For the past quarter century, the New American Home has been influencing residential construction across the country. This year, the program celebrates its 25th anniversary of demonstrating innovative building materials, cutting-edge design, and the latest construction techniques.

It is the official showcase house of the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) annual International Builders' Show, held this year in Orlando. The home provides builders and buyers with an ideal example of an energy efficient, durable home, without sacrificing style. Every showcase home through the years has introduced new, yet attainable, ideas to the mainstream, inspiring builders and design professionals to apply those concepts to new projects across the country.

This year, masonry played an important role in the project. Aercon, an autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) producer headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., supplied AAC block for the home's walls from its nearby Haines City, Fla., facility. Although this was Aercon's first New American Home, the company has experience with multi-family and single-family housing and showcase homes. Aercon contributed to “The Perfect Home,” a sustainable house in Indianapolis, in conjunction with Ecology House of Indianapolis and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

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The 2008 New American Home is a 6725-sq-ft, Antebellum-style with modern conveniences. It is the first lakefront house built in the Water's Edge subdivision on Lake Nona, part of a private golf and country club community 15 minutes from downtown Orlando. A columned portico runs along its symmetrical front and the H-shaped, two-story floor plan opens to 2950 sq ft of covered outdoor space overlooking the lake, including a kitchen, “solana” with fireplace, pool, and spa.

On the main floor, 8-in. x 8-in. x 24-in. block insulates the family's main living space, which includes a master retreat, study, dining room, kitchen, family room, leisure room, grand salon, and guest suite. The home's exterior cladding must protect these private spots from outside elements and noise from adjacent areas. Aercon's AC6 material provides optimal sound rating throughout.

The master retreat occupies one side of the house, and a kitchen and leisure room area opens on two sides to a covered loggia along the back. Both the master and guest suites share a wall with the home's two attached garages.

Dan Sater II, AIBD, president of The Sater Group, was the designer of this year's home. Sater, who seeks out new and creative projects, is a believer in masonry homes. “Masonry is the best way to go for sustainable construction, especially in harsh environments like coastal areas,” he said.