SOURCE: Beazer Homes

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January 11, 2010 10:48 ET

Beazer Homes Takes eSMART Program to Heightened Levels of Performance

Innovative Building Measures Aimed at Curbing Energy Use and Lowering Ownership Costs

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - January 11, 2010) - Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (NYSE: BZH), one of the country's top 10 homebuilders, today announced the expansion of its eSMART initiative to include three 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. The enhancements strengthen the Company's eco-friendly home offerings and are modeled after best practices from its award-winning "green" building partner Imagine Homes of San Antonio.

In its most ambitious move yet in developing a high performance home from the foundation up, Beazer has introduced construction practices to address the home's thermal envelope and prevent unnecessary air leakage -- thereby reducing energy use.

Beginning this month, all newly constructed Beazer homes will include additional air sealing and framing techniques that allow for more insulation per home, and include denser insulation within walls and attic spaces as well as energy-efficient low-e windows, at no additional cost to the consumer.

These and other enhancements come after four years of extensive collaboration with Imagine Homes, winner of the 2008 and 2009 National Association of Homebuilders' (NAHB) Green Building Awards. Beazer has been a principal investor in Imagine since 2006.

"Our goal has been to leverage Imagine's expertise as an award-winning green home builder to help us gain insights into practical solutions for our homes," said Ian J. McCarthy, president and CEO of Beazer Homes. "We've taken their best practices -- those that have the most impact on the home's operation -- and have included them in our eSMART high performance homes."

Additional energy-saving features incorporated into every Beazer eSMART high-performance home include a home energy monitor, programmable thermostat, compact fluorescent light bulbs and Energy Star dishwasher. To help conserve water, Beazer uses regionally-appropriate plants and only water-saving bath faucets and showerheads. To address indoor air quality, paints and carpets that emit lower Volatile Organize Compounds (VOCs) are used, and every home is equipped with high-efficiency MERV 8 air filters and carbon monoxide detectors.

To measure the performance of its enhanced 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 a 13 to 19 percent energy cost savings over similar homes built to current code standards and a 27 to 46 percent average energy cost savings over comparable houses built 10 to 15 years ago. Additionally, with proper use of the home energy monitor, Beazer's homeowners can decrease their annual electricity costs from five to 15 percent.

"Through our eSMART enhancements, Beazer is making high performance homes attainable and affordable for home buyers," McCarthy said, citing a NAHB survey last year that placed energy efficiency as the No. 2 priority for homebuyers, behind quality of living space.

To further address rising consumer demand for energy and water conservation, Beazer also is introducing two new option packages that offer accelerated performance levels. Available in all Beazer markets, the new eSMART Plus option package includes an upgraded home radiant barrier, which reduces heat gain in the summer and loss in the winter, a higher-efficiency HVAC system, dual flush toilets and supplementary ventilation that provides added comfort.

For those home buyers who want to accelerate their home's performance level even higher, Beazer's new eSMART Green option is available in select markets with plans for a national rollout through the year. As Beazer's pinnacle of eco-friendly design and energy efficiency, these homes get their biggest cost-saving boost through the introduction of spray foam insulation in the attic and within walls that creates a highly efficient home envelope with minimal air leakage.

Beazer's first eSMART Green homes were unveiled in October at Timarron at Creekside Park in The Woodlands, just outside of Houston.

"Beazer's eSMART high performance homes provide the most advanced eco-friendly features of any production homebuilder," said McCarthy. "Now more than ever, home buyers are looking for ways to save money on long-term energy and maintenance costs. Our eSMART homes are a direct response to what our customers have told us is most important."

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