In 2010, five homebuilders were recognized as inaugural winners of the Best Practices Research Alliance Home Quality + Performance award. This month we're featuring Meritage Homes, which offers homes across the southern and western United States and is the ninth largest homebuilder in the country. We'll examine what sets them apart from other homebuilders and what makes them an Alliance award-winner, even as they continue to raise the bar with their recent Earth Day announcement that they're going to offer net zero energy homes as part of their standard production homebuilding line. To learn more about the Home Quality + Performance awards, visit here.
In 2009, Meritage committed to incorporating energy efficient and sustainable building practices into all its homes and across its business practices. Its corporate Mission Statement was updated to reflect that commitment.
We asked C.R. Herro, Meritage’s Vice President for Environmental Affairs, for his perspective on Meritage Green and the company's commitment to Home Quality + Performance. The first step was achieving what he calls “the low-hanging fruit”: building 100% ENERGY STAR®-rated homes.
Then, since January 1, 2010, Meritage has included a wide range of energy-efficient and green systems, materials and features as their standard offering at no extra cost to the homebuyer in every new home. Those features include a high-performance envelope rated at 50 HERS or better, a minimum SEER rating of 14, low-e windows, low-flow faucets, programmable thermostats, and low-VOC paints and finishes.
Most recently, Meritage announced on Earth Day that they are offering net zero energy homes in 21 communities, first in California, Nevada and Arizona, then later in Texas and Colorado. Starting with their high-performance home, they have added roof ECHO® solar systems, bringing the homes to net zero energy use. And because of federal and state tax credits, the $10,000 solar system can end up costing the homeowner nothing.
Meritage is also giving away one of its net zero energy homes in June as a way to raise homebuyer awareness of the benefits of a home with no energy bill, and just won the 2011 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year.
Michael Dickens, co-founder of IBACOS and director of the Alliance, said that the company “had achieved some amazing things. They’re really redefined the game here.”
C.R. Herro credits the kind of collaborative research done through the Alliance for helping to bring Meritage to this point.
“We couldn’t have done anything without the partnership of the trades, the industry, the research,” he said. “That partnership has allowed us to do something special. We’re standing on some very broad shoulers.”
For more information on Meritage’s net zero homes and the net zero home giveaway, go to http://www.meritagehomes.com/netzero/index.html