Weeks after opening its first high-performance, energy efficient community in Apopka, Fla., Meritage Homes Corp. on Thursday announced it is offering energy-efficient homes in seven other communities around the Orlando, Florida metro area.

The communities include Forestbrooke in Ocoee, Cypress Preserve in St.Cloud, Preserve at Black Hammock, Terralago in Oviedo and Oaks at Brandy Lake and Independence in Winter Garden. Lake Todd Estates in Apopka was opened on January 27th; the company said in a release that it has seen "a huge number of potential homebuyers ... and several home sales" since.

The new high-performance homes can save buyers more than 65% in energy use as compared to existing homes, according to U.S. Department of Energy standards. All the energy saving features will be included in each home as standard elements, with no additional cost to the homebuyer.

The amenties include spray foam insulation, double low-E vinyl windows, CFL lighting, weather-sensing irrigation, water-saving plumbing fixtures and 15 SEER air conditioning units.

"These new high performance homes will offer some of the most advanced energy efficient features available today," said Fred Vandercook, Orlando division president for Meritage. "We are offering these high performance homes at some of our most desirable communities in the Orlando area."

"We believe this is the way homes should be built going forward," said Steve Hilton, chairman and CEO of Meritage. "They are not only more energy efficient, but more comfortable, cleaner and safer for our homeowners than other new or existing homes."

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.