Source: Meritage Homes

Meritage Homes unveiled America’s first net-zero production home – which produces as much energy as it consumes – in Buckeye, Ariz.

The home includes more than a dozen energy-efficient features – from 100 percent ENERGYSTAR (r) – certified appliances and an ECHO(r) Solar System to an extreme energy-efficient HVAC system, air-tight spray-foam insulation and a weather-sensing irrigation system – incorporated into the design and building from the ground up. The home also boasts “smart” controllers for lighting, thermostats and more; double low-E vinyl windows, dual-flush actuator toilets and low-flow showers and faucets for water conservation; an advanced CFL lighting system; and low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) carpets, paints and finishes for a healthier, safer, and more environmentally friendly home.

There are an estimated 100 net-zero homes in the nation, but they are either custom-built homes or spec-display homes.  “Meritage Homes has been building energy-efficient homes for the past 25
years, but we raised the bar in delivering the next phase of what we’re calling a residential revolution,” said Steve Hilton, the company’s chairman and CEO.

Bruce and Kerry Ploeser and their four children are Meritage Homes’ first “net-zero family,” and recently moved into their Meritage net-zero home in Buckeye. Ploeser, an Air Force veteran, and his family had lived in numerous locations throughout the country over the course of his military career, so when the family finally settled in Arizona, Ploeser already knew the type of home environment he wanted for his family in order to put down their roots.

“If my family was going to make a move, I wanted it to be a smart move,” he said. “Meritage Homes incorporated nearly every aspect of my energy-efficient wish list into its new home models, then took it up a notch to incorporate the final piece in making the home truly net zero for us.”

The net-zero home illustrates how new homes can and should be built, according to C.R. Herro, Meritage Homes’ vice president of Environmental Affairs. “A net-zero home is not the home of the future any more,” he said. “The future is now.”

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