'New American Home': Huge, But Green

new american home"The New American Home" was unveiled at the 2011 International Builders' Show, the biggest trade show of the National Association of Home Builders that is now taking place in Orlando.

For 28 years, IBS showcases new products, the latest design innovations and building technologies by incorporating them all under one roof, and one theme, in a home that is typically put up for sale after the show. However, this year, due to the economy and the potential financial losses of building a home on spec, this year's New American Home (TNAH) is a 9,689-square-foot custom residence that is being constructed for specific buyers who were on board before ground was even broken. (Last year's home went into foreclosure before the project was completed, as we reported in "New American Home Goes MIA.")

The theme this year covers green technology, as the Greek Revival style home with an American Empire design has achieved "Emerald" status, the highest status under the National Green Building Standard. The home (pictured left and below) is expected to consume 42 percent less energy than if it were built to the minimum code standards, saving the homeowners about $2,085 in annual energy savings, says the NAHB. Overall, the two-story limestone-clad home uses 77 percent less energy for heating and 83 percent less energy for cooling compared to a similar home in the same climate zone.

The home has only three bedrooms, but also has an in-law suite with its own bedroom, kitchen, laundry room and living room, as well as a carriage house with a six-bay garage and a 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom suite. All in all, this home was truly designed to be a multi-generational living space.

The main kitchen features multiple work zones with staggered and stacked cabinetry at an entertainment wall with storage for dishes, books and audio-visual equipment. The work island, made of DuPont Corian, has an elevated countertop and eating area.

The master suite, with black heart hardwood flooring, has a sitting room the size of some other home's living room. The master bath, with low-flow shower head and faucets and a dual-flush toilet, also has a steam generator in the
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shower. The master closet has a built-in armoire with hidden storage for shoes and sweaters, and a wall-mounted tie and belt cabinet, and of course built-in drawers.

The rear exterior of the home, which opens to a palm court with a swimming pool and fountains, has an entertainment area and a fully-functional kitchen that has not only a grill, but also a smoker, deep fryer and pizza oven.

With panoramic views of Lake Davis and the Orlando skyline, as well as stained glass front entry doors, the home has integrated controls for operating motorized draperies, lighting, a music system and the security system that notifies homeowners when they are away.

The home's other green building features include masonry block construction for exterior walls, a solar-assisted HVAC system, an 80-gallon solar hot water heater with gas backup, open and closed spray foam insulation in different parts of the house. And 60 percent of all interior and exterior lamps are energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps, but around the edge of the dining room ceiling there is LED lighting that uses even less energy.

The design adheres to the green goals in various ways, including the use of drought-tolerant native plants and artificial turf. Trees and shrubs were placed in a way that provides shading and sun control to both the home and exterior living spaces. A water-efficient drip irrigation system combines with other water-regulating systems to capture rain water into an underground storage tank so it can be reused.

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