Southern Nevada has an abundance of sun, and Concordia Homes is looking to soak it up. Last week, the Henderson, Nev.-based builder unveiled three model homes in Sommerset, a 48-home development that is poised to become the first solar-powered residential community in the state. It will also stand as the first GE ecomagination community in the nation.
All homes at Sommerset will be built in accordance with Masco's Environments for Living Certified Green standards and will feature high-performance GE products such as roof-integrated photovoltaic panels, Energy Star-rated appliances, and an energy-efficient lighting package. Each residence will also be outfitted with an interactive "dashboard" wall display that will allow homeowners to track their electricity and indoor water consumption, as well as electricity generated by the rooftop solar system. Yards will be xeriscaped with drought-tolerant plants to reduce water usage.
Located in the foothills of Henderson just outside Las Vegas, Sommerset will feature plans ranging from 1,626 to 2,707 square feet (on lots starting at 6,000 square feet), with prices starting in the mid-300s. The homes will cost roughly $25,000 to $30,000 more than comparable homes that are not built green, but Concordia president Gidget Graham says home buyers will recoup that initial investment through lower monthly utility payments over the lifetime of the house.
"Buyers of a Sommerset home will be able to lock in a percentage of their energy costs with the purchase of the home," Graham says. "With interest rates low, homes priced from the mid-300s, and a strong indication that energy costs will continue to rise, this is a win-win for the consumer."
With photovoltaic power, Graham estimates that a 2,700-square-foot home at Sommerset could see its average electric bill reduced by 60 percent. The community's carbon footprint will also be reduced through a building program focusing on tight construction, fresh air ventilation, improved thermal systems, right-sized HVAC equipment, pressure balancing, internal moisture management, and combustion safety.
Currently, residential housing is responsible for 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Each rooftop solar system is expected to generate approximately 4,400 kilowatt-hours per year, or 40 percent of the average family's electricity needs.
Homeowners will receive credits for any extra electricity that is fed back into the power grid during peak sun months.
At press time, no sales had closed at Sommerset. An Eco Fair held during the project's grand opening on March 8 drew more than 500 attendees and yielded 166 quality leads, according to a company spokesperson.
As one of six local builders participating in the Southern Nevada Green Building Partnership, Concordia Homes follows a green protocol based on the NAHB National Green Building guidelines, with customized elements to reflect the Southwestern climate. Sommerset is expected to achieve its Southern Nevada Green Building Partnership certification this month.
This article originally appeared on Builder Online.