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KB Home Unveils ‘GreenHouse’, Meritage Signs Solar Deal

Two of the nation’s biggest homebuilders have announced steps towards creating more energy-efficient homes – one with help from domestic guru Martha Stewart.

KB Home has unveiled the KB Home GreenHouse, a prototype net-zero energy home near Orlando, Fla. It bills the model house as “an idea home created with Martha Stewart”.

The home (see picture, left) is LEED platinum. Features include a real-time energy monitoring system, solar thermal water heater, low-emission paints, energy-efficient insulation and an electric car charging station. The house is designed to produce more energy than it consumes, KB Home said.

The home has a $380,000 price tag, and it cost KB $70,000 more to build than a typical home of comparable size, the Wall Street Journal reported.

KB Home will offer houses with some but not all of the prototype’s environmental features, priced in the low-to-mid $200,000s, in a new “Martha Community” near Orlando next spring, the Journal said.

Calvert Investments recently ranked KB Home as the greenest of the ten largest listed homebuilders in the U.S. (scroll down article).

In other homebuilder news, Meritage Homes agreed to use Echo solar power systems exclusively in all its solar-powered communities. Made by PVT Solar, the Echo system combines photovoltaic panels with solar thermal technology for home heating and hot water.

The systems deliver more than twice as much energy as basic photovoltaic systems, Meritage said, and enable the company to build homes using 70 to 80 percent less energy than a standard house.

Last year Meritage included Echo systems as standard in 17 of its most energy efficient communities. The builder says that many of these developments are selling homes over three times faster than the competition.

In Calvert’s rankings, however, Meritage last year dropped from second to eighth place.

Other developers using the Echo system include Joseph Carl Homes and Shea Homes, PVT Solar said.

Photo credit: c. 2010 James F. Wilson/Courtesy Builder magazine.

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2 thoughts on “KB Home Unveils ‘GreenHouse’, Meritage Signs Solar Deal

  1. Soon every home is going to be built this way. Two things are required for this to happen. First, knowledge about alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power has to be commonplace and, second, the components have to be affordable. Once these obstacles have been overcome, only then will it happen.

  2. KB Home can’t even repair our new home properly so I don’t think I’d trust them to go solar without issues. I would also be skeptical of their claims. We were supposed to have an Energy Star home and the insulation in the attic was only about 6-7″ when it was supposed to be 13″ minimum. The other side of the attic had no insulation. They claim they spray foam gaps for energy efficiency, which doesn’t seem to be the case either. Maybe the solar will help compensate for the wasted energy from homes KB didn’t insulate properly.

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