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Case Studies  > The New American Home® Incorporates Cement-Based Solutions for Efficiency, Durability
Concrete Builds a Strong Case for Sustainability in New Model Home
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Each year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) constructs a new model home to display the latest in building technologies and design techniques.  The mission of The New American Home® program is showcasing high-performance structures with design elements suitable for projects from the most simple to the most complex. 

NAHB Case Study
The New American Home's concrete attributes like fiber-cement siding and precast concrete planters contribute to is beauty.

 

The New American Home 2007 creates an efficient structure without compromising aesthetics, by incorporating the latest in cement-based products – the building material of choice for sustainable development. It features a wide array of energy efficient and sustainable design elements that streamline the construction process and create economies in the long-term maintenance of the home.

 

Cement-based solutions provided a simplified construction process with limited waste, an efficient thermal envelope that cut energy costs significantly throughout the lifetime of the average home and the durability to make this innovative structure stand for generations as a symbol of creative and sustainable design.  As a result of using cement-based products and other sustainable design elements, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that The New American Home® “uses approximately 73% less energy for heating and cooling and 54% less energy for water heating compared to a traditionally constructed house of comparable size in the Hot-Humid climate region.”

 
TX Active 

The most fascinating application used in The New American Home® is a building material with benefits that are invisible to the naked eye at first glance.  The exterior would appear to be the traditional cement-based stucco walls, which have long been known for their durable, beautiful, low-maintenance finish.  However, the stucco used in the New American Home® features one of the most revolutionary sustainable building applications in the world – TX Active – a new photocatalytic cement technology that is not only self-cleaning, but also has been proven to reduce air pollution. 

 

TX Active is a self-cleaning, smog-eating material that is manufactured by introducing admixtures, TX Arca and TX Aria, into the traditional cement mix.  The admixture TX Arca destroys pollutants that come into direct contact with the material, which will keep the building’s surface area clean without expending materials for building maintenance.  The admixture TX Aria breaks down airborne pollutants, such as smog, that pollute the air around the surface of the building.  TX Active will not only reduce maintenance to limit the overall energy footprint, but it will actually reduce the pollution in the air around the home.

 

Fiber-cement Siding

To complement the stucco and provide a durable exterior, the New American Home® incorporated fiber-cement siding as a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to wood siding.  This sustainable application of cement-based materials has the appearance of wood, but none of the drawbacks of traditional wood siding.  Applying this attractive material to a building is one of the easiest ways to use cement-based products to fortify a home or business.  Approaching 10 percent residential market share, this fiber-cement siding will not rot, buckle or warp.  Fiber-cement siding also is proven to hold paint for a longer duration than wood siding and is resistant to termites and fire, a major consideration in many regions of the United States. 

 

Insulated Precast Concrete

The backbone of The New American Home® is an insulated precast concrete wall system that provides the structure with a solid thermal envelop.  Compared to wood and steel, concrete structures allow minimal temperature fluctuations due to its high thermal mass.  Consequently, heating, ventilating and air-conditioning can be designed with smaller-capacity equipment, saving money and resources.  The New American Home® will enjoy these benefits with precast construction, and to provide additional insulation, a continuous layer of Styrofoam is sandwiched between precast slabs throughout the structure for optimal energy performance.  Operating The New American Home® will require less overall energy for heating and cooling, significantly reducing the environmental footprint of the building over its life cycle.

 

Precast concrete walls provide additional energy benefits that do not show up on monthly energy bills.  By constructing the panels in a factory, less material is required because precise mixture proportions and tighter tolerances are achievable. This significantly limits waste from the construction process and consequently, lowers overall usage of materials for any structure built with this type of wall systems.  The pre-assembled panels also expedite the construction process, decreasing the number of labor hours necessary to complete the project.  This translates directly into a reduction of overall cost to complete precast projects.

 

Concrete Makes Sustainability Happen

 

The 2007 New American Home® demonstrates the versatility of cement-based products in the construction process and its many cutting-edge sustainable design applications.  Cement-based products play a key role in solidifying the structure of the building, as well as creating the home’s attractive outward appearance, while also significantly contributing to its sustainable features.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.essroc.com/default.aspx?pageid=216 

  • U.S. Department of Energy, Building America: “The 2007 New American Home, Orlando, Florida

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy07osti/39426.pdf

  • The International Builders’ Show: “IBS Showcase Homes”

http://www.buildersshow.com/Home/Page.aspx?pageID=327

 

 

Project Team:

 

  • BUILDER: Homes By Carmen Dominguez
  • ARCHITECT: Bloodgood Sharp Buster Architects & Planners
  • INTERIOR DESIGN: Robb & Stucky Interiors