Thursday, January 7, 2010

Environmental awareness is a core belief at On Top of the World Communities and is reflected in its seven new model homes ... all offering optional solar power as part of a sustainable design package that saves the homeowner money, while saving the planet.

On Top of the World Communities’ commitment to energy-efficient homes began when the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy introduced the ENERGY STAR® program. The company embraced this effort immediately, integrating energy-efficient products and building techniques in its homes to ensure long-term energy savings for its home buyers.

As a result, On Top of the World Communities became Florida’s first active adult community to receive 100 percent ENERGY STAR qualification on all new homes.

ENERGY STAR homes include more than two dozen building products and practices ranging from R-30 insulation in ceilings to low-E, energy-efficient double-pane windows, tight construction and efficient heating-and-cooling equipment.

On Top of the World Communities ensures adherence to ENERGY STAR guidelines by performing onsite inspections by an independent third-party expert before and after drywall is installed. Test results compare the energy efficiency of homes here with other area homes built only to local building codes. Then, home buyers are given a report of anticipated energy savings for cooling, heating, lighting, hot water and appliances. And with consistently better energy ratings, On Top of the World homes qualify for Energy Efficient Mortgages, and have higher appraised values.

Currently, the community is pursuing LEED certification, an international green-building-rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizing practical and measurable green-building design and construction.

“We didn’t have to change any of our building practices when we applied for LEED certification because we were doing these extra things already as part of the ENERGY STAR and Builder’s Challenge programs,” notes construction manager Sheryl Johnson. “We’re very proud of that fact.”

As for solar-capable homes – the Huntley II model actually is fitted with solar panels – On Top of the World Communities is among the area’s first home builders to incorporate alternative sources of energy as options in new homes. You may view the production of energy by the Huntley II at the On Top of the World Model Center.

“This is a great opportunity for homeowners to see solar power in action,” Johnson explains. “And from everything we’ve seen and heard, 70 percent of home buyers say they want a high-performance home that is good for the environment.”

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