The New Green: From Energy-Efficient to Self-Sufficient Homes

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The Modern Home is set to complete this model home in May.

By Deb R. Brimer
Contributing Writer

Jimmy Tanghongs – president and CEO of The New Modern Home in Plano – is reinventing green homebuilding. Instead of following the industry flow and building traditional energy-efficient houses, he’s forging his own path by developing the nation’s first neighborhood of self-sufficient homes.

One of Tanghongs’ latest custom homes is currently on the drawing board, and will back up to Lake Ray Hubbard. 

Rear elevation of Lake Ray Hubbard home.

Located just west of the Sunset Drive and Preston Trace Boulevard intersection in Frisco, the Texas Modern community broke ground in late 2018 for 22 new single-family homes ranging in size from 1,850-to-4,380-square-feet. A model home of the Essence floorplan is slated to open in May. Besides showcasing the chic interior, the model will house the design gallery and future D-FW Solar Tour. In September, a model home of the two-story Classic floorplan is set to open, which will be available for sale.

In OMG terms, Tanghongs’ brainchild can only be defined as green homebuilding on steroids. While energy-efficient houses minimize electric costs, Tanghongs’ self-sufficient homes are built to eliminate power costs as well as future exterior maintenance.

“It’s not as simple as installing a few solar panels on any home to make a zero electric bill possible each month of the year,” Tanghongs said. “In fact, some cities don’t even allow solar panels installed on the roof of homes if [they] would be visible from the street.” 

Tanghongs’ ultra-contemporary architecture is more than an aesthetic appeal. Several design elements are part of the methodical formula that make these homes self-sufficient. For example, a short parapet wall not only adds dimension to the look, it hides solar panels and makes homes code-compliant for any city.

“We can cover the roof of the home with [more than] 60 typical-sized solar panels and produce huge amounts of power,” Tanghongs said. “Additionally, it really takes a combination of materials that we use to achieve $0 electric bills.”

Maintenance-free exteriors include brick and stone facades and commercial-grade roofs. In addition to installing top-quality energy-efficient doors and windows and spraying almost 6.5 inches of foam in walls and under the roof, highly-reflective white roofs repel 90 percent of the sun’s rays.   

As his company’s first homebuyer, Tanghongs has first-hand experience with the advantages of self-sufficient living. Last July, amid a string of scorching days topping 100 degrees, his young family’s 3,600-square-foot home earned a $27 credit from their energy provider instead of an electric bill.

Tanghongs didn’t set out to be a homebuilder. He was an electrical engineer for a Collin County tech company who dabbled in buying and selling fixer-uppers part-time. In his quest to minimize remodeling costs, his tech and real estate savvy drove him to his self-sufficient concept, which he believes is the best way to offer value to homeowners.

Aside from scouting Dallas-Fort Worth for future development sites, Tanghongs builds custom self-sufficient homes up to 6,000 square feet. Projects at Lake Ray Hubbard and in Lakewood, Midway Hollow, and Preston Hollow are currently under construction.

For more examples of The New Modern Home’s work, click here.

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