Where the Electric Dream Challenged the Norm and Became Reality

CitySquare Solar Panels

Case Study of CitySquare by Meritage Homes

The Challenge:

Build a neighborhood that is well though-out, technologically advanced, visually appealing, functions at Net-Zero energy, is all-electric, and will successfully compete in a marketplace comprised of conventional electric and gas homes. In addition, realization of this neighborhood will require the homebuilder, architect, utility company, and local municipalities to work hand-in-hand, together, to achieve something that, up until then, had never been done before…build the countries first All-Electric, Zero-Net Energy attached condominium.

The Background:

Meritage Homes has long had the reputation of building innovative and well though-out homes. They have also been at the forefront of energy-efficient home building. So, when the opportunity arose Meritage Homes, Southern California Edison (SCE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California Energy Commission, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the City of Irvine decided to step-up to the challenge and prove that they could work together, with the same goal in mind – to create, design and build a  neighborhood that would be appealing to both first-time and move down buyers, balance both individual and communal living aspects, provide energy efficient amenities, and have each home be All-Electric and achieve Zero-Net Energy.


  • Eliminate Gas
  • Zero-Net Energy
  • Use Sustainable Materials
  • Comfortable/Healthy Environment
  • Energy Efficient Amenities
  • Overcome buyer resistance to all-electric appliances
  • Remain cost-effective & competitively priced


The Details:


CitySquare opened for sale in April of 2019 in the very competitive market of Irvine, California. The floor plans ranged from 1,868- 2,171 sq. ft. with a starting price of $845,000 to $900,000. They offered stylish, modern architecture, bright open floorplans, and all the features expected in a home of this price range. In addition, all the homes at CitySquare came standard with kitchen and laundry appliances, EV ready garages, solar panels, smart Wi-Fi switches and thermostats, and community amenities such as fire pit, barbecue, outdoor cooking and picnic area, and bocce ball court. It was a buyer’s dream!

In addition to the included features, the CitySquare zero-energy homes, offered something the other new home opportunities could not. When considering the overall mortgage and the utility bills, CitySquare homes are actually less than the conventional homes for sale in the same marketplace. What exactly does that mean? It means that if you purchased a three-bedroom, 1,868-square-foot plan 1 at CitySquare, for example, you would have an estimated energy savings of $103/mo. or $1,233/yr. which calculates out to approximately $63,641 over 30 years.

CitySquare Solar Panels


100% LED overhead lighting
Smart W-Fi Switches
KitchenAid Induction Surface Combo Cooktop
Whirlpool Electric Heat Pump Dryer
Condensing/Hybrid Heat Pump Water
16 SEER/EER 13.5 Heat Pump
Smart Wi-Fi Connected Thermostats
EV Ready Garages
R-13 Open Cell Spray Foam Wall insulation
R-4 Styrofoam Continuous Insulation
Raised Heel Truss Roof with R-50 Spray Foam
Efficient Windows: Low-E, Air-Filled, Double Glazing
SUNPOWER 4KW Solar Panel System on Roof


The Results:

With a dedicated team of forward-thinking building industry and clean energy focused professionals, CitySquare became the nation’s first All-Electric, Zero-Net Energy attached condominium neighborhood. And in true Meritage Homes style, CitySquare is ENERGY STAR 3.2 Certified and was built to exceed California Title 24 building codes ensuring the community performs and surpasses the promises of a better built home, with energy efficiency at the crux of the build.

“We are at a turning point in this state from a zero-net-energy goal … to a zero-emission building goal,” said Kristin Driskell, efficiency chief deputy for the California Energy Commission. “CitySquare shows us how we can build a clean-energy future with the homes that we are building today.”

In addition to proving that collaboration between private and public sectors is possible, CitySquare successfully proven that energy-efficient, all-electric homes are not only a smart decision for the environment, cost-effective for homebuyers, are a means of personal health and safety, they are also desired. CitySquare opened for sale in April of 2019 and was sold out within 12 -18 months which was right on pace with the surrounding new home market.

And now with all-electric homes on the verge of being required in California, Meritage Homes now has the knowledge and experience to replicate this across all their markets – in California and beyond.

Dreamt it. Built it. Done. Repeat…


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