While it appears that The New American Home 2010 will not be completed and available for tours during the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas this month due to construction financing problems (see related story), the house was primed to achieve a high level of energy performance and resource efficiencies.
According to a report conducted by IBACOS, a Pittsburgh-based consultant, the two-level, 6,100-square-foot show house—when finished—will likely achieve a minimum 49 percent whole-house energy savings compared to the 2006 national energy code (IECC) for a house of the same size.
A number of products and a commitment to building science contributed to that assumption—and gave builder Domanico Custom Homes a real-world education about applying green building practices and products to its homes. “We really learned how to seal up a house,” says Domanico’s general manager Adam Knecht.
Specifically, the builder employed a 10-inch-thick insulated concrete form system from APEX, an R-23 perimeter wall by itself that was enhanced with R-20 framed wall assemblies in some sections and an insulated exterior stucco cladding from Dryvit that added another R-7 of value. Aluminum-clad wood windows from Sierra Pacific help keep the shell tight and thermally efficient with U-factors of 0.34 and 0.25 solar heat gain coefficients.
Meanwhile, a combination of spray-in-place cellulose wall cavity insulation from Nu-Wool and closed-cell expanding foam from Icynene applied to the underside of the roof (pictured here) boosted the home’s thermal performance. A zoned, high-efficiency HVAC system from Trane, including a heat recovery ventilator, is distributed through sealed ducts that leak 3 percent or less of their airflow.
Bifacial photovoltaic roof panels from Sanyo deliver up to 10.53 kW of off-grid electricity, while CFL and LED lighting and both solar thermal and tankless water heating add to the energy-saving mix. “The biggest thing we’ll take from this experience is how to build for better energy performance,” says Knecht.