California Just Founded Its First-Ever Microgrid Community

·3 min read
kb home electric community california
Visit California's First Electric Grid CommunityJim Doyle

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The future has arrived for homeowners in Menifee, California. KB Home—a leading homebuilding company in the United States—has partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy, University of California, SunPower, Schneider Electric, Irvine, Southern California Edison, and Kia to create the first-ever all-electric, solar- and battery-powered microgrid community.

The community's 200 custom, built-to-order properties, nestled among the Shadow Mountains, will all connect to a solar- and battery-powered grid. The project's goals are to reduce a homebuyer's carbon footprint, increase access to long-term home ownership, conserve energy, and reach a level of intentional connectivity that brings communities together.

Thanks to several innovations, the homes are designed to decrease energy usage by 40% when compared with the national average usage. New technology includes everything from a compact air-sourced heat pump to a backup battery offering 33-kilowatt hours of energy. The homes' cutting-edge features are designed to feed into a self-supporting energy system that powers each neighborhood with a community battery and has the capability to operate independently during a grid outage. There are also EV chargers wired into the home as an additional source of energy.

kb home electric community california
Outside of a microgrid Durango home in Shadow Mountain.Jim Doyle

Homeowners can control and monitor their home's energy and operations with one swipe on their phones. Since the early 2000s, KB Home has been able to consumers' needs while also remaining the top energy-efficient home builder. Their homes earn certifications—from DOE-designated Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH), EPA, Energy Star, WaterSense, and Indoor airPLUS—indicating their sustainability efforts and impact.

"Our 15 years of completely innovating and pushing ourselves to go a step farther has always been about putting our customers first. We help the earth and the families in our homes," says Dan Bridleman, KB's Senior Vice President of Sustainability, Technology, and Strategic Sourcing.

kb home electric community california
Kitchen layout and design option for Durango home.COPYRIGHT 2021JIM DOYLE APGS.NET

The lawns of the Durango community are perfectly uniform, but the interiors are uniquely designed based on customer preference. Ranging from 2,009 square feet to 2,906 square feet, the homes offer four bedrooms, two baths, and flex space. Each site includes high-quality, eco-conscious products from Moen, Sherwin Williams, Generation Lighting, Shaw Floors, Kohler, and Schneider Electric. After selecting a floor plan, homesite, and financing options, a design team will assist buyers in creating the home of their dreams from the inside out.

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With over 160,000 homes in their portfolio (14,000 solar homes included), KB plans to monitor the community to measure the progress of the community before breaking ground on future residential solar communities. To date, KB Home estimates to cumulatively reduce energy utility bills for homeowners at an approximation of $856 million.

"KB Home was founded on the principle that we can make homeownership more affordable, for more people. 53% of our homebuyers last year were first-time homeowners, specifically millennials and families," explains Amit Desai, Senior Vice President, and Chief Marketing Officer.

kb home electric community california

To purchase a home or even request a tour to see the future in person, customers can visit the KB Home website and request a walk-through.

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