Leading the Charge  C.R. Herro, Meritage Homes’ vice president of environmental affairs, has been instrumental in guiding his company toward energy-efficient construction that aims at extending the life of the home. Meritage Homes

The Orange County Register recently sat with C.R. Herro of Meritage Homes to talk solar.

C.R. Herro is a guru of green building and innovation. And his employer, Meritage Homes, has been a pioneer in the production of net-zero homes — a house that generates as much energy as it consumes.

All the homes produced by the nation’s eighth-largest homebuilding company — totaling 7,700 in 2017 — are built with the option to be net-zero.

But just 10 percent of buyers opt to install solar, said Herro, Meritage’s vice president of environmental affairs. Just 1 percent buy the full net-zero package.

He said outdated appraisal and mortgage underwriting methods are part of the reason more people don’t buy solar or net-zero options. Neither recognizes the true value of going green, Herro said.

“Zero-energy represents the best value because its total cost — the cost to build it and the cost to operate it — is the least,” Herro said.

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