Pardee Homes: Vista Verde, Las Vegas

By Meghan Stromberg | December 16, 2004


A desert garden (above) demonstrates water-wise strategies, and a solar trellis (below) provides shade and electricity. The trellis is an option for buyers of the 900 single-family detached homes, which range from the high $100,000s to the mid-$200,000s.
  • LivingSmart program, which focuses on energy, health and ecology, and offers many standards plus options
  • Optional solar trellis, which keeps solar panels off roof
  • Testing artificial turf for high-traffic lawns

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To make its public commitment to build environmentally sensitive homes and communities work, Los Angeles-based Pardee Homes must know what buyers will pay for and not force them to pay for features they don’t want, says Joyce Mason, Pardee’s vice president of marketing.

Pardee builds homes at its Vista Verde community in Las Vegas to Energy Star requirements, and its LivingSmart program offers standards such as engineered and certified wood, formaldehyde-free insulation and carpet made from recycled soda bottles (10,000 bottles go into each home). Icons throughout model homes help buyers identify the health, energy and/or ecological benefits of various features, and a LivingSmart room lets shoppers learn about environmental features and benefits at their own pace.

In response to their aesthetic concerns about roof-mounted solar panels, Pardee offers Vista Verde buyers a solar trellis — a garden shade structure topped by a 24-panel solar energy system that can produce up to 305 kilowatt-hours of energy per month. It costs $12,000, so people aren’t buying it in droves, but it is selling.

One buyer bought every available option, adding about $35,000 to the home’s cost. Buyers can choose electronic air filters, tankless water heaters, low-VOC paints, higher-SEER air conditioners and many other features. “We really do find that people want these things, but they also want granite countertops,” says Mason, noting the trade-offs buyers sometimes make.

Water conservation is critical in Nevada, and Pardee makes buyers part of the solution with a demonstration desert garden that shows them how to create a beautiful, water-wise garden. The builder also is testing an advanced artificial turf in a model home’s back yard to see if it might be a viable option.


Community: Vista Verde
Location: Las Vegas
Developer: Pardee Homes
Homes: Approximately 900 single-family detached
Price range: High $100,000s to mid-$200,000s


  • LivingSmart program focuses on energy, health and ecology, offering many standards plus options
  • Solar trellis option keeps solar panels off roof
  • Testing artificial turf for high-traffic lawns

For more information: