When Centerline Homes decided to develop a 1,900-unit section of the Eagle Creek golf course community near Lake Nona, Fla., the large regional builder chose to not only deliver homes specifically designed for different generations but also to incorporate on-site propane to entice buyers.
“There are no natural gas lines out here, so if we wanted to provide the gas appliances and amenities that these buyers want, we needed on-site propane,” Peter Osterman, the company’s vice president of operations, says.
The three Concept Homes – one each for an active Gen B or baby boomer couple, a blended and multigenerational Gen X family, and a young professional Gen Y (or Millennial) couple – exemplify a new breed of suburban planning that combines generations in one neighborhood instead of segmenting them into communities. “This is the way people used to live and want to live again,” Osterman says. “It’s a diverse, vibrant, and sustainable development model.”
(c) 2011 James F. Wilson/courtesy Builder magazine
Since following the status quo was not on Centerline’s sales and marketing plans for the three houses, the builder upped the ante by offering propane in a community that was all electric. The Gen X and Gen B homes have 250-gallon propane tanks buried next to them. The builder will offer propane for the Gen Y plans if their lot configurations allow for an underground tank.
Those tanks – their domes almost invisible in the thick Bermuda grass encircling the houses – provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to a variety of KitchenAid and Jenn-Air cooking appliances (including outdoor grills) and dramatic fire features in all three houses. There are Heat & Glo indoor and outdoor fireplaces and a direct-vent, storage-type A. O. Smith water heater in the Gen X House, and a standby generator from Kohler Power and an A. O. Smith tankless water heater in the Gen B House.
In fact, the Gen B House was designed to accommodate a homeowner’s desire to cook for and entertain family and friends. A five-burner down-draft gas cooktop in the island is made for such dining occasions.
“An electric cooktop would not have made sense for that application,” architect Michael Woodley says. “These buyers are coming from parts of the country where gas is the norm. They love it and won’t accept anything else.”
The Gen X House, meanwhile, features a 48-inch slide-in, dual-fuel range-oven to please its multigenerational household. “Providing the capability to cook with gas is considerate of that family’s structure and time constraints,” Osterman says. “It’s also clean and safe, especially with young kids around.”
The houses will be open for free guided tours to attendees of the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla., February 8 to 11, with free roundtrip shuttle bus service from the Orange County Convention Center. The Gen B House has been replicated as a photo-realistic virtual home that will debut online during IBS.
If you’ll be at IBS this year, be sure to stop by the PERC booth at W3129 and ask one of our experts about the propane products featured in the Concept Homes.