Meritage Homes Becomes the Only Large National Builder to be Energy Star Qualified in Every Home, Setting the Standard for Green Homebuilders

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 12, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE:MTH), a leading U.S. homebuilder, announced today that it enters its 25th Anniversary year in 2010 as the only large public builder to meet Energy Star standards in every home it builds. A green builder for many years, the company has strategically moved to incorporate more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly features as standard features in its homes.

Effective for homes started after January 1, 2010, Meritage Homes will include the following green elements in every home it builds to provide buyers more value while respecting the planet's resources.

 * Energy Star qualified.   Meritage Homes exceeds the strict energy
   efficiency criteria set by the EPA and US Department of Energy,
   employing materials and practices such as more effective
   insulation, high performance windows, tight construction,
   sealed ducts, higher SEER energy efficient cooling and heating
   systems, and Energy Star qualified appliances, lighting, and
   water heaters. Energy Star qualified homes are inspected and
   tested by independent home energy raters to ensure they are at
   least 15 percent, and typically 20 to 30 percent, more energy
   efficient than homes built to the current International
   Residential Code.
 * SEER 14 minimum HVAC.   Developed by the DOE, the Seasonal Energy
   Efficiency Ratio is a measurement of an air conditioner or
   heat pump's energy efficiency. A higher SEER indicates higher
   efficiency and typically lower energy bills. Comparing with
   models 10 years or older, cooling costs can be lowered 20 to 40
   percent with newer, more efficient models. The 14 SEER units
   provide significant savings over many of the newer models -- so
   efficient they exceed the EPA's Energy Star Program' high
   efficiency criteria.
 * Low-E windows.   The average home loses 25 percent of its heat
   through windows, which can be the greatest cause of heat loss in
   a home.  "We've chosen to use windows manufactured with Low-E
   coatings because they reduce energy loss by as much as 30 to 50
   percent over regular windows, even though they typically cost us
   about 10 or 15 percent more. The energy bill savings over the
   life of the homes more than makes up for this increased cost,"
   Hilton said.
 * Energy Star programmable thermostats and Energy Star appliances.
   "By incorporating Energy Star appliances along with programmable
   thermostats, Meritage home buyers will have advanced
   technologies that use 10 to 50 percent less energy without
   sacrificing features, style or comfort," said Steven J. Hilton,
   chairman and chief executive officer of Meritage Homes. "This
   makes Meritage homes a fantastic long-term value proposition
   over older homes that contain less efficient technologies."
 * Low-flow faucets and showerheads.   Every faucet and showerhead in
   a new Meritage Home exceeds industry standards for water
   savings.  Installing low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators
   provides the single most effective water conservation savings
   for the home, reducing water bills and the cost of heating water
   by as much as 50 percent.
 * Low VOC carpets, paints and finishes.   The EPA has identified
   indoor air pollution as one of the four greatest risks to human
   health.  Reducing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) reduces
   associated eye, nose, and throat discomfort, headache, allergic
   reaction, and other negative health impacts for homeowners. "A
   home reflects a lifestyle choice," said Hilton. "We want
   Meritage Homes to reflect a healthy lifestyle choice, and that
   includes taking steps to provide good indoor air quality."

Compared with a home built to the current International Residential Code, a new Meritage home uses substantially less energy for heating and cooling, electric appliances and water, and provides a healthier living environment. "We recognize there are two costs to consider when buying a home," Hilton said. "The first is the purchase price that you pay for your home; the second is the long-term cost to operate your home over its lifetime. Meritage is proud to build homes that offer superior value in terms of both the purchase price and over the lifetime of your home."

The results from building high performance, energy efficient homes are already adding up. Across the country, families living in Energy Star qualified homes will save more than $270 million in 2010 alone on their utility bills, while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 370,000 vehicles. Owners of Energy Star qualified Meritage homes can proudly claim their part of those savings.

"While other builders may offer these elements as options or upgrades at an additional cost, Meritage is the first to include all of these as standard features in every home we build at no additional cost to the buyer," said Mr. Hilton. "This is becoming important to more buyers, so others are sure to follow our lead."

(All referenced energy savings and water reduction information is based on data published by the EPA and DOE. For more information visit and

About Meritage Homes Corporation

The year 2010 marks the 25th Anniversary of Meritage Homes Corporation, the 9th largest homebuilder in the U.S. based on homes closed. Meritage offers a variety of homes across the Southern and Western states designed to appeal to a wide range of homebuyers, including first-time, move-up, luxury and active adult buyers, with base prices starting from under $100,000. As of September 30, 2009, the Company had 162 actively selling communities in 12 metropolitan areas including Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Tucson, Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando, and the East Bay/Central Valley and Inland Empire of California. Meritage Homes and its predecessor companies have delivered more than 65,000 homes since the Company was founded in 1985.

The Meritage Homes Corporation logo is available at

Meritage Homes is listed on the NYSE under the symbol MTH.

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CONTACT:  Meritage Homes Corporation
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            (972) 580-6353