The 2006 International Builders Show (IBS) in Orlando unveiled The New American Home (TNAH), a two-story, 9500-square-foot home built with exterior walls of insulated concrete masonry. Normally, builders in Florida construct homes with a first-story masonry system and use standard wood framing for subsequent floors. TNAH is all concrete and Energy-Star rated. TNAH demonstrates concepts, materials, designs, and construction techniques reproducible, in whole or in part, in housing built anywhere and in any price range.

Over 100,000 attendees at IBS had the opportunity to learn about the insulated concrete masonry wall system that uses a thicker insulation panel—a system that effectively stops moisture penetration and allows the builder to construct a super-insulated house. The masonry walls, fiber-cement siding, and concrete roof tiles provide protection from termites, fire, and natural disasters, including high winds.

Many of the home's unique design features are concrete. The fireplace mantels are decorative precast; the kitchen focal point is a precast cultured stone veneer decorative vent hood; tinted concrete pavers form the patio and the retaining walls. The home's exterior is an acrylic texture finish with a portland cement base coat.

TNAH is Energy-Star rated through the U.S. Department of Energy program “Building America.” The home's location in southwest Orange County subjects it to hot and humid weather, but it uses 61 percent less energy for heating and cooling and 50 percent less energy for water heating compared with similar houses in similar climates. Each component for the home was carefully selected and integrated into the project. Building America team member, IBA-COS, provided engineering support, performance testing, and monitoring to achieve efficiency and integrate energy performance.

The TNAH mission for '06 was to demonstrate the “green” philosophy and to use as many earth-friendly materials as possible. It showed that “housing performance” can be incorporated into simple or complex homes and is as important as aesthetics. It introduced production builders to HVAC strategies of advanced insulation and air tightness detail.

The lead sponsors for TNAH 2006 included: The Portland Cement Association, the Florida Concrete & Products Association, and the National Council of the Housing Industry (NCHI), a division of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). WCI Architecture and Land Planning of Coral Springs, Fla., designed the house and Hannigan Homes, Orlando, built it. Take your own virtual tour of The 2006 New American Home at