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Alabama’s newest Smart Neighborhood build underway in Leeds

The newest development at Cedar Rock Farms in Leeds is no ordinary project for Katie McLaughlin and her father, Joe White.

“This project is special to me,” McLaughlin said. “We’re tying it into the original phase of Cedar Rock Farms that my father developed 30 years ago. I remember riding my bike as a kid going to the job sites, so when this opportunity arrived I had my children out here. It was a little like deja vu.”

Leeds home to state’s newest Alabama Power Smart Neighborhood from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

McLaughlin is now vice president of Curtis White Companies, a real estate development business White’s father started 68 years ago. White, who now owns the company and serves as president, said the original phase of Cedar Rock Farms was one of his first developments.

“It was an Alabama Power Good Cents Neighborhood at the time,” White said. “When this piece of property became available, we were able to tie in the existing subdivision to it and we ended up with 21 beautiful wooded lots out here in the Leeds area.”

Houses on those 21 lots are being constructed under the guidance of Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood® Builder program, a partnership with local builders and Chorus SmartSecure to develop homes featuring energy-efficient appliances, connected devices, innovative security solutions and home automation, all designed to simplify homeowners’ lives and give them more control over their home and energy use.

“They’re very energy efficient,” McLaughlin said. “The last home we rated came in at a 55 (HERS rating), so you’re looking at almost a 50% more energy-efficient home.”

A Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score is nationally recognized as the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. A HERS rating is much like a golf score – the lower the number the better.

“An average house has a HERS rating of about 130,” White said. “The last one we did tested out at 55, so that’s about twice the savings of an average house on energy consumption, which calculates to around $120 per month in savings.”

White said the biggest energy savings are thanks to the way a house is built.

“We’re doing a lot of energy-efficient things inside the house, behind the walls, because everyone likes a smaller energy bill,” White said. “We built the homes to fit the home site versus making the lot fit the house, so we’re saving the trees. We’re trying to be very environmentally conscious to preserve the trees and the environment.”

To learn more about Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood® Builder program, visit To learn more about the Smart Neighborhood® development at Cedar Rock Farms in Leeds, visit