In the current economic climate, its been a bit rough for those that want to go green on a budget. Not everyone can...Read the rest of this article
KB Home proves that solar power isn’t just for treehuggers
by Kathryn Robbins on March 26, 2011
Like the rest of the economy, the real estate market hasn’t been healthy for a number of years. Builders have had to lay off workers, brokers aren’t cashing a lot of commission checks, and a lot of new homes remain empty for months. Many are looking to green ideas to set their properties apart from vanilla-type construction and a high number of foreclosures hitting the market. Construction giant KB Home is taking this idea to heart and has plans to build a number of communities where solar panels are installed on every starter home.
The residential building titan had previously offered photovoltaic panels as an option for homes in California and Colorado, and their new partnership with SunPower Corporation will make 1.4-kilowatt solar array a standard feature in ten of their communities. The first test communities are located in sunny parts of Southern California such as Eastvale, Temecula, and Chula Vista.
KB has put an interesting spin on the solar panels by pitching them as a way to increase home ownership rates; cutting your power bill makes it even easier to pay off your mortgage. Depending on the size of the home and the energy habits of the residents, the KB estimates that the panels can cut up to 30% of your power bill. For those that really hate giving part of their paycheck to a power company each month, KB offers a fee-based upgrade to a 3.2-kilowatt, 14-panel array which may eliminate your bill entirely.
While the panels may save owners money in the long run, KB has tagged on an extra (and undisclosed) cost for the green technology. Homes in the test markets will be on the listed from $250,000 to $360,000. That’s an awfully high number for a starter home in most of the US, but the California Association of Realtors predicts that the median home price in the state will hit $312,500 this year. If sales are hot they plan on using solar panels in other communities around the country.
The fact that a major home builder like KB has embraced solar technology is a big thing. Their community in Eastvale takes up ninety acres, has five neighborhoods, and may have nearly 500 homes with solar panels. Making green technology such as solar energy as commonplace as a dishwasher or water heater can go a long way in not only cutting you energy bills, but also encouraging others to adopt the technology.