NexGen Home is Bigger, Greener, Stronger and Smarter

NextGenThere are very few, if any, construction materials that offer concrete's wide range of sustainable and comprehensive environmental benefits, as illustrated by the NextGen ‘First to the Future’ Demonstration Home in Las Vegas. The NextGen home was open to the public during several major conferences/exhibitions in 2009 including the International Builders’ Show, World of Concrete and the Consumer Electronics Show.

Concrete products and applications contributed to a home that is stronger, greener, and smarter than typical demonstration homes.

Although one of the bigger show homes at 5,200 square feet, the home is reportedly 95 percent more efficient than today's standard home. Much of this efficiency is a direct result of the use of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) to frame the exterior walls. Insulated concrete forms are steel-reinforced styrofoam insulated concrete blocks that provide superior strength, fire proofing, sound proofing, and insulation value compared to wood-framed homes.

The energy savings is just one benefit ICFs provided the NextGen project. Concrete's natural resistance to fire and its strength against earthquakes provided the attributes necessary to certify the house through the Institute for Business & Home Safety's Fortified...for safer living program. A fortified home includes building options that protect the home against extreme weather events mostly likely to occur in the region. The Las Vegas home was strengthened to withstand fire and earthquakes.

An interior plaster finish applied directly to the ICF walls provides additional thermal protection and eliminates the need to use drywall. Exterior walls are also coated with fire-resistant portland cement stucco.

Additionally, the home's driveway is paved with pervious concrete pavers that allow rainwater to filter through and re-charge the ground water supply.

Due to the home’s incredible durability, strength and unprecedented efficiency, the home is also part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Builders Challenge. The Builders Challenge program calls for 220,000 homes to be built by 2012 that are 30 percent more efficient than today’s homes.

Building America research partner ConSol has estimated the NextGen home to have a HERS index score of 44—a remarkable feat for a home of this size. (An average U.S. home scores 130 and typical new home construction scores an average of 100.) Builders Challenge requires homes to score 70 or lower to qualify, along with meeting some specific requirements such as air sealing and moisture management details to help improve a home’s comfort, durability, and safety as well as its energy efficiency.

A 4-kilowatt to direct current (kW DC) solar photovoltaic power system is mounted on the roof. The photovoltaics are embedded in lightweight, flexible laminate panels that peel and stick to the roof surface. The panels are easy to install and virtually unbreakable since no glass is used; they are expected to provide a significant percentage of the home’s power needs.

Key Features

  • 4 kW DC solar laminate panel system
  • Insulated concrete form wall construction, R40
  • Ducts located in conditioned space
  • Vinyl-framed low-emissivity, argon-filled windows
  • Spray foam insulation in attic, R40 Insulated glass windows
  • ENERGY STAR appliances and compact fluorescent (CFL) lighting
  • Tankless electric water heater
  • 95 percent annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) furnace
  • Seasonal energy efficiency ration (SEER) 16 air conditioning (AC)
  • Engineered duct layout with mastic-sealed ducts
  • Meets Institute for Business and Home Safety Fortified...for safer living® designation
  • Guardian Safety Solutions kitchen fire suppression system
  • DECRA roofing made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled steel 100 percent recycled wood content composite garage doors
  • Recycled leather floor tiles
  • 100 percent recycled glass countertops
  • Architect: Aronson & Associates Architercture, P.A.
  • ICFs: NUDURA Corporation
  • Producer: iShow.com, Inc.
  • Water-conserving plumbing
    • One touch electronic controls for lighting, sound, appliances, drapes
    • Engineered hardwood flooring