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Green construction project targets 5 states with 'no electric bill' homes

SolarCity and Shea Homes are teaming up to create homes with technologies and features designed to be so energy-efficient, that they should run entirely on solar power.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Solar developer SolarCity and private home builder Shea Homes (which has been around since 1968) have whipped up a combination of renewable energy technology, green building materials and energy-efficiency systems that it plans to sell as "no electric bill" homes.

Think about that for a moment: imagine no utility bill from your local utility provider. Pretty weird concept, no? Even weirder that this is being offered as part of the purchase price of the home.

SolarCity and Shea Homes are promising these homes in five states to start: Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada and Washington. That's where the home builder has Active Lifestyle and Trilogy communities; it is the first time SolarCity will expand into Florida and Nevada. The plan represents one of the largest net-zero electricity home construction projects in the United States, according to the two companies.

Shea Homes is not new to the green home construction game. In the past four years, it has built 3,000 Shea Green Certified homes. It figures those homes have helped save the owners a collective $7 million in energy costs or about 65 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.

What goes into one of these SheaXero homes (like the photo featured above)?

There are 11 "energy-saving features" being touted, including Trane heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, Jenn-Air Energy Star appliances, and dual-pane, low-e windows. These design elements will help homeowners save thousands of dollars in energy costs, while SolarCity's solar panels will help generate the electricity needed to keep things running. All of these features are included in the purchase price of the homes.

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