Is This the Home of the Future?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey

LAS VEGAS – How would you like to have a listing like this—an 8,816-square-foot energy efficient, technologically advanced show stopper? The 2009 New American Home, the latest in a 26-year series of demonstration homes, was unveiled here at the International Builder Show this week.

The contemporary-styled home displays energy efficient features, latest construction techniques, and new products and trends, from a calming rejuvenation room that overlooks the zero-edge pool to decorative water systems that capture rain water for reuse.

This home, on the market for $4.2 million, will be on display for the next 18 months.

The home is extremely energy efficient. The electric bill is estimated to be $467 per year and total utility costs for the home, which include electricity and natural gas usage, are estimated at $2,500 per year. Not bad for an 8,816 square foot home.

The home mixes natural gas-powered heating and cooling systems, bifacial solar panels, roof-top solar water heating, horizontal louvers for shading, 90-degree corner windows, and sliding pocket doors throughout that transform indoor spaces to outside. The home’s lighting, temperature, doors, and more can be controlled by an iPhone.

The home also features several dramatic outdoor spaces, from a basement-level subterranean courtyard showcasing a fountain spanning a wall with a fire burning underneath.

Watch the video below taken on a Flip video camera or peruse a slide show on the next page to see more images of all the details.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Personally, I don’t think I’d be that excited about a listing like that. It would be fun to see and talk about, but what are the chances it will actually sell?

  2. Patti Simkins

    I am a Realtor in Columbus, Georgia, a small city that has not suffered as much as some of the larger cities in the U.S. in the current economic downturn. We are blessed to have the support of a large economic engine in the form of Fort Benning, an outstanding and growing Army installation known all over the world, and a surprisingly diversified economic base. Although things are relatively flat here, we still see a steady need for affordable housing. What we need are middle priced homes that people with middle incommes can afford. These are the people who need to benefit from energy-efficient methods and home designs that maximize space and conveniences on a reasonable budget. To my way of thinking, 8800 sq ft-plus monuments with gadgets that most people will never see in the real world are counterproductive at best. It is certainly important to look to the future of innovations and technological developments, but real world solutions are needed here in middle income, middle America. I would like to see a 1750 sq ft home with a flexible floor plan in the $200,000 price range with energy-saving materials and designs, and recycling features which assist the typical family in making recycling an easy and important part of their lives. This palace of excess probably isn’t the image we need to project to the rest of the world as we attack global problems of scarcity and outright poverty. It’s not the right goal for real estate in the U.S. to show the rest of the world, especially now.

  3. Anje

    I agree with you Patti.

  4. styledstagedsold

    Hi Patti – You might be seeing more of what you want soon. At the International Builder Show, the National Association of Home Builders said that they have recently seen the first decrease in home sizes since they started reporting: 2,629 square feet to an average of 2,438 square feet. NAHB expects the downsizing trend to continue too.

    More builders are reporting that they plan to build more affordable homes and smaller. Here’s a link to a recent story we ran in the Daily Real Estate news about the downsizing trend:

    I attended an interesting talk at the Builder Show yesterday that mentioned preferences by the generations and this seems to be what most generations want too. Baby boomers are looking to downsize whereas Gen X and Y say they prefer smaller, energy efficient homes with open floor plans that mix indoor and outdoor space. Maybe there are details in the 2009 American Home that will make up the home of the future (e.g. the rejuvenation room was a unique idea and really being talked about at the conference as something that Gen X and Y is wanting). But you’re undoubtedly right — the 8,000-plus square foot home is probably not practical, especially given the times. Plus, it’s probably not what everyone wants.

    Melissa Tracey, REALTOR Magazine

  5. Lauren R Gould

    I agree that, whilst there is more need and interest in energy conscious green-built homes, the way to showcase one’s abilities or what’s publicly available is not to do so by ostentatious example.

    I noticed rejuvenation was misspelled. I find that incredibly offputting. If one is taking the time to create a presentation, don’t kill it with bad details.

    I didn’t see a greenroof or a greenwall anywhere. What a shame, considering the rest of the world is fully engaged in the process.

  6. I love this home mixes natural gas-powered heating and cooling systems, bifacial solar panels, roof-top solar water heating, horizontal louvers for shading, 90-degree corner windows, and sliding pocket doors throughout that transform indoor spaces to outside.

  7. If the home is still available I would be interested in buying it. We buy luxury homes.