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Solar solutions packaged for N.C. homeowners

BY Ken Clark

Homeowners seeking lower utility bills in North Carolina have a new option, according to vendors making it happen. 

Solar-powered electricity and hot water, along with efficient thermostat controls, are all being wrapped into a single package, under to a new partnership between three companies: Meritage Homes, EchoFirst solar systems and Southern Energy Management (SEM).

The deal marks the first time Echo technology has been deployed in the eastern United States.

Echo said it delivers twice the energy of a basic solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system by supplementing conventional panels with a unique solar thermal technology that captures the heat from the PV panels. Echo systems generate electricity and also hot water for washing and bathing.  This enables Meritage to offer homes that use 70% to 80% less energy than a standard code-built home in the United States. Additionally, the systems include Energy Star-qualified thermostat controls designed to automatically reduce heating and cooling bills by about another 10%, along with mobile phone-enabled remote thermostat control. 

“Meritage Homes understands that homeowners are looking for ways to save money on utility bills without sacrificing features, amenities or lifestyle,” said Meritage Homes VP marketing Eric Rosson. “By building new homes with solar PV and water heating in one, we’re offering homes the way they can, and should, be built.”

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NAHB survey: Kitchens and bathrooms remain top remodeling jobs

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Both kitchen and bathroom renovations have increased 17% from two years ago, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), with bathroom remodels cited as a common job by 78% of remodelers and kitchen remodels at 69%. Since 2009, bathrooms and kitchens have switched places in popularity, with bathroom remodels moving into the top spot as the most common type of remodeling project. 

Remodelers reported that homeowners were frequently upgrading both kitchens and baths, cited their desire to stay in their homes longer.  Nearly 50% of remodelers reported seeing an increase in the number of home owners who undertake remodels to avoid moving compared to the 2010 findings. 

In addition to kitchens and baths, other popular remodeling categories included window/door replacements (44%), whole house remodels (35%), room additions (33%) and handyman services (31%). 

For complete survey results, visit www.nahb.org/rmi

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May-17-2012 09:18 am

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May-09-2012 04:34 am

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Grime Boss pushes petal to the metal

BY Ken Clark

Already an active sponsor in NASCAR racing, Grime Boss heavy-duty hand cleaning wipes are now on board with NHRA drag racing, specifically with Jim Dunn Racing’s Funny Car team. 

“Our sport is a perfect fit for Grime Boss hand wipes,” said Jon Dunn, business manager for Jim Dunn Racing of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). “In the NHRA, like many other motorsports, our mechanics are constantly getting their hands dirty working on the engine, clutch and other components from the time the race car is rolled out of the trailer through the end of each race day.” 

In the NASCAR circuit, Grime Boss teamed with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Ryan Truex.

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