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The New American Home 2012

The New American Home 2012

  • The New American Home 2012  in Winter Park, Fla., earned a plethora of certifications, including NGBS-Emerald, LEED-Platinum, Energy Star, Indoor airPlus, and DOE Builders Challenge.

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    The New American Home 2012 in Winter Park, Fla., earned a plethora of certifications, including NGBS-Emerald, LEED-Platinum, Energy Star, Indoor airPlus, and DOE Builders Challenge.

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    James F. Wilson

    The New American Home 2012 in Winter Park, Fla., earned a plethora of certifications, including NGBS-Emerald, LEED-Platinum, Energy Star, Indoor airPlus, and DOE Builders Challenge.

  • The studio and workout room above it are served by the VRF mini-split system from LG, relieving the project team from having to accommodate long duct runs from the central system across the lanai and risk thermal loss. The sleek, ceiling-mounted register accommodates both supply and return air and connects to a small outdoor heat pump concealed by a return wall to deliver efficient, on-demand heating and cooling, pollutant filtration, and dehumidification for both rooms. 800.243.0000. www.lg.com.

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    The studio and workout room above it are served by the VRF mini-split system from LG, relieving the project team from having to accommodate long duct runs from the central system across the lanai and risk thermal loss. The sleek, ceiling-mounted register accommodates both supply and return air and connects to a small outdoor heat pump concealed by a return wall to deliver efficient, on-demand heating and cooling, pollutant filtration, and dehumidification for both rooms. 800.243.0000. www.lg.com.

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    James F. Wilson

    Mini-Split System
    The studio and workout room above it are served by the VRF mini-split system from LG, relieving the project team from having to accommodate long duct runs from the central system across the lanai and risk thermal loss. The sleek, ceiling-mounted register accommodates both supply and return air and connects to a small outdoor heat pump concealed by a return wall to deliver efficient, on-demand heating and cooling, pollutant filtration, and dehumidification for both rooms. 800.243.0000. www.lg.com.

  • Thin-film flexible solar photovoltaic modules from United Solar Ovonic installed on the lower-south-facing roof will help offset about 20% of the homes estimated annual energy costs. Weighing about one-fifth of conventional solar panels and delivering an efficient 68 watts of power per module, the peel-and-stick PVL-68 product adheres to the white reflective thermopolyolefin (TPO) roof membrane from GAF, eliminating penetrations through the roof finish and deck to maintain a dry, airtight assembly. United Solar Ovonic: 800.528.0617. www.uni-solar.com. GAF: 800.766.3411. www.gaf.com.

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    Thin-film flexible solar photovoltaic modules from United Solar Ovonic installed on the lower-south-facing roof will help offset about 20% of the homes estimated annual energy costs. Weighing about one-fifth of conventional solar panels and delivering an efficient 68 watts of power per module, the peel-and-stick PVL-68 product adheres to the white reflective thermopolyolefin (TPO) roof membrane from GAF, eliminating penetrations through the roof finish and deck to maintain a dry, airtight assembly. United Solar Ovonic: 800.528.0617. www.uni-solar.com. GAF: 800.766.3411. www.gaf.com.

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    James F. Wilson

    PV Array/TPO Roofing
    Thin-film flexible solar photovoltaic modules from United Solar Ovonic installed on the lower-south-facing roof will help offset about 20% of the home’s estimated annual energy costs. Weighing about one-fifth of conventional solar panels and delivering an efficient 68 watts of power per module, the peel-and-stick PVL-68 product adheres to the white reflective thermopolyolefin (TPO) roof membrane from GAF, eliminating penetrations through the roof finish and deck to maintain a dry, airtight assembly. United Solar Ovonic: 800.528.0617. www.uni-solar.com. GAF: 800.766.3411. www.gaf.com.

  • Central VacThe central vacuum system from NuTone enhances the homes indoor air quality by removing allergens and dust with HEPA-rated filtration media and enough power to clean a home up to 6,000 square feet. An LED display indicates when to change the filter bag or debris basin and will shut down the unit automatically to avoid rupture. 888.336.3948. www.nutone.com. Electric Vehicle ChargerThe wall-mounted EV Charging Station from Eaton reportedly charges electric vehicles up to five times faster than the cars cordset with 208/240-volt AC power and up to 30 amps. The unit can be hardwired or plugged in and extends only about 5 inches from the wall. Its stainless steel housing is indoor and outdoor rated. 855.386.3873. www.eaton.com.Solar Hot WaterThe Phoenix solar water heater from HTP connects with a sleek, flat-panel thermal collector on the upper roof to heat and store domestic hot water using a closed-loop system and a 119-gallon storage tank. Backed up by natural gas, as needed, the system also features a drain-back tank that maintains the systems 96% thermal efficiency rating and water quality and protects the system from overheating. 800.323.9651. www.htproducts.com.

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    Central VacThe central vacuum system from NuTone enhances the homes indoor air quality by removing allergens and dust with HEPA-rated filtration media and enough power to clean a home up to 6,000 square feet. An LED display indicates when to change the filter bag or debris basin and will shut down the unit automatically to avoid rupture. 888.336.3948. www.nutone.com. Electric Vehicle ChargerThe wall-mounted EV Charging Station from Eaton reportedly charges electric vehicles up to five times faster than the cars cordset with 208/240-volt AC power and up to 30 amps. The unit can be hardwired or plugged in and extends only about 5 inches from the wall. Its stainless steel housing is indoor and outdoor rated. 855.386.3873. www.eaton.com.Solar Hot WaterThe Phoenix solar water heater from HTP connects with a sleek, flat-panel thermal collector on the upper roof to heat and store domestic hot water using a closed-loop system and a 119-gallon storage tank. Backed up by natural gas, as needed, the system also features a drain-back tank that maintains the systems 96% thermal efficiency rating and water quality and protects the system from overheating. 800.323.9651. www.htproducts.com.

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    James F. Wilson

    Central Vac
    The central vacuum system from NuTone enhances the home’s indoor air quality by removing allergens and dust with HEPA-rated filtration media and enough power to clean a home up to 6,000 square feet. An LED display indicates when to change the filter bag or debris basin and will shut down the unit automatically to avoid rupture. 888.336.3948. www.nutone.com. Electric Vehicle Charger The wall-mounted EV Charging Station from Eaton reportedly charges electric vehicles up to five times faster than the car’s cordset with 208/240-volt AC power and up to 30 amps. The unit can be hardwired or plugged in and extends only about 5 inches from the wall. Its stainless steel housing is indoor and outdoor rated. 855.386.3873. www.eaton.com. Solar Hot Water The Phoenix solar water heater from HTP connects with a sleek, flat-panel thermal collector on the upper roof to heat and store domestic hot water using a closed-loop system and a 119-gallon storage tank. Backed up by natural gas, as needed, the system also features a drain-back tank that maintains the system’s 96% thermal efficiency rating and water quality and protects the system from overheating. 800.323.9651. www.htproducts.com.

  • Used for the bulk of the first-floor structure, the Pro Platinum series of ICFs from LOGIX delivers R-27 thermal efficiency (about double the norm) and sound abatement qualities. Preassembled, the thicker and taller blocks install faster and require less support than other systems; a graphite additive enhances heat reflection and reduces conductivity. The TX line installed at grade delivers termite resistance. 888.415.6449. www.logixicf.com.

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    Used for the bulk of the first-floor structure, the Pro Platinum series of ICFs from LOGIX delivers R-27 thermal efficiency (about double the norm) and sound abatement qualities. Preassembled, the thicker and taller blocks install faster and require less support than other systems; a graphite additive enhances heat reflection and reduces conductivity. The TX line installed at grade delivers termite resistance. 888.415.6449. www.logixicf.com.

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    James F. Wilson

    Insulated Concrete Forms
    Used for the bulk of the first-floor structure, the Pro Platinum series of ICFs from LOGIX delivers R-27 thermal efficiency (about double the norm) and sound abatement qualities. Preassembled, the thicker and taller blocks install faster and require less support than other systems; a graphite additive enhances heat reflection and reduces conductivity. The TX line installed at grade delivers termite resistance. 888.415.6449. www.logixicf.com.

  • Gallery Wall

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    Gallery Wall

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    James F. Wilson

    Gallery Wall
    The first-floor structure, including the 16-foot-high gallery wall, in its finished state.

  • The 5-ton, two-stage XP21 heat pump from Lennox Industries serves the entire home except for the studio and workout room with 16.7 SEER efficiency and low noise output. It also integrates a dedicated roof-mounted solar array that delivers electricity to the unit first, with the power grid for backup. When the units not in use, that solar power feeds other appliances and electronics in the house, or earns energy credits from the utility. 800.953.6669. www.lennox.com.

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    The 5-ton, two-stage XP21 heat pump from Lennox Industries serves the entire home except for the studio and workout room with 16.7 SEER efficiency and low noise output. It also integrates a dedicated roof-mounted solar array that delivers electricity to the unit first, with the power grid for backup. When the units not in use, that solar power feeds other appliances and electronics in the house, or earns energy credits from the utility. 800.953.6669. www.lennox.com.

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    Solar-Ready Heat Pump
    The 5-ton, two-stage XP21 heat pump from Lennox Industries serves the entire home except for the studio and workout room with 16.7 SEER efficiency and low noise output. It also integrates a dedicated roof-mounted solar array that delivers electricity to the unit first, with the power grid for backup. When the unit’s not in use, that solar power feeds other appliances and electronics in the house, or earns energy credits from the utility. 800.953.6669. www.lennox.com.

  • An understated yet well-appointed kitchen and adjacent family room not only exemplify the homes style, but also its efficiency. Sleek cabinet fronts conceal Energy Starqualified appliances, while CFL and LED light fixtures were expertly matched for their color rendition and brightness to hide hot spots and save energy.

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    An understated yet well-appointed kitchen and adjacent family room not only exemplify the homes style, but also its efficiency. Sleek cabinet fronts conceal Energy Starqualified appliances, while CFL and LED light fixtures were expertly matched for their color rendition and brightness to hide hot spots and save energy.

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    James F. Wilson

    Kitchen/Family Room
    An understated yet well-appointed kitchen and adjacent family room not only exemplify the home’s style, but also its efficiency. Sleek cabinet fronts conceal Energy Star–qualified appliances, while CFL and LED light fixtures were expertly matched for their color rendition and brightness to hide hot spots and save energy.

On the evening of Feb. 8, architect Phil Kean left his newest house with an armful of accolades, including certificates signifying NGBS-Emerald and LEED for Homes-Platinum ratings. Six other awards for achieving various energy-efficiency, water-saving, and indoor air quality standards also made it onto the mantle in his Winter Park, Fla., office.

For any builder familiar with the process of earning certification for even one green building program, Kean’s haul might appear herculean ... and maybe a little gratuitous.

In fact, there are those who suggest that even one such certificate is too many; that spending the time and money to gain a glass plaque takes time and money away from realizing even higher levels of housing performance or investing in more renewable energy offsets.

But to a large extent, Kean didn’t have a choice. His newest house is The New American Home 2012, an annual idea home promoted nationally to builders, architects, and consumers as the latest and greatest in residential design, products ... and, more recently, environmental performance. Achieving NGBS-Emerald or LEED-Platinum is an edict, not an option.

Sponsored by the NAHB Leading Suppliers Council and Builder magazine (EcoHome’s sister publication), and built for the last 29 years in the host city of the International Builders’ Show, The New American Home has always been an anomaly.

Conjured by committee, supported by suppliers often outside the builder’s comfort zone, and serving as a test bed for new building products and practices, the idea house is almost irrelevant in terms of its design, product selection, and production process to that of every other home built in America.

“It’s different from anything else because of all the different requirements and things you don’t normally do,” says Kean, whose design-build firm also managed the home’s construction.

Except when it comes to green building certification. In that respect, The New American Home 2012 is probably the perfect specimen for the process of submitting to and earning such standing.

Under its public microscope, there’s no room for error, not left uncrossed or i undotted. It’s all by the book, and to the highest levels, which is exactly what builders who question the value, costs, and hassles of gaining green certification need and want to know.

Like most builders seeking the pinnacles of current building performance, Kean didn’t start from code minimum with The New American Home. “I’ve been committed to green for years, so it wasn’t a big stretch for us,” he says.

As a result, he understood and applied the concepts of proper building orientation, shading and reflective surfaces to mitigate solar heat gain, and centralized mechanical systems to reduce thermal loss and energy consumption along their respective runs.

“The house was a certifiable level when we walked in the door,” says Drew Smith, president of Two Trails of Sarasota, Fla., who came on board at the design stage and navigated the project through various certifications. “From there, we optimized what we could to take it to the highest levels,” such as adjusting the framing to enable even shorter duct runs and running energy models to verify the respective performance values of the windows, cooling system, and PV array.

But if hard costs associated with better building practices were not going to stand in the way of the home’s green certification, certainly the soft costs of registering and eventually certifying the house, of commissioning an accredited expert and an energy rater, and for a handful of extra (and more intense) inspections in addition to those mandated by the city would add some cost burden.

To be sure, those costs add up, but they’re still not where the bulk of the estimated 5% premium to reach emerald or platinum status originates. It’s the administration, the paperwork, filling out forms, and verifying specs. The t’s and the i’s. The costs you never book.

Which is where Two Trails helped the most. In addition to serving as a one-stop shop of inspection, energy rating, testing, and verification for all things green (a bundled option that saved time and money), Smith and his team tackled the paperwork for Kean. “We take almost 80% of it away,” he says. “We want the builder to focus on what he’s doing instead of calling the concrete supplier to check a slump mix.”

Especially with production builders, but even with custom shops like Kean’s, Smith says most of that documentation is templated after one or two houses, assuming the bulk of the specs and suppliers remain the same from one house to the next. “We have it in the file, so as long as you keep the same trade partners, we don’t need to call them every time to verify their specs,” he says.