ENERGY STAR-Certified Appliances
Appliances and home electronics are responsible for about 20% of a U.S. home's energy bills. Devices carrying the ENERGY STAR logo generally use 20–30% less energy than required by federal standards by employing superior designs that require less energy to perform the same or better job. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that ENERGY STAR appliances saved about $14 billion in energy costs in 2006 alone.
Every faucet and showerhead in a new Meritage home exceeds industry standards for water savings, reducing water bills and the cost of heating water by as much as 50%.
Low-E2 or E3 vinyl windows
Low-E coatings on windows reduce energy loss by as much as 30-50% compared to regular windows. Low-E coatings, which are microscopically thin materials bonded to the surface of a window's glass, are so thin you can see right through them yet they prevent heat and ultra-violet (UV) rays from passing through the glass.
The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills. A programmable thermostat reduces residential energy use by adjusting the temperature according to a series of programmed settings that take effect at different times of the day. This allows the temperature difference to be reduced without sacrificing comfort. It is not unusual to achieve 30% heating and cooling energy usage reductions with the pre-programmed settings that come with ENERGY STAR-certified programmable thermostats.
Low-VOC Paints and Finishes
The EPA has identified indoor air pollution as one of the four greatest risks to human health. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are found around the home; cleaning solvents, adhesives, paints, and carpets all may emit VOCs. Many VOCs have negative health consequences. In recent years many common materials and products used indoors have been developed and are labeled by their manufacturers as "low VOC" or "zero VOC content" to improve indoor air quality. Today, many low VOC materials are equal or better in quality and durability than conventional VOC-based formulas.
Minimum SEER 14 HVAC
Heating and cooling homes accounts for nearly 60% of residential electricity usage in the United States. The higher the SEER of your unit, the greater its efficiency – and the lower your operating costs. Compared with models 10 years old or older, cooling costs can be lowered 20-40% with newer, more efficient models.
A home energy rating will consider the construction and materials of the home, insulation levels, window/door types and efficiency, the window/door-to-wall area ratios, appliances and lighting (including the water heater), mechanical system (heating and cooling), the orientation of the house, the size of the conditioned area in square feet, and the leakage or air infiltration of the home envelope and duct work. The Home Energy Rating is completed from on-site visits using test equipment like the blower door and duct tester, and from blueprints on new homes.
Optional ECHO® Solar Energy System
The ECHO® Solar system produces two to three times more energy from the sun than a typical PV solar system. It generates electricity and thermal energy to heat and cool your home, saving significantly on utility costs. The energy monitoring system allows you to regulate your home's heating and cooling from anywhere via Internet, smart phone, or tablet.