Meritage Homes Shifts ESG Efforts Into a Higher Gear
This public production home builder has led in sustainability adoption, earning it a 2023 Eco-Leaders award. Now the company is poised to do even more.
- Number of single-family Meritage homes delivered in 2022: 14,106
- Percentage of Meritage’s 2022 homes that were ENERGY STAR certified: 100
Meritage Homes’ average HERS Index score in 2022: 53
A common phrase heard among architects is “the greenest building is the one that already exists.” Even so, with the housing crisis being more acutely felt by the American people, the nation is increasingly in need of new housing units.
If the future entails the production of new homes, which it inevitably does, those homes should be built following sustainable building practices to minimize environmental impact. Cue Meritage Homes.
Meritage, a public production builder in the U.S., has been at the forefront of sustainability for several years and has most recently secured its role as an environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) industry leader. From as early as 2009, Meritage has recognized the importance of providing American families with energy efficient, resilient, and cost-effective homes.
All Meritage Homes emphasize environmental positives—especially a home’s ability to more-efficiently use energy thanks to smarter construction, spray foam insulation, and ENERGY STAR-certified appliances. Courtesy Meritage Homes
The staff at Meritage continue to explore innovative ways to deliver on the company mission: “Life. Built. Better.” For example, in the last decade, Meritage has managed to continually improve the average Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index ratings of its homes.
Increased energy efficiency was made possible through the addition of solar panels, multispeed HVAC systems, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense-certified fixtures, low- to zero-volatile organic compounds (VOC) materials, spray foam insulation, and smart thermostats, among other sustainable home features.
Meritage is committed to working with its suppliers to enhance the supplier’s ESG capabilities and, in turn, source more sustainable products to further improve energy efficiency.
Meritage Homes’ ESG strategy leans heavily on social elements, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), talent acquisition and retention, workplace health and safety, and customer satisfaction. Courtesy Meritage Homes
Additionally, year after year, Meritage has continued to increase the number of homes built to ENERGY STAR certification standards. In 2022, 100 percent of the homes Meritage produced were Energy Star certified.
Impressively, Meritage has built more than 100,000 Energy Star-certified homes since 2009. The company’s long-term commitment to sustainability has earned it several awards.
In 2023, the EPA recognized Meritage for its contribution to energy efficient construction with the Energy Star Market Leader Award. This was the 10th time Meritage was honored with this award.
In that same year, Meritage received the Energy Star Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence Award for the 10th time.
Beyond its evident commitment to the environment and energy efficient housing, Meritage has crafted an ESG strategy to dial in their presence within the “S” and “G” categories of ESG.
Meritage, with the help of a third-party consultant, identified the following social material topics: diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), talent acquisition and retention, employee wellness, workplace health and safety, affordable housing, community engagement, and customer satisfaction.
The company’s annual ESG Action Plan outlines the specific strategies Meritage has or will implement to manage these material risks.
A winning hand. A long history of building stylish, energy efficient housing has resulted in Meritage Homes winning more than 20 ENERGY STAR-related awards since 2009. Courtesy Meritage Homes
For example, in terms of talent acquisition and retention, Meritage has partnered with nonprofit organizations, institutions, and foundations such as INROADS, WayUp, and the Society of Women Engineers to recruit diverse talent to the homebuilding industry.
Meritage has developed a multi-tiered governance structure to oversee the implementation of its ESG strategy. This includes a diverse board of directors, several oversight committees for the board, an internal ESG council, and the Environmental, Social, & Sustainability (ES&S) Committee.
While Meritage may not publicly disclose its ESG targets and goals, it continues to lead the homebuilding industry in ESG rankings and exemplify how a robust ESG strategy informed by company specific material risks can improve value creation for shareholders.