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The New American Home

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 by Kyle Scribner


Every year as part of the International Builders Show, the National Association of Home Builders unveils a New American Home to showcase the latest in homebuilding trends and technologies. Looking at the green features in the 2010 model can shed insight into the types of things the average homeowner might do to reduce energy use and save money.

The house (pictured above; general specs: 6,100 sq. ft., faces east) is 49% more energy efficient than a similar house built to code. Its efficiency features are many. I’ll list some here, with links that further explain each so you can look into them and see if they’d be feasible to implement in your own home (or in your plans to build a home):

Insulated concrete forms for the walls
Energy efficient windows and doors
• Unvented attic with spray foam insulation under the roof and the inside the gables
Heat recovery ventilator to provide fresh outdoor air with a minimal loss of energy
Solar thermal hot water system
Energy Star-rated appliances
Fluorescent lamps and LEDs
High-efficiency heating and cooling systems
Solar electric system
Greywater recycling system
Tankless hot water heaters
Green roof system
Low VOC paints, stains, adhesives & sealants
Dual flush waterclosets
Low flow shower head and faucets
Weather controlled irrigation system

Whew. Going through all that really makes you realize just how inefficient your house is, doesn’t it? Did for me, anyway.

Now, the unfortunate postscript to all this is that, for the first time in its 27-year history, the New American Home wasn’t finished in time for International Builders Show participants to walk through it. Today, the home is just 75% complete after the builder, Domanico Custom Homes, ran out of financing.

Fortunately for anyone looking to build some of these efficiency measures into their home, it’s most likely not 6,000 sq. ft. worth of expenses. Let us know if you've got any of these types of efficiency measures in your home by commenting below.

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About

Kyle Scribner is a born-again nature freak who also happens to be an editor at Captivate Network.

You know that exhilarated feeling you got as a kid when you would go down to the pond to catch frogs? It never really goes away; it’s just dormant. So I'm here to slap a mix of facts and borderline balanced opinion on you, to poke a stick at the nature freak slumbering in us all and maybe get him to once again come out and play.

And we might even learn a few things about the environment as we go.

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About Green Among Gray

How do you commune with nature or become part of the solution to the environmental crisis when you're trapped in a cement-and-glass, gas-guzzling, power-sucking, emissions-spewing metropolis 8 hours (or more) a day? How do you go 'green' in a world of gray?

Actually, there are plenty of ways, and Green Among Gray aims to show high-rise inhabitants how they can help ease the load on the environment and on their minds by exploring natural oases, conservation tips, and other ways to stay green while working in the concrete-built world of the big city.

Look for short updates on the latest environmental news along with periodic longer features on specific places and events that allow big-city workers to get close to nature.