Orlando, Fla. — Nobody has to look behind the walls to see the contributions plastic building products bring to this year's New American Home — a three-story dwelling if you count the rooftop deck — on a typical lot in the planned community of Lake Nona in Orlando.
The 2022 showcase residence constructed by the National Association of Home Builders features Ply Gem impact-resistant vinyl windows, Armstrong rigid core flooring, and composite decking and garage doors from Trex and Clopay in addition to plastic products for insulating and plumbing.
NAHB has been unveiling a new home every year that demonstrates the best and latest practices in construction techniques, design concepts and products since 1984. In those nearly four decades, this is the first time vinyl windows were selected and it won't be the last, according to Tucker Bernard, executive director of NAHB's Leading Suppliers Council.
"Vinyl windows have come a long way in the past few years for the ... team to consider in future homes," Tucker said in an email.
A lot of features are different about this year's New American Home, which was unveiled to the media Feb. 7 to kick off NAHB's International Builders' Show Feb. 8-10 at the Orange County Convention Center.
With 4,646 square feet of living space, the 2022 home is about one-third smaller than the average New American Home built within the last 10 years. It's also more affordable and more attainable, sitting on a 50-by-120-foot lot in a community where the median home value is $381,955.
The house was designed to be flexible and meet pandemic-era needs for residences to be places to work, learn, exercise and find sanctuary space. For a strong indoor-outdoor connection, there's a rooftop terrace and all the primary rooms open to a central courtyard that can be used for a pool, lawn, garden or small playground. The 2022 house also has amenities like a shielded, secure parcel nook within the front porch for deliveries.
"The vision was simplicity. Many homes in past builder shows have all been very extravagant, very elaborate $5 million homes. We looked to keep this in the sub $2 million range," Steven Earl, president of Orlando-based Envy Homes LLC, said in an online video.
This year's home does have "some drama," added Envy Homes CEO Serena Hahn.
"It's a courtyard house so you can see every aspect from any angle. That was intentional," she said. "We had a narrow lot, which can create challenges but also chances to do something different, to go outside the box."
Hahn describes the house as upscale coastal but without all the sticker shock.
"I don't think luxury has to have the highest price point," she said. "That's why we chose to use architectural elements as design. You're putting windows in the house. Why not create a piece of art with drama? It started with that."
Extensive windows and telescoping patio doors bring in natural light and blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces.