For the sixth straight year “The New American Home”—the official home of the International Builders Show (IBS) owned by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)—is a concrete home. Several thousand people attending the IBS show in January 2009 will have an opportunity to view the home and learn about new products and innovations in the home building industry. In early February, several thousand attendees at World of Concrete also will have the chance to tour the home and see how concrete was used. After the IBS show, these homes are sold to the public. It originally was thought the homes would be hard to sell because concrete structures aren't part of mainstream home construction (except in Florida). But the reverse turned out to be true. All the homes to date have been sold within one month of the show's closing.
The 2009 home features insulating concrete form (ICF) exterior walls, contributed by ARXX, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada. The builder, Blue Heron Builders, Las Vegas, is no stranger to ICF construction. Tyler Jones, Blue Heron's owner, says they use ICF construction on all their homes.
The 8800-square-foot house will use 1000 cubic yards of concrete by the time it's complete, according to Jones. It will be a three-level home with a walkout basement and a flat roof. The concrete portion of the home includes the ICF walls, diamond-polished garage floors, 1500 square feet of walkways and patios built with precast concrete pavers cast to look like real stones, concrete block perimeter walls, a 12-foot-high waterfall built with concrete blocks surrounded with cultured stone, and outside walls finished with stucco. An interesting design effect is that you can see the waterfall when you step inside the front door one level above.
Construction of the house started in February 2008, and it is scheduled for completion in October 2009. It will be a zero-energy home, achieved with photo voltaic panels to produce electricity and a passive solar design. Concrete walls increase the thermal efficiency of buildings—walls don't leak air through them—and that helps save energy too. Upon completion, the home also will earn the NAHB's “Green Building” gold certification. When their emerald certification status is announced, the home will qualify for that as well.