New American Greenish Home 2009


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

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  • Chris

    Bah, more conspicuous eco-consumption. What’s the cost/sq ft of this massive monument to environmental self-awareness? Unfortunately, I perceive homes like this as having all the enviro-sincerity of an Al Gore presentation on global warming (What’s Al’s monthly electricity usage again?). I hate to sound like a Negative Nancy, but most of this stuff is still decidedly in the realm of the celebrity fringe who have made the Earth its trendy cause du jour. Someday we will all be able to afford LED lighting and solar panels, but that day is not today (or tomorrow, or…).

    • Bilbilla

      Did anybody answer your price question, Chris? I would like to know…

  • Sea Wolf

    I understand the point of the annual IBS dream home, and for showcasing prodcuts and ideas, I suppose it has its place. But as a paradigm of sustainable living, it’s not even greenish, it’s a total sham. Please. My argument is actually much broader than a beef about this absurdist showboat. We’ve got to get past the idea that there’s anything reasonable about houses like this one. It really makes no difference how many gazillion green features they have or even if they’re net zero. We’re trying to rebuild our culture — not just our houses — so that we can continue to live into the future without imperiling either ourselves or the planet and all its forms of life. Show me how this house helps us in that regard. I mean, really. My mother’s little cottage in Connecticut, which has no ostensibly green features, I promise you gets us further down the road.

    • Anonymous

      As a builder, we know there are many shades of green for each of our clients, further we support the notion that there is a potential client somewhere, who would state that the house highlighted above is the type of “green” home they would wish to build… as builders of green homes who are we to argue?
      If it hasn’t been said enough in the news over the past 6 months, we are a consumer society, and the IBS and the New American Home aren’t about to let that notion die for the sake of their Trade Show. I think the majority of readers of this blog know there is better way to build green then what’s being advertised above.

      • Helene

        i’m curious when it comes to people who object to the consumption of anything remotely luxurious about where they would draw the line – what level of consumption do you believe is ok?

        • Anonymous

          Again as a builder our company promotes green building. We also promote green building that takes place within our clients stated budget. We can’t push our personal values of whats more green than something else on to them, that’s bad business. We attempt to provide them with a lot of information to assist them in making informed decisions.
          To your question, again like the question of what’s green? the answer to a level of luxury or consumption is always going to be subjective for each individual based on their goals, means, and life experiences. We are a free people and are free to consume as much as we want. Which is most important. What I advocate people to consider is the alternative to consuming more and coming up with a new way to achieve the same result. That’s all.

        • Sea Wolf

          I’ll speak just for myself. My opinion is that the showhouse is a poor example of green design and a shameful paradigm for a New American Home. I don’t think saying so obligates me to draw a line on luxury, any more than opinioning that a pornographic depiction of physical abuse is sick obligates me to draw a line on what is and is not pornography. I don’t believe a line CAN be drawn on luxury or green; what’s more important is that each of us wrestle CONTINUALLY with the question of where we’re comfortable. Our collective response to such questions is sure to fall across a range. But I do think we need to move the bulge of that range in the direction of sustainability. There will still be those who will build houses like the showhouse; I’m not so concerned about that; our economy will never be big enough to allow more than a few to do so. But my hope is that fewer of us will aspire to such houses. That our paradigm of a New American Home will fall within a range that is more modest than what this showhouse represents, in keeping with a more mindful sense of our place on the earth.

  • SphereTrending

    I made it through the home two days ago and while I agree that the home is a great way for IBS to showcase new innovation and products, I don’t agree that the home is “less ostenacious”. 9000 sq. ft. is certainly not the norm for the average American family. On the shuttle bus heading back to the convention center I overheard two builders talking and I think they summed it up the best. They said, “Nice home, but isn’t the true New American Home 3 bedrooms, 2 baths for $168K? I’d like to see that one.” I agree… I’d like to see Builder and IBS create affordable innovation and show me the New American Family Home! A solar heated, invisible edge pool is great, but I think that pool cost more than my house!

  • Jim

    Green or not, this house is ugly as sin and I would not want to live in it.

  • Bill Randall

    Nice hotel… you said “ironic”, but did you really mean “moronic”?

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