At around this time last year I first blogged about BOOM, an ambitious, 100-acre retirement fantasyland outside of Palm Springs geared towards (initially, at least) the aging LGBT community. Conceived by dreamboat architect and New Aging founder Matthias Hollwich of HWKN, it looks like “inclusion, not seclusion”-minded BOOM won’t be completed for another year or so and, when it is, the $250 million project won’t be every granny’s cup of Earl Grey. That is, unless your granny has no qualms about giving up her Cadillac for an architecturally significant, car-free community in the desert, complete with rooftop discotheques and “healing funhouses.”
And then there’s SheaXero, a more immediate and decidedly more accessible new housing option for green-minded baby boomers from Scottsdale-based Shea Homes, the nation’s oldest and largest private home builder. Although lacking the architectural razzle-dazzle of the housing options over at BOOM, the green specs of SheaXero homes — essentially, they’re net-zero energy homes for the snowbird set — are quite impressive.
Through a partnership with SolarCity, each SheaXero home located within Shea Homes Active Lifestyle and Trilogy retirement resort communities includes solar not as a premium add-on but as the standard. Other energy-saving features of SheaXero homes include EnergyStar appliances from Jenn-Air, super-efficient Trane HVAC systems, blown-in recycled cellulose insulation, energy-efficient lighting, insulated garage doors, digital programmable thermostats, dual-pane, low-e windows, and more.
With all these elements working towards a zero-energy goal, SheaXero is being touted as the “No Electric Bill Home.” Naturally, a monthly electric bill is the last thing that a homeowner of a certain age wants to worry about as they enjoy their golden years. In fact, the folks at Shea Homes Active Lifestyle Communities have a whole list of things that SheaXero residents can indulge in after saving thousands (depending on location) on utility costs: painting lessons, patio furniture, Caribbean cruises, golf, and more. And with all that money saved, SheaXero-ites could easily also slip another $20 in their grandkids’ birthday cards.
Says Rick Andreen, president of Shea Homes Active Lifestyle Communities in a press release announcing SheaXero:
The big news with SheaXero is the zero dollars homeowners pay for electricity each month. We know how important it is for our customers to save money. Depending on where the home is located, owners can save thousands of dollars per year. But its not just about the substantial savings, it’s the peace of mind our customers enjoy by not worrying about escalating energy costs. They can say goodbye to rate increases while safeguarding the environment for the next generation.
Described as a “warm, stylish home with space-age performance,” the SheaXero’s green standards don’t end at energy savings. The homes also boast water-conserving Delta faucets and showerheads, the use of certified wood, and charging stations for electric vehicles (and golf carts). And since the homes are designed with the needs of the 55-and-over set in mind, they include ergonomic countertops, open floor plans, easy-to-reach everything, and Fresh Air Ventilation systems.
Available at all 10 Shea Homes Trilogy and Active Lifestyle Communities across five states in locales such as Brentwood, Calif., Peoria, Ariz., Orlando, and Las Vegas, the SheaXero is also on the affordable side. Depending on the community, the homes start at anywhere from $153,000 to $398,000.