KB Home rolls out ‘most environmentally ambitious home yet’
KB Home unveiled its first ZeroHouse 2.0 in Los Angeles Wednesday, part of a new, larger series of homes designed to achieve net-zero energy status and zero freshwater irrigation use (by a family of four or more).
“Driven by an industry-leading commitment to sustainability, KB Home has succeeded in building our most water- and energy-efficient ZeroHouse 2.0 to date at Dawn Creek,” said Tom DiPrima, EVP, Southern California division. “With drought conditions currently affecting every corner of California, KB Home recognizes the importance of embracing innovations like the advanced greywater recycling system demonstrated in this ZeroHouse 2.0 that leverage the technology of the future to address the problems of today.”
The ZeroHouse 2.0 (or "Double ZeroHouse") can recycle drainwater on-site and reuse it for landscaping. The model in Los Angeles is estimated to be able to conserve 150,000 gallons of water per year, compared to a typical resale home (a reduction of about 70%).
On the other hand, the ZeroHouse may be primed to give homeowners free energy bills by producing as much energy as it consumes, though KB Home is hesitant to make any bold claims in that regard.
The existing model also features a water recycling dishwasher, a greywater heat recovery system, high-efficiency air ventilation and air purification systems, and a "fuel-forward" garage with options for an EV charger and a CNG fueling station.
Home Depot bolsters spring mix
Cordless outdoor power tools and higher end outdoor furniture are two areas where Home Depot’s top merchant signaled out for special mention during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call.
Craig Menear, Home Depot executive VP of merchandise, said the company was loaded for the outdoor spring selling season, but also had a strong lineup of products for indoor projects.
Spring is the biggest selling season for home improvement retailers, especially Home Depot, where second quarter sales hit $22.5 billion last year, compared to $17.7 billion in the recent fourth quarter.
The retailer is planning for its fifth Spring Black Friday event this year. “Working with our vendors, we plan to bring in special buys and extraordinary values on popular spring items like patio furniture, grills, landscaping and live goods, to name a few,” Menear said.
Outdoor living will be boosted by higher end patio furniture from Brown Jordan. Weber’s new exclusive Spirit series of grills with a Gourmet BBQ System will also factor into the mix, as will charcoal and gas grills from KitchenAid.
A line of cordless outdoor power equipment from Ego will be new in 2014. Menear said the 56-vold lithium-ion batter can go from dead to fully charged in 30 minutes.
Inside, Home Depot will be promoting Delta’s Activetouch H20 Handshower, allowing for one-handed operation. A Kohler toilet seat with an integrated LED light will be in the mix. He also pointed to energy efficient water heaters from Rheem.
“Heading into the 2014 spring selling season, we believe we are well positioned and are excited about the opportunities that it brings,” said Menear.
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New-home sales up 9.6%
Sales of new single-family houses in January increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rate represents a 9.6% increase over the revised December rate of 427,000, and 2.2% above the January 2013 estimate of 458,000.
The data follows shortly after the bureau reported a 16% decline in total housing starts for the month of January.
Yesterday, Census also reported the median sales price of new houses sold in January 2014 was $260,100; the average sales price was $322,800. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 184,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate.
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