In pursuit of (many) net-zero homes

Homebuilder Meritage has unveiled what it says is the first "net-zero" production home built in the United States. Can it scale a greener house?
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Homebuilder Meritage unveiled on Thursday what it says is the first "net-zero" production home built in the United States.

The key word there is "production." Like any home developer, Meritage wants to erect as many homes as it can, and to do so, it needs to scale the building process.

But there are only about 100 "net-zero" homes -- that is, houses that create as much energy as they consume -- in the United States. And most are custom builds for what is very much a new approach.

Meritage seeks to move away from that, to gain the efficiencies and cost savings of economies of scale.

The company is doing so in the Verrado community of Buckeye, Ariz., where it has build a home that features:

  • Energy Star–certified appliances
  • ECHO Solar System
  • Energy-efficient HVAC system
  • Spray-foam insulation
  • "Smart" landscape irrigation controllers
  • Dynamic CFL lighting system
  • Intelligent thermostats
  • Double low-E vinyl windows
  • Dual-flush actuator toilets
  • Low-flow showers and faucets
  • Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) carpets, paints and finishes

The idea is to make all this green stuff standard, rather than a custom building for an enthusiast homeowner -- and moreover, make the price tag as compelling as a conventional home.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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