Article No: 83

2006-05-02 06:56:45
European-Style ICF Home
By: Concrete Homes

The $1.8 million New American Home in Las Vegas, Nev. is a testament to the versatility and beauty of concrete and cement-based products. The 5,180-square-foot home is located in the gated community of the Lake at West Sahara.

Photos by Erin O'Boyle, courtesy of PCA

The New American Home 2004 (TNAH), the International Builders' Show official show home, is based on a modern loft design, and has been designed to reach a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 90 (well above the current Energy Star rating requirement of 86), thanks to a high number of high performance technologies, including insulating concrete forms (ICFs). The home will use 46 percent less energy for space heating and cooling, hot water and lighting than a standard home.

Specific technologies used in this home include a foundation system of ICFs; a roof system built with structural insulated panels; heat recovery ventilators for the ventilation system; and superior efficiency condensing units.

The ICFs provide excellent baseline insulation for the basement. Structural insulated panels provide the roof system with proper insulation and air tightness characteristics. The roof will be finished with copper shingles that will reflect sunlight away from the house reducing roof surface temperatures and thus cooling load. Heat recovery ventilators ensure good indoor air quality in an efficient manner. The condensing units have a SEER of 13 or 14 and provide excellent cooling capacity while using minimal energy.

This is the first time since 1994 that concrete provides the vast majority of the structural elements. ICFs make up the high performance envelope for the below- and above-grade walls. In addition to the envelope, concrete is also used for the flooring, decking and exterior finish.

The architecture of TNAH 2004 creates an interior that provides shelter, light and creativity for the owner.

Three different concrete flooring techniques, integrated with decorative finishing, appear on all three levels, as well as the exterior decks. The exterior finish features decorative concrete masonry and stucco with exposed masonry functioning as a beautiful interior wall finish.

The loft is an increasingly important option in the new home market. The versatile loft presents many options, offering exciting new features that can help builders take advantage of growing markets.

The home integrates interior and exterior in the layout of the house, which is typically European, where homes serve generations.

There are two suites for guests or children downstairs. Both rooms have access to a small patio. Outdoor stairs lead up to the waterfront side.

The home cinema, which serves as a small lounge, is an informal downstairs room with the best home theater equipment available. Different styles of lounge furniture were informally placed on the floor and this area is not a basement; it is a lower-level living area with direct light access. Another small patio is located at the end of the hallway that houses a wonderful sculpture.

In the Las Vegas climate, the living room and outdoor living areas are usually separated. In The New American Home 2004, there are several outdoor terraces, but one of the main features is a 16-foot-high living area that opens up to the waterside terrace. This room becomes a part of the outdoors; the outdoors becomes part of the indoor. The mosaic floor continues from the inside to the outside. When the huge sash doors open up, the living room and terrace, then become one.

The upstairs master suite, which has a loft-feel to it, has a veranda with a view of the waterside that provides privacy by copper louvers. This privacy is needed because the veranda has an outdoor bathtub and shower. The "floating roof" is technically unique and the light is spectacular. There are hardwood floors, a marble mosaic master bathroom and a seating area with a bathtub.

The front side of the house has a 400-square-foot terrace that has a spa and workout equipment. This terrace also is "walled" in by louvers. From this side of the house there is a view of the mountains. A pool overlooks Sahara Lake. Even this pool is located in such a way that it provides privacy. The long pool overflows into a pond that overflows into the lake. This, of course creates a beautiful dramatic effect.