EarthCraft House,™ created in 1999, is a residential green building program of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association in partnership with Southface. This program serves as a blueprint for energy and resource efficient homes.
Many homeowners are faced with the need to improve or expand their existing home. The EarthCraft House Renovation program assists homeowners and contractors in identifying the causes of uncomfortable rooms, high energy bills, poor indoor air quality and combustion safety concerns so that these problems can be addressed in the scope of the renovation. Guidance is also offered in reducing the home's environmental footprint, meaning that the natural resources and energy needed to renovate and operate the home are lowered. The Renovation program addresses the existing home as well as additions and expansions. Several projects have included adding substantial square footage to the existing home while reducing energy bills and improving indoor air quality. As in the new home program, contractors attend an in-class training, which is followed up with field support and inspections before and after construction.
The benefits are numerous. Not only is it a relief to our natural resources and a physically healthier living environment, but it will also save you money. The savings from corrected problems will be reflected in your utility bills and energy needs. There are also tax benefits available. The Federal and State Government is offering tax incentives for renovations that include energy renewable and efficient measures. A downloadable copy of the most general tax incentive is posted below, but to find out about other incentives that are available in your area please visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
An energy audit is typically performed as either a "Blower Door Test" or a "Duct Blaster Test". The test results will give the auditor a Home Energy Rating Score (HERS). Based on the results the auditor can make recommendation for improvement and renovation.
A home energy rating involves an analysis of onsite inspections. Based on the home’s plans, the auditor uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home’s design. This analysis yields a HERS Index. Upon completion of the plan review, the rater will work with the builder/renovator to identify the energy efficiency improvements needed to ensure the house will meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines. The rater then conducts onsite inspections, typically including a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house) and a duct test (to test the leakiness of the ducts). Results of these tests, along with inputs derived from the plan review, are used to generate the HERS Index score for the home.