Concrete Thinking Think Concrete
Case Studies  > The New American Home® 2009
Striving for Net-Zero Energy – The New American Home 2009®
Print   eMail

Each year The New American Home® (TNAH) demonstrates that superior housing performance can be built into any house, anywhere, at any price range.  And from 2004-2009, concrete wall systems have provided the energy-efficient building envelope for this high-performing official Show Home of the National Association of Home Builders.


TNAH 2009, which debuted at the International Builders' Show® in Las Vegas, Jan. 20-23, 2009, again showcases the exceptional savings concrete systems provide homebuilders and homeowners.  The exterior structural walls and basement foundation walls are built with insulating concrete forms (ICFs), which sandwich concrete between two insulating layers of foam.
                                                                                                                       The New American Home® of 2009


In addition to the high R-value (up to 50) derived from the foam insulation, the thermal mass of the concrete walls helps the home achieve its high level of energy efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program estimates the home uses approximately 70 percent less energy for heating and 61 percent less energy for cooling than a comparably sized wood frame home in a similar climate. These levels far exceed the ENERGY STAR requirement of being at least 15 percent more energy efficient than a typical home.


Additionally, the home benefits from a comprehensive design approach to achieve extraordinary energy efficiency.  A proprietary gas-powered heating and cooling system with a SEER rating of 18 combined with other energy-efficient features such as low-E windows, advanced insulation, vertical and horizontal solar overhangs and window louvers enabled the home to achieve a Five Star-Plus HERS rating of 57.  This is before factoring the installation of a 12,000+ khz solar panel system striving for a net-zero level of electrical consumption.


                                                                                  The solar panels that provide an alternate source of energy

To help limit water and energy demand, TNAH was sited to optimize solar resources and incorporates landscape design. The development avoided environmentally sensitive areas. Soil erosion and disturbance was kept to a minimum with storm water pollution prevention plans and continued on-site monitoring and implementation of best management practices.


Concrete systems and products provide the home with other environmental and comfort benefits.  Concrete walls are resistant to termites, fires, wind, hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.  Especially important for this home are the excellent soundproofing qualities of concrete since it is located just five minutes from Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. Concrete walls can reduce sound penetration by more than 80 percent, compared to wood-frame construction.


To minimize the quantity of materials used and reduce waste, the builder employed advanced framing techniques including pre-manufactured trusses and floor systems, and used building materials that don't require additional on-site finish resources.  Manufacturers and suppliers were selected that could provide recycled building materials, or new materials manufactured from renewable resources or requiring fewer resources to produce than traditional products.  During construction, a recycling and waste management program included on-site bins for collecting and sorting materials to be recycled off-site.


The walls and the other concrete products in the home such as cultured stone and polished concrete floors create a home that is as beautiful as it is efficient.


The home scored at the gold level under the NAHB National Green Building Program.


Project Team:


Owner: National Council of the Housing Industry (NCHI)

Builder: Blue Heron, Inc.

Architect: Danielian Associates Architecture & Planning

Interior Designer: Robb & Stucky Interiors

Energy Consultants: Building America Program/ US Department of Energy, IBACOS Consortium

Landscape Architect: Summers / Murphy & Partners, Inc.

Structural Engineer: Allan "Jay" Eenhuis, Montgomery Consulting Engineers

Civil Engineer: David Porter, Southwest Engineering

Mechanical / Plumbing / Electrical Engineers: John Spargo, Comfort Engineering

Insulating Concrete Forms by Arxx Building Products