An annual lab-like model home exhibit has once again drawn thousands of visitors eager to check out all of the cutting-edge building techniques and innovative products involved in the maintenance and construction of the display home. Not surprisingly (given the emphasis on green technologies and energy-efficient products), spray foam was one of the star attractions at this year’s exhibit.
The New American Home (TNAH) is an actual home that is built every year by the National Association of Home Builders for the International Builders’ Show. This year, the home was open for tours in January to coincide with the event. The home is located in Henderson, Nevada’s Sky Terrace development, about 13 miles from the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the IBS was held. Shuttle buses took visitors from the show to the home site. Thousands of people were expected to view the home over a period of several days.
Co-produced with Hanley Wood’s BUILDER Magazine, TNAH 2015 is a four-bedroom, contemporary style home encompassing nearly 6,000 square feet. While the home on display is of course impressive and unique, it is intended to demonstrate a wide variety of building techniques that can be incorporated to varying degrees in a wide range of structures of different sizes and price points. The organizers hope that seeing these techniques and products incorporated in a real-life setting will inspire builders and consumers to think about ways in which they can follow that example and use some of the same ideas in their own existing home or planned construction.
Spray foam gets a starring role
While there were a long list of different green products and energy-efficient materials used in this amazing home, spray foam was featured in a prominent role. The home has spray foam on the roof and inside the walls, which those involved with the project said was an essential part of establishing the airtight envelope that was a high priority for the structure. Project supervisors said spray foam helped established such an airtight envelope that there is virtually no escaping air, allowing the home’s air conditioning usage (and other utility consumption) to be kept as minimal as possible. That is important both for conserving resources and also for lowering the costs to maintain the property.
One of this year’s main goals for TNAH 2015 was for the home to earn the highest accolades and designations with regards to energy efficiency. A major measuring tool for that is the Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) Index. A typical home has a HERS rating of around 70 to 80. Thanks in large part to the spray foam materials, the TNAH 2015 home earned an incredible HERS score of 13.
Another major milestone: this was the first TNAH to achieve that coveted net-zero status that so many builders and property owners are striving for these days. That means the home will generate more electricity than it consumes.
Builders involved with this showcase home said they always strongly recommend spray foam as one of the top considerations for those aiming to build an energy-efficient structure. With more and more municipalities enacting policies to encourage (or possibly require) energy-saving building techniques, the use of spray foam is likely to only keep increasing in popularity among builders and contractors.
Of course, spray foam is also extremely popular with homeowners who are eager to find ways to reduce their energy consumption, both to keep a lid on expenses and to be earth-friendly.
Endless honors earned thanks to spray foam
Spray foam deserves a lot of the credit for helping the home to earn a long list of notable honors. In addition to its impressive HERS score, TNAH was also able to exceed Emerald status, the highest level of certification from the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard. Among the other honors the project’s organizers expected for the home are being named as U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Star Certified, DOE Challenge Home, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor airPLUS, DOE Build America program, Southern Nevada Green Building Partnership, and being included in the EPA WaterSmart Home program.
Needless to say, a project of this size and scope was a major undertaking, one that required a considerable amount of labor, resources and equipment (including foam spray equipment). While most contractors won’t ever likely need to tackle a project quite so daunting, they will still need reliable equipment to keep their jobs up and running. They can find all of the spray foam equipment they need at Intech Equipment & Supply.