One of three neighborhoods by Maracay Homes for the city of Goodyear, Ariz., each home at Cottages at Rio Paseo has been built with the goal of earning the LEED Certified designation from USGBC
By Abby Pittman
Year after year, the demand for green homes continues to grow. According to the 2013 study “What Home Buyers Really Want” by National Association of Homebuyers, 91 percent of buyers listed Energy Star-rated homes as their highest priority feature. Yet, there is a gap in the market; in 2016, only 10 percent of new homes were built with an Energy Star rating in mind, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Even fewer (1 percent) single-family homes were LEED certified. “One of the reasons for the slower change is the cost associated with building homes that meet the high-demands of energy-efficient certifications,” Elise Goodell, Marketing Manager for Maracay Homes, explained. “While prices have come down on some technologies, there is still a certain level of financial commitment on the part of the homebuilder to incur some of those costs for the greater good of the environment.” But for Maracay Homes, Goodell says that “Building smart and healthy homes in premium locations just happens to be a major part of our company’s core values, so it’s a no-brainer to add many of these features to our homes.”
Maracay Homes has debuted the Cottages at Rio Paseo in Goodyear, Ariz., in hopes of providing for that market. Goodyear, one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., became the perfect backdrop for Maracay Homes to build their Energy Star and LEED Certified homes – Cottages at Rio Paseo. “Finally, our homeowners can sleep well at night knowing their home is helping reduce negative environmental impacts with thoughtful drought tolerant landscaping and water-saving features to protect our most precious resource, engineered wood to help preserve our forests, and the latest technology to lower their overall energy consumption,” said Goodell.
Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to build green. Maracay Homes began their sustainable building journey over a decade ago, teaming up with the EPA’s Energy Star program and constructing their homes to the highest energy-efficient standards available. But Maracay Homes hit a snag in their green initiative. Cottages at Rio Paseo originally broke ground before the housing downturn in the last recession and production was put on halt, like many projects during this time. This forced the developers to re-evaluate the community they were designing: since LEED for Homes didn’t exist until 2008, Maracay Homes recommitted to sustainable building practices and began the certification process again, “so each of the homes could meet the standards of today’s most prolific green building certification program,” Goodell said. “We use third-party verification throughout the entire process to ensure that all guidelines are in line with the standards set by the USGBC. From the selection of the site and building materials to the building practices and how efficiently the home operates, it’s a multi-pronged approach to green living.”
The Cottages at Rio Paseo feature water-efficient fixtures, LED lighting, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, Energy Star appliances, tankless water heaters and Wi-Fi enabled, programmable thermostats. Together, the home runs more efficiently and uses 30-50 percent less energy than typical homes. But it doesn’t stop there. Each home’s indoor air quality meets the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS specifications, ensuring the highest quality of living for residents. “Our homeowners will also enjoy a healthier home, where the indoor air is of the highest quality,” Goodell said. “To ensure each home is a healthy living environment, we use Low-VOC, water-based interior paint, Merv 8 Air Filters, high performing Low-E dual pane vinyl framed windows and a fresh air intake system.”
Not only did Cottages at Rio Paseo get certified for the latest green technology, they also redesigned the homes for today’s fashion. “We’ve added fresh new architecture that not only has been designed for today’s homebuyer, but also exceeds the standard quality that exists in today’s market,” said Goodell. It can be hard to pick up steam after halting a project, but Maracay homes goes above and beyond to appeal to both the Millennial and Boomer demographic. “Maracay teamed with award winning Bassenian Lagoni Architecture Firm to developed an all-new series of floorplans that feature open floor concepts, indoor-outdoor living areas, and contemporary finishes.” In addition to green living, such features are high priorities for Boomers and Millennial alike. Knowing their demographic well, Maracay Homes chooses to build their communities in high-demand areas of cities, including Goodyear. The slogan for the community is “Life is within reach,” meaning residents have big-city amenities nearby for entertainment.
Maracay will continue to break ground in these high-demand areas, including opening 117 condominiums at the Villages at Rio Paseo. For 2018, Maracay Homes will bring more exciting ventures, “We are kicking off 2018 with the opening of a new LEED community, The Vista at Granite Crossing, a 37-home enclave nestled on the edge of Arizona’s famous Superstition Mountains in east Mesa,” Goodell said. Maracay will continue to keep environmentally-friendly, LEED certified, and sustainable building practices at the forefront of their minds as they provide more communities in high-demand areas such as Goodyear and throughout Arizona.
“The secret to our success is simple,” commented Goodell. “We combine the best locations and community designs with a premium product offering that is unique to our competition.”
Abby Pittman is an Editorial Assistant for Builder And Developer magazine. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.