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There are multiple reasons for commercial and multi-family developers to explore the showcase home that was unveiled at the 2009 International Builders Show in Las Vegas this month–and none of them have anything to do with residential real estate.

The 8,700-square-foot desert contemporary is “a test kitchen” for building technology, said architect Joe Digrado of Danielian Associates Architecture + Planning in Irvine, CA. Much of the technology would be equally at home in residential, commercial or multifamily applications, he said, especially the solar panels and insulated concrete forms (ICF) used for the basement and structural walls.

Sponsored by the National Council of the Housing Industry, a committee of the National Association of Home Builders, the 2009 New American Home is located on a half-acre lot 15 minutes from the Las Vegas Convention Center and five minutes from “The Strip.” Designed by Danielian Associates and built by Blue Heron of Las Vegas, it features cutting-edge architecture, construction techniques, products and lifestyle trends.

It has a state-of-the-art HVAC system that promises extraordinary energy efficiency, innovative double solar panels–capable of producing power from both sides–and water-saving features to improve both indoor and outdoor consumption.

Then there’s the fun stuff. The future residents will be able to view all their centrally located digital content on ten scattered LCD HDTVs, listen to music anywhere in the home through more than 40 in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and control all the lighting and security from mobile control devices.

Call it a test kitchen, design lab, product showcase or educational tool disguised as a home. Whatever you call it, it will likely have implications for both residential and commercial construction, at least if history is any indication.

NCHI has sponsored a showcase house at IBS for the past 26 years. Each house has two roles: the first as a showcase for products, technologies and design, the second as a home for whoever ultimately buys it.

The homes have introduced a host of design ideas, materials and product applications, including:

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