Domestic diva Martha Stewart and home builder KB Home are trying to spark a green wave in home sales by teaming up to offer to environmentally friendly homes in the Orlando area.

The homes will include solar panels on the roofs, kitchen composting bins, and rainwater collection systems. Prices for the homes will start in the $200,000 range.

However, industry analysts are skeptical that even Stewart can get home owners to buy green, a real estate niche that has yet to catch on in high numbers. Buyers are more concerned with location and price, they say, and are often unwilling to pay extra for environmentally friendly features they don't fully understand.

The general public doesn't seem to understand the value prospect of, for instance, a super-insulated home with a super-efficient HVAC system as much as they understand the value of, for instance, a granite countertop or an in-suite master bath, says Kevin Morrow, senior program manager for the National Association of Home Builders' Green Building Programs.

But others are more optimistic, saying that if anyone can make green catch on it's Stewart. KB Home and Stewart have teamed up before, building more than 1,000 Martha Stewart-branded designed homes in New York, Connecticut, and Maine. The homes featured open kitchens and wainscoting, signatures of Stewart. Even as housing sales slowed, the Stewart-branded homes continued to outperform KB Home's non-name-brand construction.

Source: 'Green' Houses Get Push From Martha Stewart, The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 12, 2011)

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