The First Defines The Future

More than 25 years ago, Florida House was the first green building open to the public in the United States. Since then we have been advancing an ethos for sustainable practices on behalf of energy and water conservation, recycling and landscape design. In 2021, Florida House Institute became a subsidiary of Southface Institute, a leading innovator in sustainability work for research, advocacy, workforce development training and nonprofit grants. Today, this new partnership anchors our work with communities along Florida’s Gulf Coast, and the two organizations are now Southface Sarasota— your voice for a sustainable Florida.

The Grounds

Florida House

The Florida House is a water-and-energy conserving demonstration house that integrates scientific principles and sustainable living practices as a part of the foundation of our facility in Sarasota. Through our community partnerships, the Florida House demonstrates energy efficient technologies from high performance, all LED lighting, foam insulation and solar panels that power everything from the AC to the water heater.

The Garden

Our facility also showcases landscape development focused on three areas: watershed balance, food supply and biodiversity. Stormwater is retained on-site through a combination of infiltration, pervious pavers and rain water cisterns. The lush gardens serve as an educational tour with many edible and native ecosystem-crucial plants among our collection.

Sarasota Programs


In collaboration with the City of Sarasota, Southface Sarasota works to support the development of the city’s green building, clean energy and energy efficiency policy. Leveraging our building science, sustainable development and planning expertise, we are helping the city shape its goals with an eye toward building a more resilient community, especially for underserved families and businesses.

Educational Mission

Our grounds help provide a platform to share current sustainable design practices with the public through a variety of dynamic classes and workshops. We work closely with Suncoast Technical College trade students and local K-12 students.


Healthy Homes

Southface has long worked in the indoor air quality space. Within this work, Southface Sarasota is teaming up with the Sarasota Housing Authority and the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation to develop a plan for renovations that can both reduce energy and water use—and utility bills– while also improving residents’ health.

Low-Impact Development

In collaboration with other sustainability leaders, initiatives and coalitions, Southface Sarasota works to address watershed restoration, increase community resilience, advance energy equity, and support green building and infrastructure plans.

Nonprofit Grants

Southface’s GoodUse program helps nonprofits reduce their costs through regrants to support energy and water efficiency projects. With the money saved on their utility bills, they can direct more funds to their mission-critical work. Two Sarasota nonprofits—the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County and All Faiths food bank—are among those participating in the program.

Leveraging our GoodUse program to complement and enhance the Partners for Green Places program, we will help support nonprofits in building capacity by reducing their energy and water use.

University Collaborations

We cultivate relationships with universities in our community, including:

University of South Florida

New College of Florida

Workforce Development

We aim to build the green workforce in Sarasota through our trainings, ongoing educational programming, and partnerships with local businesses to ensure a pipeline of highly-skilled talent.

Our Location


(941) 924-2050


Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Tours available from 10-12 on Fridays.

HOA Tour

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program recently revealed that 61-74% of pollutant loading into Sarasota Bay is from stormwater. These pollutants exacerbate harmful red tide algal blooms and seagrass losses. HOA members are invited to a series of special tours of the Florida House and gardens to learn how stormwater can be managed and retained on your property and in your community.

HOA Tours are only available on these days:

2021: October 15, November 12, December 10 from 10-11am

2022: January 14, February 11, March 11,  April 15 from 10-11am

Tour Registration

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    Tours are only available on Friday's from 10-12