SOURCE: Beazer Homes

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January 19, 2010 16:20 ET

Beazer Homes Introduces "New" New Homes for 2010 and Beyond

Builder Prompts Home Buyers to Ask New Questions

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - January 19, 2010) - With the start of a new year and a new decade, Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) is raising the bar on home performance standards by introducing innovative building measures aimed at curbing energy use and lowering ownership costs for its new homes. As part of its eSMART initiative, the national top-10 home builder is rolling out progressive levels of high-performance homes, all engineered as a whole-house system to achieve greater energy efficiency, conserve water and improve indoor air quality.

Now Beazer is taking steps to expand consumer dialogue during the home-search process to include a pointed discussion of a home's economical and ecological features. The builder has launched a new marketing campaign and website, www.BeazerNewHome.com, which prompts prospective homebuyers with questions that can help uncover a home's performance potential.

"Many of the innovative features and building science practices that make up our eSMART homes, such as additional home sealing, better framing techniques and denser insulation, are not easily demonstrated in the typical model home," said Kathi James, chief marketing officer for Beazer Homes.

Beazer's research indicates there is a growing consumer demand for more energy- and resource-efficient homes. A survey of prospective homebuyers this month found that the presence of energy-savings features edged out a fancy kitchen, in terms of importance, for the second year in a row.

"Prospective buyers are rethinking the way they shop for homes, with energy consumption an increasingly important factor in the overall purchase decision. Our goal is to arm home shoppers with information and resources that can help them make a more informed decision," said James. "Whether it's a newly constructed home or an older home, the answers to these questions will help gauge how well the home will perform and how much energy and resources it's likely to consume."

How does this home prevent air leakage?

"To improve the performance of our homes, we start by addressing the home's thermal envelope," explained James. "Through additional air sealing and advanced framing techniques, we create a tighter home seal which minimizes air leakage and reduces the home's energy consumption."

Specifically, Beazer seals areas around plumbing, vents, windows, electrical outlets and recessed lights, and areas where walls, floors and ceiling intersect. The builder also installs air barriers behind showers and baths and inside chimneys. These sealing techniques, combined with increased R-value insulation in the walls and attic, can save homeowners up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

What kind of energy savings does this home deliver?

To measure the performance of its eSMART homes, Beazer turned to the NAHB Research Center, which tested popular models in various climate-specific zones and compared them to similar homes built both to the current building code as well as those built to the Building America Benchmark, which represents a typical home built in the mid- to late-1990s.

The study found that, depending on home size and climate zone, Beazer's eSMART homes can offer 27 to 46 percent average energy cost savings over the Building America Benchmark. Additionally, with proper use of the home energy monitor, Beazer's homeowners can decrease their annual electricity costs from five to 15 percent.

What makes this home healthier?

Beazer uses only low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emission paints and carpets, which use water-based solvents instead of petroleum-based solvents, eliminating the chemicals that lead to headaches as well as nose and throat discomfort. Additionally, every Beazer home is equipped with high-efficiency MERV 8 air filters that trap up to 10 times more particles (pollen, dust mites, pet dander, etc.) than standard filters

What water-saving features are included in this home?

To help conserve water, Beazer uses regionally-appropriate plants that are well suited for local climate conditions and thus require less care and watering. Inside the home, Beazer's flow-optimized bath faucets and showerheads use up to 31 percent less water without sacrificing performance or comfort.

Can you update a home to be high performing?

There is no easy or inexpensive way to update an existing home to match the performance of an eSMART home. To replicate Beazer's system, one would have to start by removing the existing drywall in order to properly seal all openings behind the walls and then install insulation with a higher R-value.

Beazer Homes is one of the country's largest single-family homebuilders with operations in 16 states. For more information on Beazer's homes, communities and eco-friendly features visit www.Beazer.com.

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