Timeless design and state-of-the-art technology meet in this year’s Birmingham Home & Garden Inspiration Home.
“I think we put in things in this home that will stand out to people — not just how it looks, but also how all of the home’s systems can be controlled through your smartphones,” said Kyle Murphy, owner of Murphy Home Builders and builder of the 2017 Inspiration Home. “You can be sitting in any room, or even away on vacation, and control your lighting. Things like that will stand out to homeowners and people who come into the home.”
Murphy designed the custom floor plan and incorporated emerging design features.
“We tried to make the floor plan open, but also, with that openness, try to create defined rooms so you still feel cozy in a big open space,” Murphy said.
Built as a showcase, the 2017 BH&G Inspiration Home will be open for tours each Thursday through Sunday during November, beginning Nov. 2. Featuring styles and designs from some of Birmingham’s top retailers and manufacturers, the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath house includes a spacious kitchen and living area that opens to an outdoor entertaining space overlooking the pool. The home is about 4,800 square feet.
“Each room will showcase the best of what’s in store, as well as creative ways for displaying and arranging items,” said Cathy Still McGowin of Birmingham Home & Garden. “We are excited for everyone to explore the interiors to discover ideas for dressing their own homes. And since everything in the house is for sale, you can purchase any accessory or piece of furniture on the spot.”
The latest in features
Murphy said he is proud his company was chosen as the builder for this year’s Inspiration Home. “We chose this location in Ross Bridge; it was a lot we had in a great neighborhood. We also thought the surroundings were perfect for this home.”
An inspiration board for interior designs, the Inspiration Home has the latest in building features.
It is also equipped with energy-efficient systems and technologies, such as a Rheem heat pump water heater, Trane heat pumps, PRO1 zoned duct systems, Energy Star-rated whole house dehumidification, Low-E 2 glass windows and doors, LED lighting, and spray foam insulation. For the homeowner’s convenience, most of the technologies can be controlled through a smartphone.
Murphy said homebuyers are becoming more educated on energy-efficiency features and building practices, making them a must to include in the home.
“Homeowners are really getting smarter and asking the right questions, one specific feature being spray foam insulation,” Murphy said. “That really makes a big difference in a home because it makes the building really tight so you can better size heating and cooling units, ultimately leading to a more comfortable home.”
Spray foam insulation was used in the home’s exterior walls, roof and attic to reach peak efficiency.
The home is not only comfortable inside, but easy to control while the owner is away. Cutting-edge heating, ventilating and air-conditioning technologies, such as a Wi-Fi connected electric heat pump, can be managed through smartphones.
Tops in efficiency
Alabama Power is a sponsor for the 2017 Inspiration Home, and consulted with Murphy Home Builders on leading-edge technologies to make the home more comfortable, connected and convenient.
“The heat pumps and zoned duct systems used in the Inspiration Home allow different parts of the home to be set at different temperatures using the same unit,” said Chad Garretson, Alabama Power market specialist. “These features, along with humidity percentages and air quality, can be managed on the go through an app.”
Heating and cooling is important in a home, not just for the air, but also for the water. Temperatures on the Inspiration Home heat pump water heater can be adjusted on a smartphone through Rheem’s EcoNet® app. The app also can send maintenance and leak alerts.
“We have an 80-gallon heat pump water heater in the home, which is the most efficient on the market,” Murphy said.
Water heating accounts for about 18 percent of a standard home’s energy use.
“The heat pump water heater is 350 percent efficient, saving homeowners an average of 66 percent a year compared to gas storage tank water heaters,” Garretson said.
The home comes equipped to combat something that Alabamians are all too familiar with – humidity.
“Everyone thinks the comfort comes from heating and cooling systems, but in fact humidity plays a huge role in that,” Garretson said. “This home has a whole-house dehumidifier, which will draw humidity out of the air, so you will be comfortable at a higher temperature and your heat pump will work less.”
A boost for health
Large windows were used throughout the home to help achieve the open floor plan Murphy sought. Low-E 2 glass windows and doors were used for more efficiency and comfort.
“The glass lets less UV light into the house to keep temperatures more consistent,” Murphy said.
Homes built with the latest technology not only will add comfort and efficiency in how they function, but can help the overall health of homeowners, he said.
“Having a house that’s built like this helps with anybody that has asthma or any kind of lung disease, by not pulling any outside air into the house,” Murphy said.
Birmingham Home and Garden Magazine’s Inspiration Home is in the Ross Bridge community in Hoover.
Tours are open to the public Nov. 2-26, during the following days and times:
- Thursday and Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sunday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Interested in making your home more comfortable, convenient and connected? Get started by calling 1-800-990-APCO (2726), or visit AlabamaPower.com/InspirationHome.