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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.

That practice makes sense from the production side, too. Once a builder has a stable of subs and suppliers who know what’s expected to achieve the highest levels of building performance and green certification (and have honed their costs once they crest that learning curve), he’s loathe to risk new ones that might gum up his well-oiled machine.

“We used our local subs and suppliers as much as we could on this project,” says Kean, despite the fact that The New American Home bound him to occasionally work with product manufacturers that were unfamiliar to him. “Even if it was a new product, we worked to educate our sub about it, which helps build a base of knowledge going forward.”

With that, the cost and results of a home’s HERS rating, blower-door and duct-blast tests, and verified specifications and other performance measures can be amortized across other green building requirements toward their designations.

“LEED is the most stringent, so I start there and then integrate that documentation back to the NGBS, Energy Star, and any state or local programs,” says Smith. For example, by qualifying for LEED’s water-efficient landscape credits, The New American Home 2012 also met the standards for the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods designation. “It’s mostly just a matter of filling out some extra forms,” he says.

For quality-minded builders who remain skeptical of the value of achieving green certification instead of simply building to higher performance standards and marketing the benefits of that effort, The New American Home’s achievements extend beyond the hardware Kean accumulated and what he spent to get it.

“It was the best part about coming to work every morning because I’d learn about some new product or technique,” says Kean’s project manager Marc Krebs, a 12-year field veteran. “It’s amazing how many options there are now to gain certification and get us out of the box of the same routines and specs. It makes us better builders.”

Smith also argues that certification verifies a builder’s efforts and investment in better building techniques. “Home buyers are getting better educated. They know Energy Star and are getting more familiar with LEED, and they’re looking for those labels,” he says. “They appreciate that third-party stamp of approval versus just the builder’s word.”

Selling green, he says, is probably a builder’s biggest hesitation about investing in higher performance standards, verified or not. While a certificate can help assure potential buyers that the house will perform as promised, Smith says builders can supplement that verification by focusing on lower energy and water costs, indoor air quality, and comfort. “Having it verified by an inspector gives you confidence to assure buyers that the performance will actually meet expectations.”

Rich Binsacca is an EcoHome contributing editor.