Tuesday, April 5, 2011


2011 Builder Magazine Concept Home is a paragon of efficiency and full of “good things”

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 11, 2011) - Representatives from KB Home (NYSE: KBH), Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) and Builder magazine today unveiled the KB Home GreenHouse™: An Idea Home Created with Martha Stewart. The innovative and expertly-designed net-zero energy home is the 13th in Builder Magazine’s Concept Home series tradition that annually showcases an impactful and interesting new concept in homebuilding during the industry’s premier trade conference, the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS).

With the IBS set to begin tomorrow, the project partners hosted members of the media during a special event at the home. Members of the media were among the first to tour the KB Home Greenhouse and participated in a question and answer session with Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia; Jeffrey Mezger, president and chief executive officer of KB Home; and Boyce Thompson, editorial director for Builder magazine.

“We’re excited to open this year’s home for tours,” said Boyce Thompson. “The KB Home GreenHouse embodies the Concept Home philosophy of bringing together some of the best minds in the business to create a project that has broad appeal, incorporates innovative new products and ideas and will serve to educate other homebuilders.”

Attendees were impressed with the elegantly traditional exterior, free flowing and inviting interior as well as the home design’s ability to bring the outdoors in via a telescoping patio door that spans the length of the kitchen and leads to a spacious lanai.

“We were happy to be a part of this project with KB Home,” said Martha Stewart. “It allowed us to build on our already successful partnership by creating the ultimate ‘green’ home that is not only environmentally friendly, but also beautiful, functional and affordable.”

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the KB Home Greenhouse achieves a new dimension of environmentally friendly building for KB Home; it is the company’s first net-zero energy home, meaning it is intended to produce more energy than it consumes over the span of a year. As such, it has been labeled as a “Maximized Energy-Efficient Home” by the U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, the home has been recognized with a variety of other green building achievements, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® and WaterSense® qualifications, U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) for Homes Platinum rating and Environments for Living® green certification.

“In creating the KB Home GreenHouse, we were able to combine our industry-leading position in environmentally friendly building with our reputation for innovation," said Jeffrey Mezger. “With an established track record of building all ENERGY STAR homes in our new communities, we took this opportunity to go above and beyond and built a net-zero energy home that incorporates new ideas and technologies, including a real-time energy monitoring system and a solar thermal water heater, that we believe will one day be standard in all new homes.”

KB Home was recently recognized as the #1 Green Homebuilder for the second consecutive time by Calvert Investments. Participation in experimental projects like the Builder Magazine Concept Home was one of many criteria used by the firm in its evaluation of sustainable practices in the homebuilding industry.

New Homes in 2015 Will Be Smaller, With a Touch of Green

By: Stephani L. Miller

Architects and builders think new homes will continue to shrink under the driving forces of demographic shifts and other influences.

According to a recently released survey by the NAHB, residential architects and designers, home builders, and others involved in the new home construction sector believe that the home shrinkage phenomenon of the recession years won't be reversing as the economy regains steam, but is actually here to stay. The sentiment among the majority of respondents to the NAHB's "The New Home in 2015" survey is that the average new home will continue to shrink by as much as an additional 10 percent—to about 2,152 square feet—by mid-decade.

Smaller footprints and greener features ranked at the top of the trend list among survey respondents, with 74 percent saying homes will get smaller and 68 percent saying homes will get greener in 2015—far surpassing the other trends the survey evaluated: more technology (29 percent), greater accessibility (20 percent), and more outdoor living features (10 percent).

It's interesting to note, however, that the green features cited as most likely to be included in new homes in 2015 are largely the most cost-effective methods for achieving energy and resource efficiency. Survey respondents indicated that low-E windows, engineered wood components (joists, beams, and trusses), water-efficient fixtures, and Energy Star Home ratings are likely features.

"According to our experts, consumers are really looking to reduce their energy costs. When they say 'green' that's what they mean: reducing the cost of heating, cooling, and running their house," says Rose Quint, assistant vice president for survey research, NAHB Economics and Housing Policy. Because other, potentially higher-performing energy-saving features cost more up front and have longer payback periods, and because mortgage financing is still so tight, many of the other features that would increase the green quotient of a new home fall further down on consumer wish lists, according to respondents.

It's not just economics and energy costs driving the size reduction in new homes, the survey found. Consumer expectations and preferences also are shifting. Homes no longer hold the equity they once did, and homeowners no longer view their residence as an investment that will fund their retirement or help them upgrade to a larger home, according to Quint. Also a driving force toward smaller houses is the population of aging baby boomers seeking to downsize.

As earlier housing trend reports have indicated, the NAHB survey found that single-purpose or special-function rooms (media and hobby rooms, mudrooms, dining rooms) are far less likely to be included in the new homes of 2015. The great room is again on the rise, combining a house's main living and entertaining space, workspace, and cooking/eating space. It was ranked the most likely room to be included in the average new home in 2015. The only area deemed likely to grow in the next five years, according to the survey, is the family room. Fifty-two percent of survey respondents said the living room will merge with other spaces, while 30 percent said it will vanish altogether.

"People have become more realistic about their needs, and they're going to base their purchases on needs rather than wants and lifestyle preferences," Quint says. "A house becomes less expensive when you take away walls and combine multiple living spaces into one room. It also allows for a sense of greater volume within a shrunken footprint."

Interestingly, while more universal design features were deemed only somewhat likely to be included, survey respondents' comments indicated that accessibility will be planned for in more subtle ways than creating a house that's fully accessible at time of sale. Rather, the infrastructure to ease future accessibility retrofits and renovations will be provided in new homes of 2015—which incidentally will play an increasingly important role in the remodeling industry.

Read more findings from "The New Home in 2015" report on HousingEconomics.com.