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Texas builder uses innovative chemistry and applied building science to construct high-performance homes

HOUSTON, TX & FLORHAM PARK, NJ, June 24, 2013 – BASF announced today that through its Center for Building Excellence, it will collaborate with M Street Homes of Houston, Texas, to help it cost-effectively build high-performance homes that are healthier, more durable, and energy efficient.

M Street Homes is the first builder in the Houston area to employ the BEYOND.High Performance ™ approach from BASF, which emphasizes cost-effective techniques to reach an extraordinary level of energy efficiency and sustainable construction, driving homes towards a net-zero impact through the use of renewable energy, homeowner education and active energy conservation participation.

"BASF is at the forefront of energy-efficient construction and has a reputation of doing things the right way, so it was appealing for us to align with BASF's methods," said Randy Erwin, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for M Street Homes. "Our relationship with BASF is valuable because the high performance building materials, expertise, and energy modeling provided by the Center for Building Excellence allows us to stay on the leading edge of green and energy-efficient building."

The BASF Center for Building Excellence staff offers consulting, plan reviews and other services to assist builders in constructing homes using applied building science. The BEYOND.High Performance ™ program helps builders go beyond typical new construction methods to achieve superior homeowner comfort and efficiency.

"We're excited to work with builders like M Street Homes to help them deliver affordable, quality, high-performance homes under the BEYOND program," said Rick Davenport, Director of Sustainable Construction for BASF in North America. "We applaud M Street Homes for its commitment to homeowner satisfaction from the planning stages to the final build." M Street Homes achieves a Home Energy Rating System ® (HERS) score of 50 on finished construction projects, which means it requires only 50 percent of the energy of a conventional code-built home and comes renewable ready. Homes constructed to be M Street Edge, the company's energy efficiency program, include cellulose wall insulation, BASF closed-cell spray polyurethane foam attic insulation, and a high-performance heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. They also feature a hybrid wall system that contains rigid thermal insulation products from BASF that add strength to make them more sustainable in storms as well as the ManaBloc® plumbing system, which reduces water use and plumbing connections while delivering hot water to every outlet faster.

"We've always been a little ahead of the curve when it comes to energy efficiency , and with the BEYOND.High Performance program, we're taking it to the next level," said Erwin. "Our customers want to have an energy-efficient home, but they don't want to have it at the expense of putting their home upside down in value. With M Street Edge, we allow homeowners to have an energy-efficient home without having to spend irrationally to get there, and they reap the benefits of it. In fact, we've had customers show us their electric bills because they're so excited."

The HERS® Index score is a scoring system established by Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), a third party, in which a score of 100 is what a standard new home built to 2006 IECC would score, while a score of 0 is a new home that has net zero energy use. The HERS® Index is a registered trademark of RESNET.

BEYOND.High Performance is a service mark of BASF.

Contact Sharon Kuperman with MStreet at 713-417-2453 in Lakes of Bella Terra for more information.

 

Your Time is NowFort Bend County Outpacing Most of U.S. in Job Creation

Recent reports indicate that Fort Bend County job growth exceeds the nation's average. Along with tax incentives and the thriving energy and oil and gas industries, Katy area officials tout the quality of life and the higher number of well-planned communities and schools as primary reasons for the successful job rate. Lakes of Bella Terra offers precisely the kind of quality of life described by Fort Bend county officials. The resort-style community offers a beautiful lakeside setting and every amenity.

Lisa Clark, vice president of Ryko Development was not surprised at the recent report's findings. "Our residents enjoy resort-style living and the good life every single day. Convenient access to Grand Parkway and the I10 corridor, along with the shops at Bella Terra, make our community perfect for home buyers whether you're relocating for a job or just looking to upgrade your quality of life. And our residents with children know that they're getting the absolute best schools in the state."

Lakes of Bella Terra is a community situated within Lamar CISD, one of just a few school districts in Texas that met Federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Click here to read an article on the successful job growth in Fort Bend County as compared to the rest of the nation.

LCISD High School receives National Certification for Project Lead the Way

Lamar CISD was one of the very few school districts in the state of Texas that met Federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind law. Only 27.6 percent of Texas school districts met this requirement. That breaks down to 339 Texas public school districts meeting the standard, with 876 districts not achieving AYP.

"We can't attribute this accomplishment to just one thing," said Lamar CISD superintendent, Dr. Thomas Randle. "Every child is a priority at Lamar CISD and when you focus on one student at a time, you'll see results like these. Meeting AYP is a credit to our teachers, administrators, staff, parents and the students themselves."

LCISD High School receives National Certification for Project Lead the Way

All four Lamar Consolidated ISD high schools – Foster, George Ranch, Lamar Consolidated and Terry — have received national certification for the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program.

PLTW, a nonprofit organization and the nation's leading provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education programs, offers a rigorous world-class curriculum that allows students to apply what they are learning in math and science class to real-life engineering and technology projects. PLTW also prides itself on high-quality professional development of its teachers and an engaged network of business, community and university partners to give students the fullest experience.

Click here to read an article on LCISD high School Nation Certification:

Congratulations to all the students, teachers and staff at LCISD!


Lakes of Bella Terra Capitalizes on Strong Houston Economy and is One of Few Master Planned Communities Seeing Their Homes Appreciate

While other new home communities near the energy corridor may have been hit hard by the housing crunch, the resort-style community of Lakes of Bella Terra thrives in a lakeside setting in the fast-growing Ft. Bend County. In a recent Houston Chronicle published report, Lakes of Bella Terra showed an average of 3% home appreciation from 2010 to 2011 with the price per average square foot of each home rising from $77.07 to $79.10. The report also states that 88% of the sales in the community were new homes.

"This just proves that homebuyers are discovering the real value of buying and owning a home in our community," said Lisa Clark, vice president of Ryko Development. "What they're finding is that our homes are priced at an incredible value and appreciating over time."

Clark points out that homes in Lakes of Bella Terra are found to cost 7% -15% less than surrounding new home communities. Clark attributes this to a boost in sales for the first quarter of 2012, with Lakes of Bella Terra seeing a 125% increase over 2011's first quarter numbers.

Location is also part of the community's success, says Clark. "We're located in Ft. Bend County," said Clark. "It's the fastest growing county of the ten largest in Texas. Energy, development and education are booming businesses here attracting several Fortune 500 companies. Buying a home here is an investment in one's future."

While Lakes of Bella Terra saw their homes appreciate, according to the report their competitors are seeing either flat appreciation or depreciation, despite the strong Houston economy. The study also points out that a high number of foreclosures contribute to the depreciation.

Community median price/ per sq ft 2011% change '10-'11
Lakes of Bella Terra $79.10 +3%
Westheimer Lakes- North $74.60 -5%
Aliana $86.59 -5%
Fulshear Creek Crossing $105.00 -5%
Seven Meadows $96.77 -2%
Long Meadows Farms $82.60 -1%

Lakes of Bella Terra Elementary Ranked Among the Best!

Hubenak Elementary, was recently ranked the top elementary school in the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District and 29th in the Houston area, according to the 2012 Children at Risk school rankings.

More encompassing than the state's school accountability system, Children at Risk considers more than just the percentage of students passing state exams, dropout and graduation rates. Their formula takes in consideration the percentage of students scoring "commended" which determines how much of the material they have mastered.

Children at Risk also factors student attendance and retention rates and classes sizes into their rankings formula.

To see the full rankings, click here:

Congratulations to all the students, teachers and staff at Hubenak!


Hubenak Elementary School Bests Middle School and High School Choirs To Win “Outstanding” Award

At the recent Blinn College Meet Choral, the Hubenak Elementary Choir was named one of only three Outstanding Choirs. Under director Angela Ramsey, Hubenak's kids received a First Division rating, earning a level-one score from all three judges.

The choir competed against middle school and high school choirs to win the honor and was presented an "Outstanding Choir" trophy.

Congrats to director Ramsey and her champs!

Click here to read an article on Hubenak's Choir on Fort Bend.


Wertheimer Middle School Scores 1st Place in Academic UIL Competition

New home community Lakes of Bella Terra is proud to give kudos to Wertheimer Middle School UIL coordinator Michele Broom and her students who won 1st place overall in the Academic UIL (University Interscholastic League) competition.

The competitions consist of calculator applications, dictionary skills, maps, graphs, charts, mathematics, ready writing, number sense, listening, oral reading, social studies and spelling.

To see a full list of the winners, Click here to see this recent article in the Ft. Bend Star:


Lakes of Bella Terra School Grabs Another Award

When looking for new custom homes, many homeowners consider the school district serving the community and value as two of the most important factors. Those choosing Lakes of Bella Terra will find value in an award-winning community and the top schools. For the second year in a row, the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District has awarded the Secondary School Principal of the year award to one of the principals of the schools that serve Lakes of Bella Terra.

Principal Michael Semmler has been given the 2012 honor after spending nearly 10 years at Briscoe Junior High School. In 2011, Wertheimer Middle School principal Irma Nurre won the prestigious award.

Semmler attributes the award to changing the attitude and culture at Briscoe during the 10 years that he's been on board, the last six as principal "Often when a child comes into junior high school, they feel insecure," Semmler said. "As educators we have to make sure they have everything they need. And it's not just education."

After school programs, extracurricular activities, sports, award-winning academic clubs and regular "academic pep rallies" all play a large role in Semmler's philosophy. "When a kid comes here, they have the opportunity to find success in so many areas," he said.

Semmler's accomplishments are the latest in a line of accolades for the schools of Lakes of Bella Terra. In 2011, the Texas Education Agency awarded all four schools serving Lakes of Bella Terra with the distinguished titles of "Exemplary" and "Recognized."

Hubenak Elementary, an "Exemplary" campus, is located in Lakes of Bella Terra and serves children grades Pre-K through 5. The school's principal Diane Parks is the 2007 Texas National Principal of the Year and was also one of only four people in the nation to be awarded the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership.

Wertheimer Middle School, also an "Exemplary" campus, serves 6th graders. This innovative 6th-grade-only campus provides a transition year between elementary and secondary schools. Wertheimer is known for its challenging curriculum, quality teachers, and an atmosphere that emphasizes communication and cooperation. Together, these elements create a safe and engaging learning environment where all students can excel.

Briscoe Junior High School, where Semmler is the principal, is a "Recognized" campus, which serves students grades 7 through 8. The school offers specialized courses, numerous electives and multiple computer labs to provide students the opportunity to become proficient in the area of technology.

Foster High school, also a "Recognized" campus, serves students grades 9 through 12. Foster High School is ranked as a 2010 National Center for Educational Achievement Higher Performing school. Foster was also presented the 2010 College Readiness Awards by the Texas ACT Council in recognition of their significant increase in ACT scores over the past 5 years while maintaining or increasing the number of students taking the ACT Assessment.


Annual Spring Duathalon

With a winning time of 1:12:15.0, 26-year-old Bryce Fluker scored the best overall course time and won the men's category in the 2nd Annual Spring Back Duathalon, held in Lakes of Bella Terra on March 4, 2012 in Richmond, Texas. Sarah Cathey, 27, was the winner of the women's category with a time of 1:31:18.8.

Seventy one participants entered the race, which included a 3 mile run through the neighborhood's Tuscan architect, followed by a 12 mile beautiful ride through Fulshear, Texas, followed by another 3 mile run to complete the race. The youngest participant was 10 years old and finished the course in 1:43:29:1 and the oldest was 68, with a finish of 1:34:18:2.

Course athletes relaxed and refueled with refreshments sponsored by My Fit Foods and the No Label Brewing Co. A flat course and picture perfect weather played roles in making the race a success for many.

Event organizer, I Tri Event Productions will donate a portion of the race proceeds to the Pink Ribbon Project.


Fort Bend Community Sees Blazing Start to 2012 Sales

Lakes of Bella Terra reports year-to-year sales up 125%. New amenities, new entrance and top builders are credited.

Need proof that the Houston area housing market is on the rebound? Look no further than one of Fort Bend county's crown jewels. The resort style community of Lakes of Bella Terra has seen an increase of 125% so far in year-to-year sales. Last year at this time, the community's sales were up 44% over 2010. Ryko Development vice president Lisa Clark attributes the boost to many factors from new amenities to their collection of top home builders.

"While our resort-style living and custom built Tuscan style homes are constant, we've got several new additions to Lakes of Bella Terra and the planning, construction and hard work are paying off," Clark said. "We're opening two new home sections, we've got a new entrance directly off the Westpark Tollway and there are new amenities for our residents to enjoy."

Clark said the new sections include Via Santori, which features homes by builders D.R. Horton and Brighton Homes with homes ranging from the $160s to $260s. The other new section, Via Renata features homes by D.R Horton and Gallery Custom Homes with selections ranging from the $240s to $300s.

In addition to the community's current amenities such as a Junior Olympic pool, splash pad, volleyball and tennis courts, state-of-the-art workout facility, expansive green space, community-wide events and convenient local shopping, residents now have a new dog park, soccer fields and expanded lakes and walking trails. Construction is underway for even more trails and a catch and release fishing pond.

Another major factor in their success are the builders, Clark said. "Our builders are top notch. Our residents deserve the best and we've made sure their homes are built by the best," she added. Some of the builders benefiting from the increased sales are D.R. Horton, Gallery Custom Homes and Grand View Builders.


D.R. Horton Neighborhoods Series Comes to Lakes of Bella Terra

By Savannah Carter

D.R. Horton is proud to announce further development plans for more homes within the Lakes of Bella Terra community. The company is now building in sections 12 and 13 of the community—adding a new line of available floor plans. The latest style of homes and floor plans called, The Neighborhood Series (located in section 13,) will offer buyers a more innovative, spacious and luxurious style of home. This series offers more standard features available for homebuyers including: cozy media rooms, wood-beam ceilings, three-car garages, expanded game rooms, elaborate outdoor kitchens, wrap-around porches for family gatherings and to top it off, observation decks for a panoramic view of the exquisite Lakes of Bella Terra community. The lot sizes of the Neighborhood Series will be much larger—at 65 and 75 feet, to compliment the floor plans and their abundant features. With sections 12 and 13 overlooking the tranquil lakes and showering fountains, residents will enjoy the prime location adjacent to the luxurious resort-style recreational facility. In section 12, the price range of these homes will vary from the 160s – to – 200s, with a square footage selection from 1,549 – to – 2,711 square feet. Section 13 showcases homes in the 250s – to – 300s price range, with square footage ranging from 2,712 – to – 3,556 square feet.

D.R. Horton currently occupies other sections in the community with variations of lot sizes at price points starting from the 160s – to – 250s. The square footage of this sequence of homes fluctuates from 1,549 – to – 2,983 square feet. With the D.R. Horton expansion in the diversity of home options available in Lakes of Bella Terra, we have the perfect home to accommodate any lifestyle. Life is good in Lakes of Bella Terra.

For more information about our homes please visit, http://www.drhorton.com/houston or "Like" us at http://facebook.com/DRHortonHouston.


K. Hovnanian sets the record straight on annual savings

K. Hovnanian Homes is among the first homebuilders in the United States to provide actual dollar amounts of projected annual cost savings in their energy-efficient "High Performance Homes"

Instead of using the confusing percentage estimates that are often difficult to decipher by those shopping for an energy-efficient home, K. Hovnanian Homes is now demonstrating the potential efficiency and savings that buyers can expect from owning a K. Hovnanian High Performance Home.

K. Hovnanian is leading the way for homebuyers shopping for energy-efficient, eco-friendly homes by making these savings figures available in each of their communities. The homebuilder now demonstrates potential efficiency using the internationally accepted HERS "Home Energy Rating" index, a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET).

K. Hovnanian Homes is sharing this information with the help of "Nate," the spokesperson for their new energy-efficient High Performance Homes. Nate helps homeowners understand the substantial savings possible in a series of YouTube videos, on his website NateKHOV.com, and on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

Visitors to K. Hovnanian High Performance Home models will now find informative displays and interactive demonstrations throughout the home, spotlighting the many included energy-efficient features—and the impressive savings offered by these individual features, all in real dollar figures that consumers can really wrap their minds around, and place their confidence in.

"We believe that people like to connect with people and faces, not with technology-obsessed websites and brochures—so people are more likely to connect with our spokesperson Nate, relate to Nate, and be receptive to learning more about K. Hovnanian High Performance Homes from him," said Laura VanVelthoven, Corporate VP of Marketing and Sales.

Meet Nate and learn more about paying less for monthly energy costs and living the eco-friendly lifestyle in a new K. Hovnanian High Performance Home at www.NateKHOV.com.

Founded in 1959 by Kevork S. Hovnanian, Hovnanian® Enterprises, Inc.® is one of the nation's largest homebuilders with more than 50 years of experience building quality homes in 201 communities across 18 states. Hovnanian Enterprises™ has operations in Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.


Grand View Builders

Houston, TX (May 26, 2011)—Grand View Builders is pleased to announce the addition of Vincent Heims to their sales force to manage the Lakes of Bella Terra community in Richmond, TX. In his new position, Heims will actively work with individuals and families looking to become permanent residents of this neighborhood, as well as uphold stakeholder relationships to encourage community growth. Click here for details.


Fun in the Sun Family Festival

"FUN IN THE SUN" FAMILY FESTIVAL AT LAKES OF BELLA TERRA Saturday 5/21/2011. FREE KITES while supplies last. Come see why Lakes of Bella Terra was voted best new community in Fort Bend County two years in a row while you are enjoying a day out! RC Hobby Shop experts will demonstrate remote control techniques from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Enjoy a day filled with face painting, kite flying, remote control vehicles, prizes and more.


Kite Festival

KITE FESTIVAL AT LAKES OF BELLA TERRA Saturday 4/30/2011. FREE KITES for the first 300 families. Come see why Lakes of Bella Terra was voted best new community in Fort Bend County two years in a row and fly a kite! Starts at 11am with remote control boats and monster trucks, face painting and more.


Lamar CISD Budget Statement

The reality of the deep state education funding cuts that will seriously impact every school district in Texas is on the forefront of Lamar CISD budget planning for 2011-2012. While budget concerns are real, we want the LCISD staff to be focusing on what you do best – educating our children. Click here for details.


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