U.S. Department of Energy

    "New American Home" Wows Crowds at International Builders' Show

    February 14, 2007


    Photo of a three-level home with large cantilevered overhangs, each of which serves as a deck for the next-higher level.

    The "New American Home" uses 73 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a similar-sized home in the same climate.
    Credit: James F. Wilson

    The International Builders' Show (IBS) came to Orlando, Florida, in early February and followed tradition by exhibiting the latest incarnation of the "New American Home," an official showcase home that features the latest in home technology. This year's home was built in Orlando's Lake Eola Heights Historic District and is meant to fit in with historic homes, but thanks to some help from two of DOE's Building America teams, it also achieves high energy efficiency. The exterior consists of insulated concrete sandwich walls and low-emissivity windows, with heating and cooling provided by two high-efficiency heat pumps and one high-efficiency gas and electric unit. A solar thermal hot water system pre-heats water for the home's gas-fired tankless water heaters, while a 2.4-kilowatt solar electric system helps meet the home's power needs. As a result, the 3,733-square-foot home will use 73 percent less energy for heating and cooling and 54 percent less energy for water heating than similar-sized homes in the area. See the description of the New American home on the IBS Web site. The Building America Program has also published a fact sheet on the home's energy features (PDF 882 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

    Another IBS tradition is the announcement of the EnergyValue Housing Awards, which recognize energy efficient design and construction. This year, the NAHB Research Center, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), named Wisconsin-based Veridian Homes as Builder of the Year because it employs an "impressive mix of innovative technologies" in its homes, has a long history with the Energy Star program, and uses energy-efficient mortgages for more than half the homes it sells. The gold-level awardees include Aspen Homes of Colorado, Inc.; Ferrier Builders, Inc.; Grupe Homes; LivingHomes; and the Yavapai College Residential Green Building Technology Program. DOE's Building America Program and National Renewable Energy Laboratory are partners in the awards program. See the NAHB Research Center press release and the full list of awardees.

    The IBS is also the place where the Partnership for Advanced Housing Technologies (PATH) announces its picks for the year's Top 10 Technologies, which PATH describes as "valuable innovations ready for adoption." Five of this year's technologies relate to energy, including solar water heating, combined heat and power, horizontal-axis washer/dryers, super-sized insulated concrete forms, and induction stovetops. See the PATH press release and the full list of technologies.