As the world descends upon Las Vegas for IBS 2009, undoubtedly, many will be walking through a stylish and posh idea house designed for the show.  The New American Home is a running tradition and every year brings another one.  I guess you could say it's a real life exhibition of the latest and greatest trends in home design.  This year, as mentioned by BusinessWeek earlier, the trends include indoor/outdoor living, basement inclusion, the home office, wireless technology, less ostentation, and having a green badge of honor.  The New American Home 2009 is claimed to be net-zero energy (based on the combined efforts of super efficiency and on-site power generation), and is definitely technologically advanced.  Let's look further …



Realists, pragmatists, or anyone else in the construction industry faced with the current economics realities may notice that TNAH 2009 is still large and in charge: it's a sprawling 8,721 square feet in size.  It has four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a great room, a rejuvenation room, a home office, and tons of blended indoor/outdoor spaces, etc.  Maybe the downfall of the construction industry isn't enough to pare down the extravagance of the New American Home. 

But that's not to say the New American Home isn't incredible.  It's beautiful and for the size, it's pretty energy efficient:

  • 55% whole house energy savings compared to benchmark (w/o solar)
  • 77% whole house energy savings compared to benchmark (w/ solar)
  • Total utility costs are ~$2,500 per year (electrical & natural gas)
  • There's a 10.64 kW solar pv system made of 56 solar panels

In the past, experts have theorized that efficiency and green technology gains will be neutralized by larger homes, but I've already said enough about this in the paragraph above.  This home effectively uses green technology such as ICFs, LED lighting, tankless water heaters, Energy Star appliances, airtight building construction, energy efficient windows, etc.  All this is good, and I can certainly recognize that the world would be a better place if all new construction going forward featured such an emphasis on energy efficiency.

Update: 1/21/09 – DVICE has more images and information on this home, which they're calling Microsoft's New American Home




Photo credits: James F. Wilson