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Lennar Taps Into Solar Power

Posted: February 2, 2008 3:52 a.m.
Updated: April 4, 2008 2:02 a.m.
Future residents of the West Creek development in Valencia will have the opportunity to be more energy efficient and help the environment as homebuilder Lennar announced on Friday that construction has begun on Los Angeles County's first solar home neighborhood.

So far, five of the eight fully-constructed homes have been sold and the first move-in is planned for the coming week. A total of 96 homes will be built as part of Phase one and two of Patina, a West Creek neighborhood located off of Copper Hill Drive.
The homes are being designed with a variety of built-in features that focus on generating solar energy and reducing dependence on traditional power sources.
A major feature of Lennar's SOLARplus communities are the solar panels that are built into the roof. Through an inverter, the solar energy absorbed from the sun is converted into electricity for the home to use. Even on cloudy days, the panels are still able to absorb energy. Additionally, all 96 homes will include tankless water heaters, low-E glass windows, water control systems to monitor a home's irrigation system and improved insulation in the attics.
Homeowners are also able to track how much they have reduced their carbon footprint by logging onto a Web site that records their energy consumption and the amount reduced. That information is then translated into the number of trees saved to give residents an understanding of the savings.
The dollar amount of savings varies depending on the homeowner's energy consuming habits.
All of the energy efficient aspects of the home are already included in the single family home's price, which ranges from $650,000 to $750,000.
During the announcement, Lennar officials and SunPower representatives explained that Lennar brought the solar neighborhoods to the Santa Clarita Valley as a way to be environmentally friendly. They see that solar homes will become the next step in home-building technology.
The solar neighborhoods have already been built by Lennar, based in Florida and part owner of The Newhall Land and Farming Company, in parts of Northern California, including the Bay Area and San Francisco.
Robert Tummolo, Lennar's regional vice president for the LA/Ventura Division, pointed out that a home's electric meter has the potential to spin backwards when the production exceeds use.
"It will really benefit our community," Tummolo said at the Lennar SOLARplus Information Center, located inside the West Hills Sales Office. He noted that it will also contribute to improving the environment.
Addison Marks, SunPower Corporation's builder sales manager for Southern California, said that solar panels have a 10-year warranty and a life expectancy between 40 to 50 years. The other energy efficient features are also covered by general warranties, as well.
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