid and greatly reduce his monthly electric bill. Twenty solar panels on the roof produce 6.4 kilowatts of power, which on average is expected to generate 24 kwh per day. That's enough to cover power bills in the range of $100 to $130 per month. 

"We make so much electricity here, it's almost like a factory," Henderson said. With the installation of a simple adapter, he said, the owner of the home could charge an electric car and never have to pay a gas bill. No wood was used in the structure, so Henderson said termites would "starve to death" if they ever got inside the home.  

The house doesn't have soffit or any exterior openings in any part of the walls or roofing, and there isn't an attic, making it waterproof, Henderson said."There are no trusses. All of the other houses require trusses," he said.

Recent data shows there's been a 15% increase in building metal homes, although they're still few and far between when compared to the number of traditional homes. With a modern industrial feel, the house has exposed metal beams throughout and vaulted ceilings. It was staged by a local interior designer, with simplicity in mind. 

Also, there's little waste with the assembly of the home. described the prototype home as a great concept that's waterproof, windproof, fireproof and insect-proof. 

"Maintenance, upkeep and recurring expenses, like power and insurance, all factor into a home’s affordability. With a product that has virtually no power bill, significant insurance savings, and little to no maintenance required, it allows buyers to stretch their housing dollars further," he said.

Henderson qualified to have his building permits and inspections fast-tracked in the county, which helped speed up the building schedule. 

By selling the home to an employee with a moderate income, the house also qualified for a deferral of impact fees, reducing final costs by a little more than $21,000.