What is an Earthcraft House?
First of all, it’s a way of building homes, not the name of a specific builder. Currently, 19 quality builders in the Charlottesville area are certified to build to EarthCraft standards.
EarthCraft standards and options are factored into every aspect of home building – site planning, building orientation, low-impact construction techniques and materials, energy efficiency – for a constant effort to lower the environmental impact of building an EarthCraft home and lower the energy costs and water usage for its future occupants.
A builder must first be trained to fully understand the values and impacts of the elements that make an EarthCraft home better than conventional homes built just to local building code standards. EarthCraft inspectors then work with that builder throughout the process of building each EarthCraft house, making sure that the high standards are met. Once the home is finished, a final test is made to be sure that the new EarthCraft home will deliver the 30-50% greater energy efficiency that is the EarthCraft goal. Those third-party steps to verify the quality of the house result in a certificate of approval given to the builder that the builder can then pass on to the new owner. Every EarthCraft house goes through that process.
EarthCraft standards have been specifically adapted to the temperature ranges and humidity levels found here in central Virginia. Indoor air quality, particularly for moisture control to avoid any possible mold problems from a very airtight house, plays a huge role in the overall process.
Will an EarthCraft home look “different” than conventional homes? Absolutely not!. EarthCraft focuses on building materials, installation and sealing techniques and minor modifications in construction – all things that disappear inside the walls as the house is completed. The only time you’ll see the difference is when you look at the energy bills on an EarthCraft home – 30-50% lower than conventional homes.
Will an EarthCraft home cost more than a conventional home? Generally, very little! Depending on the house and specific choices the builder makes in the process, EarthCraft construction may cost 3 – 5% more than conventional homes. The difference in a monthly mortgage will generally be less than the money you’ll save each month on your utility bills – and many lenders are starting to offer favorable packages on energy efficient homes because they know less of your monthly income will be going to pay bills.
EarthCraft homes come in a wide range of sizes, price ranges and neighborhoods – the perfect array of EarthCraft’s application to almost any home. Some of the builders build only custom homes – you work with them from the beginning to design and build the home of your dreams – and some of the builders build EarthCraft homes without a specific buyer in mind, ready for you to move in as soon as you find one you like.
To Learn more about the Earthcraft House Program and Green Building Visit:
EarthCraft in Virginia: www.ecvirginia.org/
To see the builder worksheets that builders use throughout the EC building process: http://www.ecvirginia.org/files/ECVA_MF_NC_09.11.08.xls
South Face Institute: www.southface.org
Virginia Sustainable Building Network: www.vsbn.org
GREENGUARD product certification
150,000 products rated
Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission
Green Building Sourcebook:
US Green Building Council
LEED program: www.usgbc.org
James River Green Building Council: www.jrgbc.org