The New American Home at IBS 2012

This is The New American Home — a project built every year in conjunction with the NAHB’s International Builders’ Show — in Orlando, Florida.  The 4,000 square-foot home collected eight green building certifications, including LEED Platinum and NAHB Emerald, and is expected to consume 52% less energy than a standard home of similar size.  Plus, a 4.0 kW solar array provides about 18% of annual energy needs.

For the record, TNAH received or qualified for NAHB Emerald, LEED-H Platinum, Energy Star, Indoor airPlus, Florida Green Building Coalition Platinum, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Designation, Florida Water Star Gold, and the DOE’s Builders Challenge.

In many respects, TNAH was built for energy efficiency.  The blower door test measured 0.35 air changes per hour at a negative pressure of 50 Pascals — solidly in Passive House territory for this one measurement.  To minimize air leakage, spray foam was used on the underside of the roof deck and around penetrations and framing.

Elsewise, TNAH has heavily insulated ICF exterior walls, low-e coated and argon-filled windows, an Energy Star roof covering, an 18 SEER air-source heat pump system, sealed ductwork, a solar hot water system, Energy Star appliances, and LED and CFL lighting.

TNAH is completely geeked out with an energy management system to shift energy usage to off-peak periods, full home automation and control by smartphone or tablet, motorized exterior solar screens and interior privacy shades, a home security system with mobile control, and a central vacuum system that vents debris to the outside.

The New American Home was designed by Architecture by Phil Kean, LLC and built by Phil Kean Designs, Inc.  At 4,181 square feet, it’s one of the smallest TNAH projects in many years and could very well be the greenest.  The home has six bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a gallery and bar, a lanai and pool, and a three-car garage.

[+] More photos of the construction and final home from the IBS 2012 Flickr set.

Credits: James F. Wilson; Timberlake Cabinetry (exterior yard photo only). 


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  • Jeremiah

    A 4.0 Kwh system only provides 18% of the homes energy needs??!! WTF!!??

    • Garret Olson

      Well, I wonder if they need to heat that pool. Could be killer.  

      I am continually amazed at these 4,000+ sqft builds.  I think there is a market out there for well-built 1600-2200 sqft homes that exhibit energy efficiency.  In this economic climate, seems efficiency would be of increasing interest.  These large homes are out-of-reach for many and others are just not interested.  Lets see more classical or modern homes in price ranges from 250k-400k, even then, that might be too high $$.

      • Monster

        That is what Im saying but I think your size and price range might be too high still.

        • Jeremiah

           A truly “affordable” home should be under $200k. 3 bedrooms (or 2 with office) and at least 1 1/2 baths with detached garage (unless urban infill). A typical married middle class couple in their late 20s early 30s can not afford your typical home at $250k or above. Hell, most people in their 30s and 40s can’t afford a home at $250k+. Not if they want to do other stuff like….eat.

  • Monster

    Dammnit! most Americans are not living in luxury 4000 sq foot homes with a pool, make a affordable and mass produce-able yet customisble 1200-1500 sq foot home with 3 bed rooms at and least a bath and half should be he priority for NAHB. Or multifamily designs that are more desireable to a wider swath of people.

    • Jeremiah

       Luckily there are dozens of designers and architects out there designing exactly that – affordable modular housing that is expandable or retractable depending on changing needs.

  • Lawrence Martin

    The following is merely my opinion. You can take it or leave it.

    Regardless of the fact that the house was way too big for normal folk, they have more bathrooms than most apartment buildings and the layout was poorly thought out.  Look at the location of the outdoor kitchen with regard to the real kitchen. 4,100 sf and they couldn’t figure out how to get to the mechanical room without going through the master toilet room.  Oh yeah, I really like the open master toilet (sarcasm). For an extra $200 they could throw a door on it and give it some privacy.  Also, the lanai is a silly idea for a national model.  Most of the US has winter and the lanai / front door arrangement is awkward at best.  I guess it is Florida after all. 

    I guess this blog is all about green architecture.  Since the point is that rich people will always build big wasteful houses like this, at least they are trying to be less destructive to the environment than if they simply ignored all the green issues. 

  • mothermary

    This ostentatious home is not at all representative of “the new american home”. It is HUGE. It is wasteful. It is a glorified McMansion.

  • Gary

    I toured this house at the Builders Show.  As one would expect, it was all about flash and not terribly practical or cutting wedge in terms of energy efficiency.  Lots of wasted space (only 2BRs, a 600+ sf “gallery” with cathedral ceiling that will rarely be used); and way too many windows for a ~1/4 acre in town lot with neighbors a stone’s throw away (great for exhibitionists).  Greenwashing galore.  More McMansion rubbish.  The NAHB needs to get back to basics, using the show house to set an example for best practices in terms of overall efficiency.  Next year it should be a modest Passive House.

  • Lloyd

    It is funny, because it is the first of the New American Homes that I ever liked at all. Of course it is too big and you could spend your life cleaning bathrooms, but it is a show home for the building industry, and shows some really interesting things, like rear lane garages, some understanding of dealing with climate, and some decent modern design. Knock off the stupid gallery at the rear and it isn’t so big and has some architectural merit. 

    There is enough tech crap in there to run google, but if you look past the gizmos, there is some merit in this one.

    • Gary

       @Lloyd, I didn’t say the whole thing was awful.  It had some good points in terms of aesthetics.  I appreciate well done modern as much as the next guy.  Given where the new home market has been over the last 4 years and where it’s going to be for many years to come, particularly in central FL, it’s more than time to move away from over-the-top houses for the one percenters. Reality is these show houses are about advertising for sponsors who spend a lot of money for product placement. 

  • Steve Andrews20

    It’s the size that matters.  I still can’t wrap my head around these oversized “green houses”.  They are not affordable and mostly overbuilt.  What do we truly need in a house?  And the NAHB isn’t who I would turn in building an affordable home.  The mere fact that they call this “The New American Home” is a joke. 

  • Naveenpise

    What a green building awesome!!!!! before commenting understand the basic behind it friends

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