Find more coverage of the 2013 New American Home, including photo slideshows, at Builder Online.
The 2013 New American Home showcases builders’ best practices, concepts, materials, designs, and construction techniques that can be replicated—in whole or in part—in housing built any place, in any price range. Its mission is to show that housing performance can be incorporated into the most simple or most complex homes, and that it’s at least equally as important as aesthetics. Incorporating features that improve energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, safety, comfort, accessibility, and market value are paramount to The New American Home program. (A comprehensive listing of the partners and products used in the project can be found here.)
The home’s high performing design is extensive and comprehensive, as documented through the numerous third-party performance ratings the home has achieved.
Key Energy Features
TNAH achieves a very high level of energy efficiency. The home is expected to consume 67% less energy than a standard home. At this level of efficiency, the home is designed to provide $4,225 in annual energy savings. The most noteworthy features include the air tightness of its thermal shell and the use of solar energy for space conditioning and hot water production. Under blower door testing, the thermal shell achieves 0.2 natural ACH, an amount that is considered very airtight. Spray foam insulation was used on the underside of the roof deck, as well as around any penetrations, and framing to prevent air leakage.
The home uses solar energy to power a portion of its electrical systems, space conditioning, and hot water systems. The 14KW Photovoltaic (PV) system provides approximately 58% of the annual energy needs for the home. Overall, the home uses approximately 67% less energy for heating and 83% less energy for cooling compared to a similar home in the same (hot-humid) climate zone. The solar thermal system includes an 80-gallon storage tank for domestic hot water. Supplemental water heating is provided by a natural gas-fueled tankless water heater.
• National Green Building Standard Emerald certification
• USGBC LEED-H Platinum certification
• Shared utility trenches, pervious surfaces, indigenous planting
• Additional green practices to account for large house
• Advanced framing, interior coverings and fenestration framing not requiring finishing, stacked stories, roof overhangs, built in recycling, construction waste recycled, certified wood, engineered wood products, >50% recycle content, indigenous materials, ISO14001 registered materials
• Overall, the home uses approximately 67% less energy for heating and 83% less energy for cooling compared to a similar home in the same climate zone.
• Exterior walls insulated concrete form R-26 and R-30
• Fully air-sealed and insulated attic
• Windows and doors with low-e coating and argon gas filled (SHGC 0.17, U-value 0.34)
• Extended roof overhangs to aid in protecting the home from the harsh Nevada sun
• Energy Star rated roof coating to limit solar gains
• Light colored exterior wall finish
• Air tightness 0.2 natural air change per hour
• Two Nextaire gas-engine heat pump/mini-split COP1.5 systems
• One heat pump operates from 700 Watts of electricity from a dedicated PV system
• Two-stage compressor technology in the outdoor heat pump units increases efficiency, enhances dehumidification, and reduces the typical noise level of the A/C unit
• All ductwork is sealed for air tightness
• HVAC system located entirely within conditioned space
• Solar hot water
• 100% of all interior and exterior lamps are energy-efficient LED lighting, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs)
• ENERGY STAR®-rated appliances, including dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, and clothes washer
• 14KW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system
• EPA Water Sense fixtures
• Low-volume irrigation, drip, bubblers drip emitters
• Soil moisture controlled irrigation
• Potable water filtration
Indoor Environmental Quality
• Energy recovery ventilator (ERV) limits moisture gains in summer and recovers heat in the winter
• Ultra-violet light air treatment system improves indoor air quality
• Direct vent water heater
• Low and non-emitting products
• Air sealed and ventilated garage
• Central vacuum system
• CO alarm monitor installed
• Kitchen range exhaust to exterior
• Timer control on low sone bath fans
• Minimum MERV 8 air filtration
• Homeowner’s manual—including maintenance, equipment manuals, renewable energy options from utility, native landscaping and organic pest control options, termite inspection checklist.