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    Posted August 12, 2011 by
    Buckeye, Arizona
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Boot camp: Pick your story

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    Location. Location. Location. Efficiency


    What would you do with an extra few thousand dollars every year?

    Bruce and Kerry Ploeser and their four kids would be happy to answer that question.

    They live in the first-ever net-zero production home in the country and its benefits translate to more disposable income.

    The Arizona family of six recently paid $28 for utilities in June for a 3,300-square-foot-home without changing their lifestyles because of the extreme energy efficiencies that were built into the home from the ground up.

    What’s net-zero mean? Think healthier, quieter, and cleaner living without sacrificing aesthetics like granite countertops because all of the net-zero features come standard – no expensive upgrades required.

    Most importantly, a net-zero home produces as much energy as it consumes, so homeowners can save up to 80 percent or $3,000 per year on utilities compared to the average existing home.

    This is significant because homeowners no longer have to consider making sacrifices to lower their utility bills.

    Forget lifestyle changes like having to time a shower or leaving a thermostat higher than desired to save pennies.

    The Ploeser home is three-and-a-half times more energy-efficient because of its framing; measurably quieter due to its Low-E2 windows; uses 60 percent less energy to keep it cool due to four layers of insulation; and uses solar energy.

    Top 10 homebuilder Meritage Homes is the first homebuilder to build affordable, net-zero production homes for the average consumer – a product once reserved for custom homes.

    I hope I’ve piqued your interest and would be happy to provide more information about why this building trend has huge implications for the housing industry and homeowners alike.

    A Meritage Homes environmental engineer also is available to bust the myths about green living to help readers realize how new innovations are allowing homeowners to live more efficiently without changing their lifestyles.

    Below is a breakdown of the visual components and sources for such a story.

    First, give viewers a chance to see the guts of a home – literally by taking them on a tour of a “deconstructed” home to show viewers the more than one dozen energy-efficient standards (from low-flow faucets to spray-foam insulation) in today’s new production sustainable homes.


    Next, we could introduce viewers to the first family to purchase a Meritage Homes’ net-zero home. They moved in last April. They will explain the reasons for their investment.

    Then, we could arrange for you to speak with credible, national experts from the EPA, AvidBuilder.com and Meritage Homes’ VP of Environmental Affairs who is an environmental engineer who can bust the myths about green living.

    And finally, we could take a trip down memory lane to highlight the evolution of homebuilding in America because this trend has huge implications for the housing industry and homeowners alike.

    We’re hoping CNN will lead the national conversation on this trend. Ideally, we could arrange for this story to be produced in time for airing during Earth Week this November.

    For more information, visit meritagehomes.com.

    As for visuals, check out this Phoenix clip to explore the possibilities.
























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