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Shopping for a new home? Be sure to ask for natural gas. Gas appliances are what’s “in” for both indoor and outdoor spaces in new construction properties, say some members of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association.

New homes of all sizes and price points include natural gas-fueled features, reveals a survey of properties shown in the association’s 2021 Parade of Homes.

“We are installing more high-pressure natural gas regulators than ever before,” said Brent Jay, vice president of custom homes for Chamblee-headquartered Harrison Homes. The control devices are a measure of how many natural gas appliances are being installed in new homes.

Homebuilders are responding to shifting consumer priorities.

Homebuilders are responding to shifting consumer priorities, said Jay. He attributes the growing interest in natural gas-fueled amenities to lifestyles that changed significantly in 2020.

The local market trends mirror national ones. A study conducted by the National Association of Realtors concluded that potential home buyers “are seemingly altering their preferences for specific home features as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” A survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. homeowners by Houzz, the online platform for home renovation and design, revealed nearly four in five (79 percent) of respondents said “they are dreaming about changes that would help them to enjoy their home more.”

Designs showcased in this year’s Parade of Homes

featured a variety of natural gas-fueled amenities.

Area homebuilders have quickly pivoted to incorporate more of the features potential buyers want in new homes. From gourmet kitchens to enhanced exterior lighting, designs showcased in this year’s Parade of Homes featured a variety of natural gas-fueled amenities to complement the lifestyles of Georgia homebuyers.

For kitchens and more

The kitchen is among the home zones getting the natural gas treatment. Upgraded ranges are in demand after people discovered their inner chef while eating more meals at home last year. Stuck-at-home Americans began exploring new recipes and food preparation techniques, reported market research firm IRI. Now, cooks are asking for kitchens equipped with gas ranges similar to those used by professional chefs use.

Cooks are asking for kitchens equipped with gas ranges.

Sandy Springs-based Brightwater Homes featured Thermador gas ranges in the houses they opened for the Parade of Homes, said spokesperson Tara Brown. New construction showcased by Smith Douglas Homes promoted gourmet kitchen packages that include a gas range. At Harrison Homes, Jay reports a spike in demand for dual fuel ranges, which combine a gas cooktop and an electric oven.

Gas cooktops complement the increase in home-cooked meals because gas burners provide more precise and instant temperature adjustments. Another advantage that some like: You can cook on a gas range if the power goes out by simply lighting the burners using a match.

Gas-powered hot water heaters are also a common feature in Atlanta-area new construction. Some builders, like Brightwater Homes, are stepping away from conventional tank heaters, however.

Consumer concerns over energy efficiency has prompted Brightwater Homes to install natural gas tankless water heaters in their new homes. “It [heats water] on an as needed basis … not continuously heating a whole tank of water,” Brown explained about the energy-saving feature of a tankless unit.

Even smaller homes aren’t sacrificing the benefits of natural gas. A gas-burning fireplace figures prominently in Paran Homes’ most popular home design, a two-bedroom model called The Hartwell.

Fueling outdoor living

The biggest bump in natural gas use is for outdoor spaces, said Jay. Harrison Homes is seeing far more requests for natural gas lines to operate patio heaters and fire pits, gas heaters for pools and gas lanterns on porches and garages.

… seeing far more requests for natural gas lines to operate patio heaters and fire pits, gas heaters for pools and gas lanterns on porches and garages.

Brightwater Homes has seen the same trend. “Outdoor living has become increasingly important,” Brown said. Her company has seen a significant increase in additional gas lines for features such as outdoor kitchens. “We’re extending the indoor living outdoors!”

Consumers are also requesting natural gas to add exterior beauty to their homes.

“We are seeing many homeowners opting to add gas lights as a decorative feature on the exterior of their homes for an always-on light ambience,” said Brown.

Walton Gas serves natural gas needs

Those buying new homes with natural gas amenities will also need a natural gas supplier. Walton Gas can serve the natural gas needs of new homeowners if their neighborhood is located along Atlanta Gas Light Company’s pipelines.

“Our customers love our best-in-class customer service,

easy-to-read bills and great rates.”

“Our customers love our best-in-class customer service, easy-to-read bills and great rates,” said Savannah Chandler, the company’s communications coordinator.

View Walton Gas rates and flexible residential plans. For customer convenience, new service can be ordered online 24/7 with the Walton Gas Simple Sign Up.