Meritage Homes Debuts Affordable Live.NOW. Homes With Spray Foam

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Meritage Homes Corporation, a leading U.S. homebuilder, unveiled its LiVE.NOW.™ homes focused on the growing first-time buyer market. The Company’s strategic decision comes at a time when demand for new homes is increasing among first-time buyers who desire to enter the market to escape continuously escalating rents that make homeownership more attractive.

“According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Millennial generation is expected to form two million households per year over the next decade. Many of them will be purchasing their first homes,” said Steve Hilton, chairman and chief executive officer of Meritage Homes. “We are offering those buyers more than a no-frills entry-level home by incorporating Meritage’s industry-leading energy efficiency and other upgraded features in an ‘entry-level plus’ home at an affordable price.”

LiVE.NOW. homes will generally range from 1,800 to 2,500 square feet, with prices starting in the low $200’s in most markets. A selection of homes will be available for quick move-in, making the dream of home ownership an immediate reality.

Unlike most entry-level homes, Meritage incorporates features that enhance a homeowner’s lifestyle, such as kitchen islands, pantries and granite counter tops, in addition to upgraded cabinets, laundry rooms, plumbing fixtures and appliances. While move-up homes may include those features, they usually come at higher price points that make them unaffordable for most first-time buyers.

LiVE.NOW. homes also include Meritage’s standard suite of industry-leading technologies, including spray foam insulation that is not available from other production homebuilders. Those technologies and features allow Meritage homeowners to enjoy greater comfort and energy-cost savings of up to 50 percent on heating and cooling their homes.

“People want a quality home that is comfortable, safe and healthy for their family to live in and enjoy for many years, and it’s our job to make that affordable for them,” Hilton added. “With the improved quality of life offered by our LiVE.NOW. homes, homeowners of those Meritage homes will be inclined to stay in their first homes longer before making the decision to move up to their next homes.”

In addition to the comfort and upgrades offered in LiVE.NOW.  homes, buyers of those homes will also enjoy a streamlined and efficient home buying process and experience. Meritage is encouraging buyers to MOVE SOONER. LIVE BETTER. WHY WAIT? Its LiVE NOW. homes are currently available in Phoenix and Houston, with more coming soon across the country.


Giving Back

chesmarChesmar Homes has found an excellent way to give back to the local community. We were excited to contribute to their “Tiny House Project” in Austin. Chemar recently built two small home s that were donated to homeless individuals.


GSABA Thanksgiving Military Lunchgsaba

Each year, Building Believers partners with the Greater San Antonio Builders Association to put on a military Thanksgiving. The program is a time to share Thanksgiving with the soldiers who are away from home for the holidays, often for their first time.

This year Key Insulation donated 100 lbs. of sweet potatoes as well as our time. We know what a sacrifice it is for these men and women to be away from home and from family during the holidays. Thank you to all of those who are serving our country!


What’s In Your Walls?

While both open cell and closed cell spray foam insulation are proven and effective commercial solutions, each product has its own unique set of qualities and is more ideal for certain applications. Armed with this knowledge, specifiers can make better educated decisions when it comes to product selection.

A typical 0.5 lb per cubic foot light density open cell product forms into a soft and flexible, yet air tight seal, and therefore accommodates a building’s normal structural movement and shifting over time. As a vapor permeable application, it supports bi-directional assembly drying and provides better sound absorption than its closed cell counterpart. Open cell is also a lower cost product and uses an eco-friendly water-based blowing agent for application.

Meanwhile, 2.0 lb per cubic foot medium density closed cell SPF offers a higher R-value of 6.0 per inch (as compared to open cell’s 3.7 per inch), impact resistance, and a hard, rigid texture which increases the wall racking strength. Furthermore, its low vapor permeance qualifies it as a class II VDR (vapor diffusion retarder), enabling building owners to meet International Code Council building code requirements for vapor retarders where required.foam

For example, in Marine Zones 4 and 5, ICC codes require Class I (less than 0.1 perms) or Class II (between 0.1 and 1.0 perms) vapor retarders on the interior side of framed walls. While closed cell fits the bill, open cell would require a separate vapor retarder.

As a side point regarding open cell, a 6 mil poly vapor retarder is commonly used with fiberglass insulation materials. However, the material requires seeming and can be punctured during application of the drywall. Consequently, the use of vapor retarder paint directly over the insulation surface is recommended.

Another important rule of thumb for open vs. closed cell is the fact that open cell is limited to interior applications whereas closed cell can be installed on the building’s exterior as well.

While these are some general guidelines, each project must be evaluated by its own unique set of requirements, including climate, budget, and performance requirements.


Filling The Work Force

While contractors, roofers, electricians and plumbers are constantly busy, a problem that has been around the industry for quite some time has risen to the forefront: the lack of trained laborers. According to the Texas Bureau of Labor Statistics, in January of 2011, there were 40,300 construction jobs in the San Antonio-New Braunfels area. Just over four years later, that number has increased by over 15,000.

Mike Byrnes is an instructor at Construction Careers Academy, associated with the Northside Independent School District at Warren ccaHigh School. CCA is a four-year magnet school that gives kids interested in the construction field a chance to learn and get apprenticeships. CCA gets around 500 applicants a year and can accept just 150.  To read the full article, click here.

Key Insulation was happy to donate materials for the kids involved in the CCA at Warren High School.


Giving Thanks

For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:5 (NKJV)

As we enter November, our thoughts can turn to Thanksgiving and the things we have for which to be thankful. For some, it is a steady income to make provisions for family, or for that family we have. For others, it may be the cooler weather usually associated with the season, even in South Texas. For others it means Cowboys beating up on some team or maybe the Lions getting beat up or both.

Whatever our thoughts, Psalm 100  resounds with thankfulness. It encourages all the earth to give thanks to the Lord. Why? Because He is good. All the time. He desires the best for us in all aspects of our lives. He provides for our lives now and in the future. His mercy is everlasting: there is no end to his kindnesses to us. Just as a father wants to provide the best for his children, so our Father wants to provide the best for His children. We access His provisions by walking and talking with Him in relationship.

And His truth endures. Much has been said about truth these days in our country. Who do you believe? Who is trustworthy? Maybe none of those who wish to lead us, but God offers truth that is timeless and unchangeable. We can trust in the Lord and not lean on our understandings (truth).

And then Thanksgiving may just turn into Thanks Living.

David Eaton,                                                                                                                                                               Area Team Leader

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Happy Anniversary

kjKristi Fry-Jewett, Builder Energy Rater’s Operations Administrator, celebrates her third year with BER this month! Thanks for being such an awesome employee and a joy to work with!


Upcoming Events

December 8th     NBHBA Holiday Mixer

January 6th         GSABA Housing Forecast

January 17th       HBA Austin Housing Forecast