Article No: 231

2008-04-03 11:48:46
The New American Home Celebrates 25 Years

built by Robertson Homes • design by The Sater Group • interior design by Robb & Stuckey Interiors
landscaping by Outside Productions • photography by James F. Wilson
Each year, The New American Home, the official showcase home of the International Builders’ Show (IBS), brings the building industry’s latest trends and products to show attendees.

This year’s showcase home was especially important, as it marked the project’s silver anniversary. The New American Home celebrated its 25th year with a plantation-style home located in the prestigious Waters Edge subdivision, a gated, 11-lot development adjacent to a private golf and country club community along the banks of Orlando’s Lake Nona. On display February 13–16 during the 2008 IBS in Orlando, The New American Home (TNAH) project served as a real-world laboratory to introduce the latest theories and concepts in architectural design, product development, construction techniques, and lifestyle trends.

The National Council of the Housing Industry (NCHI)/Leading Suppliers of NAHB co-sponsor the construction of the show home along with other media sponsors. Since 1984, TNAH has been both a show house and a for-sale product, balancing architectural freedom and the bottom line. The 2008 New American Home is a collaborative effort between designer The Sater Group, builder Robertson Homes, interior designer Robb & Stuckey, and landscaper Outside Productions.

This year’s TNAH celebrates another anniversary—it is the fifth consecutive show house to rely on concrete structural elements. The home’s exterior walls make extensive use of autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks provided by Aercon Industries. AAC consists of lightweight, air-entrained concrete blocks or panels that can be cut to fit any dimension. AAC provides superior energy efficiency, resistance to fires, termites and mold, and enhanced sound attenuation.

AAC is a green product from the start of its manufacturing process, according to Mike Quaka, general manager of Aercon. “We chose to participate in this year’s show home because we believe Americans are looking for a better way to build their dream home—a way that is respectful of the environment they will leave to their children, and good for their own health and well-being. AAC products fit both of these desires,” says Quaka.

Quaka explains the benefits of building with AAC: “AAC brings the workability of wood to an inorganic green material that is completely recyclable, produced with little or no waste, and ready for use after a short 24-hour manufacturing process. Because of today’s economic trends in both labor and materials, the installed price is now comparable to other structural building materials, while the benefits far outweigh them.

In addition to AAC, the New American Home has several hundred yards of poured concrete for further structural support. Other concrete products used in the home will include a Portland cement-based stucco finish and concrete roof tiles from Monier LifeTile.

The 6,725-square-foot home is located near a lakefront park and boat dock. Inside the two-story home is a family suite on the main level designed to accommodate an elderly parent or long-term guest. The expansive floor plan also includes a first-floor full master suite, an open kitchen, leisure room, private balcony, sunroom, and an upstairs club room equipped with theater-quality entertainment.

The home’s 2,950 square feet of covered outdoor space includes an outdoor kitchen and salon with a fireplace and arch openings to the lake view and landscaped pool and spa. Equipped with a pair of two-car garages facing a motor court, the home offers easy access to the kitchen and family suite.

During the IBS, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) launched the NAHB National Green Building Program. The 2008 New American Home is distinguished as the first official show home built and certified to the program’s scoring tool. While the past several New American Home projects have been energy-efficient and certified through the Florida Green Building Coalition, this is the first show home in history to be certified under NAHB’s new program.

According to the NAHB, The New American Home is constructed using a systems-engineering approach incorporating NAHB’s Green Building Guidelines and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program. Each component of the home was selected and integrated into the project through a systems approach of designing, testing, and redesigning. All of the home’s components work together in harmony to achieve maximum performance. This year’s home achieves high levels of efficiency through advanced HVAC equipment, use of AAC, careful installation of insulation, air sealing, and high performance windows. The show home will be Energy Star rated, certified green, and an environmentally friendly home under standards set forth by the Florida Green Building Coalition, an organization dedicated to eco-friendly construction practices.

TNAH 2008 uses approximately 62 percent less energy for heating and cooling, and 57 percent less energy for water heating compared to a house of comparable size in that climate. To ensure energy efficiency and innovation, two federal Department of Energy Building America teams worked closely with NCHI. IBACOS, Inc., provided design and engineering support, and the Industrial Housing Partnership provided performance testing.

Among the many other green building features of the 2008 home are an irrigation system using a rain sensor, manufactured floor trusses, water-conserving and energy-efficient appliances, a saltwater versus chlorine swimming pool, and Low-VOC paints throughout.

 “The 2008 home not only showcases the latest cutting-edge products and innovations, but it is also very exciting that it is the first official show home to be certified under the NAHB National Green Building Program,” says Charles B. Robertson, Ph.D., president of Robertson Homes, Inc., of St. Cloud, Florida. “We are very proud to have our home mark this important milestone and celebrate the 25-year history of The New American Home project.”