13 Must-Haves When Building a New Home


The booming housing market in the United States shows no signs of slowing down - mainly driven by low-interest rates and the lack of homes for sale. This situation offers many families the opportunity to build their dream house and homebuilders an excellent chance to grow their business. Today’s new homeowners demand durable, long-lasting houses with features that save them money, enhance their quality of life, and ensure their home's financial integrity.

Must-Haves When Building a New Home

Read on to learn about 13 must-haves when building your new home:

Building a new home

1. A Tight-Building Envelope with Continuous Insulation

A tight building envelope with continuous insulation (CI) stops thermal bridging and controls moisture infiltrations ﹘vital for ensuring a high-performing, energy-efficient home with good indoor air quality (IAQ). The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE 90.1) and the International Energy Conservation Code (2018 IECC) both mandate continuous insulation.

ICF Creates a Tight Building Envelope

Insulated concrete forms, like Fox Blocks, are a superior product for creating a tight building envelope for an energy-efficient, moisture-resistant, and durable home. ICF homes need 32 percent less energy to cool and 44 percent less energy to heat than a wood-framed house. ICF wall systems also contribute towards the Lead­er­ship in Energy and Envi­ron­men­tal Design (LEED) standards and the Inter­na­tion­al Green Con­struc­tion Code (IgCC), creating a high degree of safety and comfort for the family and increasing the resale value of the home.

2. Large, High-Performing Quality Windows

Quality windows

High-performing, ENERGY STAR® windows add beauty and value to a residence. Windows add warm-natural light, reducing a home's reliance on artificial lighting and making a room seem bigger. They also enhance the quality of life in a house by eliminating harmful UV rays and unwanted noise. High-performing windows retain more heat during the winter and cool air during the summer, reducing energy use by an average of 12 percent.

3. Solar Panels

In recent years. the percent of U.S. homeowners who want rooftop solar grew from 40 percent to 46 percent. Solar renewable energy panels (PV panels) convert sunlight (photons) into electricity, saving homeowners money on monthly utility bills. A home with solar panels can increase its resale value by $15,000.

4. Energy-Star Appliances

Environmentally and financially careful millennials, the largest share of the home buying market, consider ENERGY STAR® appliances a desirable, if not essential feature to their home. ENERGY STAR® appliances can lower a home's energy use by 10 to 50 percent.

5. WaterSense Products

A heightened concern about our water supply due to increasing droughts (attributed to climate change) has prompted many homeowners to incorporate WaterSense (water-efficient) features into their homes. WaterSense products meet the EPA's specifications for water performance and efficiency, reducing water consumption, saving on water bills, and protecting water for future generations. For example, irrigation control technologies for residential usage can lessen water use by up to 50 percent.

6. Smart-Home Technology

Smart-home technologies provide today's active and busy homeowners with a convenient way to manage their daily routines, improve their quality of life, and save time and money. When building a new home,some must-haves include a programmable thermostat, saving up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling expenses, and motion design light, saving up to 30 percent on light energy. Smart locks and fire and carbon monoxide detectors improve a family's safety and peace of mind.

7. Non-Toxic Building Materials

Most homeowners demand healthy homes with safe indoor air quality, requiring builders to use non-toxic, eco-friendly building products, like ICF. Non-toxic building materials should not contain phthalates, formaldehyde, toxic flame retardants, and other VOCs. These toxins can cause cancer, breathing issues, liver and kidney problems, and more.

8. Outdoor Living Space

An outdoor living space is a sure way to add value to your home. It can also reduce stress and increase the well-being of your family. A landscaped patio with a dining area, a dry-laid patio, a patch of gravel, an above-grade deck, or a covered patio or an above-grade deck can raise the value of your home by 12.4 percent.

9. A Climate-Proof, Resilient House

Climate proof

Increasing severe weather events due to climate change makes disaster-resistant home design a must-have by many homeowners. Disaster-resistant design protects a home's integrity and the family's safety and security during and after hurricanes, tornados, fires, earthquakes, and floods. The design should also address power service interruptions, such as brownouts.

ICF construction provides a superior wall assembly for protecting a house against severe winds, wildfires, earthquakes, and floods.

  • Wind-resistant ICF wall systems, with steel-reinforced concrete, contribute towards a continuous load path. A continuous load path holds the roof, walls, floors, and foundation together during a severe wind event by transferring the force from the roof, wall, and other components toward the foundation and finally into the ground. ICF walls also stop airborne debris from penetrating the wall system during severe wind events.
  • Fire-resistant ICF walls limit the spread of flames during a fire. ICF walls do not burn, bend, or soften like steel.
  • Earthquake-resistant ICF buildings have shear walls that extend the entire height and all sides of the building, withstanding intense sideways (lateral) in-plane forces that push the top of the wall one way. Simultaneously, the bottom stays either stationary or is forced in the other direction (racking the wall).
  • Moisture-resistant ICF provides the permeability and strength to resist damaging water intrusion and accumulation before and after a flood.

10. Solid Wood and Tile Flooring

A must-have when building a home today are hardwood and tile floors. These flooring types are lower maintenance and improve the indoor air quality over carpeted floors. Durable wood flooring can boost your home’s sales price by as much as 2.5 percent.

11. Cool and Insulated Roof

Cool and insulated roofs reduce energy bills, improve indoor comfort, and extend the roof's service life. ENERGY STAR® asphalt roofing shingles reflect solar heat, reducing cooling costs by 10 to 15 percent. Likewise, without roof insulation, like Atlas ACFoam roofing insulation, homes can lose about 25% of their heat throughout the winter. In the hot summer months, an uninsulated roof absorbs heat and radiation from the Sun, spreading it throughout the house, putting a heavy load on the air conditioning system. A must-have when building a new home includes an energy-efficient, cool and insulated roof.

12. A High-Performing Heating, Ventilating, and Cooling System

Heating and cooling systems account for nearly 43 percent of a homeowner's energy bill. When building a new home, a properly installed high-performing ENERGY STAR® HVAC system can annually reduce your energy bill by 10 to 30 percent. A high-performance HVAC system also improves the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of your home by maximizing thermal comfort, improving IAQ, and controlling indoor humidity, which can lead to unhealthy mold. A high-efficiency HVAC system can increase the resale value of a home by 5.8 percent.

13. Low-Maintenance and Durable Exterior Features

A must-have for hard-working families are low-maintenance and durable exterior features that will last the home's lifetime, including roofing, siding, and landscaping.


Synthetic-cedar shakes, like Brava Roof Tile, provide a durable and low-maintenance roofing shingle that lasts over 50-years without splitting, denting, or cracking during wind events, snowstorms, or hail, protecting your house and roof from water and pest damage.


Brick and fiber-cement siding both require little maintenance and can last the home's lifespan, although fiber-cement may need a touch up at 15 years. Brick helps cool a home during the summers, and fiber cement resists expanding and contracting as the weather changes.


Low-maintenance landscaping components include automatic irrigation systems, rock gardens with drought-tolerant plants, and hardscaping with pavers, brick, or decorative stone. Sustainable and low-maintenance paving systems, like TRUEGRID, offer a durable, long-lasting stormwater permeable paving system over asphalt paving.

ICF — A Must Have When Building a New Home

ICF houses meet today's homeowners' demands by saving money through energy-efficient, low-maintenance, and durable/disaster-resistant features that enhance the house's long-term value. ICF, like Fox Blocks, creates healthy homes with excellent environmental quality.

What are Fox Blocks ICF Walls?

Fox blocks icf walls

Fox Blocks ICFs form double-insulated, steel-reinforced concrete walls that work well for above- and below-grade walls. Quick and easy to install Fox Blocks Series save builders time and money. The Fox Blocks all-in-one wall assembly combines five construction steps into one, including structure, insulation, air barrier, vapor retarder, and attachment.

A feature that significantly hastens project delivery by reducing the need to coordinate multiple trades while achieving all of the wall systems goals. Fox Blocks structures, when tested by an Energy Rater, meet and surpass the ENERGY STAR® home standards, achieving a five Star Rating.

Vital Features of a New Home in 2022

Building a new home offers you the opportunity to include the latest energy-efficient, durable, and sustainable products and methods, saving you money on monthly and long-term expenses. These features also improve the health, safety, and comfort for your family through superior IEQ and resilience. These must-have features can protect your investment by enhancing your home’s resale value.

Please contact Fox Blocks professionals for more must-haves when building your new home.