Dwellings in KB Home’s North Haven community near San Jose, Calif., are GreenPoint Rated at no extra cost to buyers and include features such as recycled-content driveways and foundations, high-performance HVAC systems, and low-VOC paints and finishes.
KB Home Dwellings in KB Home’s North Haven community near San Jose, Calif., are GreenPoint Rated at no extra cost to buyers and include features such as recycled-content driveways and foundations, high-performance HVAC systems, and low-VOC paints and finishes.

KB Home and Lennar, two of the country’s largest home builders, have announced plans to offer efficient and sustainable features in their new homes. California-based KB Home will certify all of its Northern California home communities to GreenPoint Rated standards, a third-party certification program of Build It Green, a Berkeley, Calif.-based green building program.

Broader and more stringent than California's Title 24, the GreenPoint rating requires improved efficiency in the areas of energy consumption, water usage, and carbon dioxide emissions. The certified homes will utilize improved building techniques and high-performance products, including Energy Star appliances, efficient HVAC systems, water-conserving irrigation, and home foundations containing recycled content, according to the company. KB says the move will not affect home prices.

The announcement marks one of the first commitments by a large production builder to construct all units to the local green building program.

"KB Home’s commitment to the GreenPoint Rated program demonstrates that green building is a solution that is good for the environment and business," says Catherine A. Merschel, executive director of Build It Green.

KB Home currently has two GreenPoint Rated communities in the San Francisco Bay area, and expects to open more in the coming months.

The company also announced that it will begin offering an option to pre-wire new homes to accommodate electric vehicles. The option will give homeowners the ability to charge electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles at home overnight, which can put less strain on the power grid than daytime charging at public charging stations, according to a KB Home statement.

Lennar Minnesota’s PowerSmart homes are designed to save energy consumption.
Lennar Minnesota’s PowerSmart homes are designed to save energy consumption.

In related news, Miami-based production builder Lennar announced the launch of its energy-efficient PowerSmart line, which will be standard for the Minnesota region at no added cost to buyers. “Research continues to show that prospective buyers are eco-conscious and truly embrace energy-efficient products even in this current economic climate,” says Bill Burgess, president of Lennar’s Minnesota region.

Designed to save the average family up to 40% on energy consumption, PowerSmart homes will meet both Energy Star for Homes certification and the Environments for Living Certified Green standard.

All PowerSmart homes will come with a DOE EnergySmart home scale rating to show buyers the efficiency of their new home and the savings they can expect to see on their electric bill.

Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor, Online for EcoHome.