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Press release from GlobeNewswire (a Nasdaq OMX company)

EPA Gives Top Marks to Meritage Homes for Leadership in Housing

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

EPA Gives Top Marks to Meritage Homes for Leadership in Housing05:00 EDT Wednesday, May 23, 2012SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 23, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meritage Homes (NYSE:MTH) has been honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the important contribution it has made to energy-efficient construction and environmental protection. The EPA awarded Meritage the coveted 2012 ENERGY STAR® Leadership in Housing Award in recognition of the builder's extreme energy-efficient homes in all 12 of its divisions, which far surpass current standards set by the EPA. To earn the ENERGY STAR, homes must be at least 20 percent more efficient than the average new home built today. Meritage's homes exceed EPA guidelines and are typically 50 percent more efficient than traditional production homes, translating to savings of more than $1,500 per year in utility costs for the average Meritage homeowner. Last year, Meritage built more than 3,200 ENERGY STAR certified homes which were estimated to have collectively saved homeowners over $2.7 million in utility costs. In addition to cost savings, the energy efficiency of these ENERGY STAR certified homes translates into numerous environmental benefits equivalent to eliminating the emissions from more than 3,100 vehicles, saving more than 4,700 acres of trees and more than 17 million pounds of coal per year. Meritage's homes integrate more than a dozen energy-efficient and sustainable living features — ranging from spray foam insulation to low-flow shower heads, a smart water irrigation system and an indoor air quality management system — and many communities offer advanced renewable energy as well. "This is significant because these features in an average Meritage home can equate to savings of up to $60,000 over the course of a 30-year mortgage, assuming 3% inflation per year," said CR Herro, Meritage's vice president of Environmental Affairs. Nationwide, Americans saved more than nearly $400 million on their utility bills with the help of ENERGY STAR guidelines in 2011. "We look at the ENERGY STAR Awards as an important validation of our commitment to higher building standards," said Steve Hilton, chairman and CEO of Meritage Homes. "We are pleased to be honored in this way and will continue to be driven by our mission to build distinctive, quality homes and communities that deliver enduring value."About Meritage Homes Corporation Meritage Homes is the ninth-largest public homebuilder in the United States based on homes closed. Meritage builds a variety of homes across the Southern and Western states to appeal to a wide range of buyers, including first-time, move-up, luxury and active adults. As of March 31, 2012, the company had 150 actively selling communities in 15 metropolitan areas, including Northern California, East Bay/Central Valley and Southern California, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Tucson, Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando, Tampa and Raleigh-Durham. Meritage was the first large national homebuilder to be 100 percent ENERGY STAR® qualified in every home started since January 1, 2010. Meritage has designed and built nearly 70,000 homes in its 25-year history, and has a reputation for its distinctive style, quality construction, and positive customer experience. For more information, visit meritagehomes.com. The Meritage Homes Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2624About ENERGY STAR ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, ENERGY STAR offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. More than 127,000 new homes were constructed to meet ENERGY STAR guidelines in 2011, by partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes, buildings and businesses. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).CONTACT: Brent Anderson VP Investor Relations 972.580.6360 Brent.anderson@meritagehomes.com Mary Little 602.417.0682 (office) 480-586-5134 (mobile) mlittle@c-k.com