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Meritage Homes' 'Zero Energy' New Home Community Combines Solar Power and Energy Efficiency

Meritage Homes has opened a new home community in Vacaville, California that features solar electric power systems from SunPower Corporation as a standard feature. The homes are also built to exceed State and Federal energy efficiency standards by 35 percent or more. Meritage expects that the solar power systems, combined with the energy efficient features, will save homeowners up to 70 percent on their electric utility bills.

Each of the 45 homes in the new Encore Community will be equipped with a 2.3-kilowatt SunPower SunTile(R) system, which blends seamlessly into the roof and features the most efficient solar technology available on the market.

"Recent builder sales data has indicated that new homes equipped with the SunPower SunTiles system are selling at approximately twice the rate as comparable homes in the same neighborhoods," said Bill Kelly, general manager of the New Homes Division at SunPower, a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems. "Energy prices have risen dramatically over the years. Meritage has recognized that combining high quality, energy-efficient features with solar power systems will result in substantial savings for homeowners."

To maximize energy efficiency in their homes, Meritage has included energy-saving windows and insulation, high-efficiency appliances, attic radiant barriers, low-leakage duct work, and tankless water heaters, among other features. Meritage's Encore homes meet or exceed the energy efficiency requirements of several state and federal initiatives, including:
  • the California Energy Commissions' New Homes Solar Partnership,
  • the US Environmental Protection Agency's and US Department of Energy's Energy Star program, and
  • Building America's Zero-Energy Homes program, which is sponsored by the US Department of Energy.
"We're very pleased to be offering these zero-energy homes in the Vacaville area," said Jeff Jacobs, vice president of Meritage Homes' Northern California/Bay Area Division. "Encore homeowners will benefit from both substantially reduced utility bills and the satisfaction that they are helping to improve the environment by using clean, renewable energy."

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