Classic architectural elegance combines with eco-friendly building in The New American Home (PICTURES)

| by Gary Wollenhaupt
Classic architectural elegance combines with eco-friendly building in The New American Home (PICTURES)

Put to rest the notion that a sophisticated green home has to look like a steel-and-glass modernist monument.
In Orlando, builders and designers created The New American Home that features American Empire design with Greek Revival elements. It looks like something that might have been built by a wealthy industrialist at the turn of the last century. But in reality, the home was constructed as part of the 2011 International Builders’ Show as a showcase of leading-edge green technology blended with elegant architectural details.

The home has achieved “Emerald” status under the National Green Building Standard certification program, but also combines an inviting layout with graceful style, eccentric interiors and easy classicism. Built in a quiet Orlando neighborhood, it offers lake views with the Orlando skyline beyond.

It’s the 28th edition of The New American Home, which is constructed annually in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show to showcase innovative building technologies and the latest building products.

As NAHB’s official show home, it displays design trends, construction techniques, and materials that the building industry can use in any new or remodeled home. The showcase products in the home are provided by members of NCHI, the National Council of the Housing Industry, the leading manufacturers and suppliers for the construction industry.

“Whether you’re looking for ideas on green building, technology systems integration or the latest design trends, this home will give you great ideas that can be used in any home,” said Alex Hannigan, a past TNAH builder and current chairman of the TNAH Task Force that oversees the project each year.

In keeping with increasing demand for energy- and resource-efficiency, TNAH 2011 achieved “Emerald” certification under the National Green Building Standard. The Standard was developed by NAHB and approved by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. “Emerald” is the highest of the four levels of achievement in resource efficiency that the Standard recognizes. Certification to the standard is provided by the NAHB Research Center.

To attain Emerald status under the standard, TNAH 2011 relied on the latest innovations in green building and construction technology, including a state-of-the-art energy efficiency package. The home’s green building features include masonry block construction for exterior walls, a solar assisted HVAC system, solar hot water heater with gas backup and spray foam insulation for different parts of the house. It also includes a grey water recycling system, tankless hot water heaters, hydronic air handlers and “intelligent” fire places.

Other energy and resource efficiency features include:

  • Energy Star appliances
  • Low VOC paints, stains, adhesives and sealants
  • Formaldehyde-free wood cabinetry, paneling & sheathing
  • Whole house automation system
  • Whole house lighting control system
  • Dual flush water closets
  • Low flow shower head and faucets
  • Native & drought tolerant plants
  • Artificial grass
  • Weather controlled irrigation system
  • Rainwater harvesting system

In addition to the Emerald certification under the National Green Building Standard, TNAH 2011 also received the following certifications:

  • National Green Building Standard “Emerald” Status 
  • Energy Star certification
  • FGBC (Florida Green Building Coalition) Platinum certification
  • Florida Yards and Neighborhoods designation
  • Florida Water Star designation
  • Progress Energy Home Advantage Program

Unlike previous New American Homes, which were sold after the Builders’ Show, TNAH 2011 is a custom residence that is being constructed for specific buyers. Built by Keith Clarke and his team at Orlando Builder Continental Homes and Interiors, The New American Home 2011 is built on an infill building site in an older neighborhood on the South side of Lake Davis near downtown Orlando.

For more views of the house, see Pictures: The New American Home 2011.

For more information, see our Building Green Research Center.

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, GREAT GREEN HOMES

Gary Wollenhaupt

Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.

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