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Earth Craft

Home InSight is an EarthCraft Technical Advisor for the following EarthCraft programs:

• EarthCraft House • EarthCraft Renovation • EarthCraft Multi-Family

As such we support builders and general contractors and their sub contractors with their green building projects. In addition to consulting, we perform quality assurance to certify houses in the appropriate program.


Home InSight is an EarthCraft Technical Advisor for the following EarthCraft programs:

• EarthCraft House • EarthCraft Renovation • EarthCraft Multi-Family

As such we support builders and general contractors and their sub contractors with their green building projects. In addition to consulting, we perform quality assurance to certify houses in the appropriate program.


EarthCraft is a green building certification program jointly developed in 1999 by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Southface Energy Institute. EarthCraft is a program serving Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Southface’s headquarters is in Atlanta, GA.

By addressing factors impacting houses in this mixed-humid environment, EarthCraft is a blueprint for energy, water and resource-efficient single-family homes, multifamily structures, renovation projects, community developments and light-commercial buildings.

Earth Craft
Homes, businesses and communities certified through EarthCraft meet criteria ensuring sustainable, efficient design, and function. Criteria focus on . . .
• Indoor air quality
• Energy efficiency
• Water efficiency
• Resource-efficient design
• Resource-efficient building materials
• Waste management
• Site planning

EarthCraft House

The EarthCraft House program is intended for single-family detached homes, town homes, and duplexes. EarthCraft Technical Advisors provide technical assistance to the builder during the initial design review and throughout project design and construction.

EarthCraft House certifications are determined through a points-based worksheet allowing builders to select the sustainability measures best suited for their house. Worksheet items address proper site planning, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, resource-efficient building materials, indoor air quality, water conservation and home-buyer education, and all are verified during site visits and inspections.

EarthCraft-certified homes must also pass diagnostic tests for air infiltration and duct leakage standards, and homes certified at the Gold or Platinum levels must meet ENERGY STAR requirements.

EarthCraft Renovation

The EarthCraft Renovation program allows homeowners improve building performance, durability, comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality while they make structural changes to their home. EarthCraft Renovation can be used for existing homes, as well as additions.

To achieve EarthCraft certification, a proposed renovation must meet program criteria via a third-party verification process. Similar to other EarthCraft programs, projects are evaluated using a points-based worksheet and diagnostic testing procedures for air infiltration and duct leakage.

EarthCraft Technical Advisors facilitate the process by providing technical assistance to the builder throughout construction, including the initial assessment.

EarthCraft Multi-Family

The EarthCraft Multifamily program provides certifications for low-rise and mid-rise multifamily projects, including new construction and renovation.

Multifamily standards address a wide range of sustainability considerations, including environmental performance, indoor air quality, building durability, comfort and affordability. EarthCraft addresses these concerns for each unit as well as the building as a whole.

Like all EarthCraft programs, EarthCraft Multifamily uses a HERS rating, program guidelines, a points-based worksheet, site visits, and diagnostic testing to verify that each project complies with program standards.

Project teams work with an EarthCraft Technical Advisor, who provide support in meeting program requirements from early in the design phase until construction is completed.

EarthCraft House Certified Homes

Home InSight serves EarthCraft House builders, mainly in the Georgia and Alabama, mostly around the Atlanta Metro Area.

Technical Advisors assist builders in getting their house certified as an EarthCraft House. The process includes a design review, pre-drywall inspection, final inspection, and certification. Services may include on-site consultation, energy ratings, and Manual J reports.

Builders working on their EarthCraft House project are encouraged to listen to a teleconference held 19 May 2009: Starting Your First EarthCraft House. It covers time lines, fees, paperwork, services, ratings, and lessons learned. This teleconference is specific to Home InSight, but can be used generally with any Technical Advisor. Fees and service levels vary.

Design Reviews and the EarthCraft House Worksheet. Design reviews are held at the beginning of the project to reach agreement about how to proceed with plans to build a certifiable house. Expect the first one to last about 3-4 hours. Future reviews may last as little as 15 minutes. During the design review, a worksheet is prepared, essentially serving as requirements for the house. It will be used for consultation, evaluations, and inspections while the house is being built. When the house is finished, the worksheet is used to certify completion.

HERS Ratings. Builders have the choice of using a prescriptive or performance method for achieving the required energy performance for the house. The prescriptive method follows the National Builders Option Package established by ENERGY STAR. The cheaper and more flexible method is based on performance, which is determined by a HERS Rating. Building plans and specification sheets are provided to the Technical Advisor about the time of the Design Review. Home Insight completes the HERS Rating as early as possible to support construction decisions. The final rating is determined after the house is finished.

PreDrywall Inspection. The main purpose of the pre-drywall inspection is to complete the Thermal Bypass checklist to verify air sealing and insulation is in place before the drywall is put up. At the time of this inspection, the Manual J & S reports are collected, if they haven’t been received already. During this inspection (and any other site visit), Home InSight evaluates what is present in light of the current building code—currently the only Technical Advisor uniquely qualified to do so.

Final Inspection. The purposes of the final inspection is to complete field verification for the HERS rating, complete the Thermal Bypass Checklist, and begin finalizing the points on the EarthCraft House Worksheet. Ideally, the Technical Advisor should observe all items required on the Thermal Bypass Checklist. In reality, the builder may have to certify completion for up to 6 items. To avoid this, Home InSight prefers pictures taken by the builder before the area is covered.

Certification. Once all the paperwork is turned into Southface, EarthCraft House certificates are issued twice a month, around the 1st and 15th. Certification requires a signed Worksheet with supporting documentation, signed Thermal Bypass Checklist, confirmed HERS Rating (when the BOP is not used), proper Manual J Reports, ARI certificates showing component matching for HVAC equipment, and all fees paid.

Project Support. Home InSight offers on-site consultation for a fee to assist builders during the construction of any of their houses. This is most useful for the first one and when changing certification levels, such as from Certified to Gold. Project support is offered to avoid costly mistakes. Builders who have used this service have avoided significant rework and have gone on to certification. There have been cases were the house had to be certified at a lower level, as ENERGY STAR only, or not at all. Your TA is available to builders to help them get projects certified as EarthCraft House!

EarthCraft House Resources

Note: Almost all these resources have been copied from other websites; therefore, information may be more current elsewhere. This information is kept here to avoid visiting a variety of websites to get information needed to manage an EarthCraft House project.

Resources for all EarthCraft programs at Southface Energy Institute

EarthCraft House Worksheet Template (*.xls)

Source: Southface

The Thermal Bypass Checklists, Test Sheets, and Worksheets have been replace by one workbook for the house

Worksheet Template

EarthCraft House Technical Guidelines (*.pdf)

Source: Southface

Technical Guidelines

Building Code Amendments (*.pdf)

Source Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Currently, the Georgia residential Building Code is based on various 2006 International Codes and 2009 National Electrical Code. Each New Years Day codes amendments are issued.

International Residential Code (IRC): 2007 2008 2009

International Energy Conservation Code (IECC): 2007 2008 2009

International Plumbing Code (IPC): 2007 2008 2009

International Mechanical Code (IMC): 2007 2008 2009

National Electrical Code (NEC): 2009

Construction Specification Worksheet (*.pdf)

Source: Southface

To complete a HERS Rating based on plans, the builder needs to specify parameters for windows, insulation, etc.

Construction Specification Worksheet

Manual J Evaluation Guidelines (*.pdf)


ACCA Manual J & S reports are required for each heating and cooling system installed. Manual J is used to size the equipment while Manual S is used to specify the equipment. These reports should be submitted as soon as possible after the Design Review, but no later than the PreDrywall Inspection.

Manual J Evaluation Guidelines

Home InSight Energy Star and EarthCraft House Fee Schedule (*.pdf)

Source: Home InSight

This document is freely made available to builders who are clients. It is sent on request and with the appointment confirmations for the PreDrywall and Final Inspections.

ENERGY STAR Documents (*.pdf)

Source: www.EnergyStar.gov

A variety of useful documents from ENERGY STAR have bee collected, largely because the Worksheet references them.

ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Thermal Bypass Checklist Guide

ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Performance Path Requirements

ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes National Builder Option Package

ENERGY STAR Indoor Air Package

ENERGY STAR Advanced Lighting Package

Building America Challenge (*.pdf)


EarthCraft House Builders who build a house with a HERS Index of 70 or less and certify as Gold or Platinum are expected to comply with the Building America Challenge.

Building America Challenge Criteria

Home InSight Technical Presentations (*.ppt)

Source: Home InSight

From time to time, issues with green-built houses arise. When they do, presentations are prepared to help avoid their occurrence.

9 Factors Affecting HVAC Performance

Building Radon Out (*.pdf)

Source www.EPA.gov

Houses built around the Stone Mountain Area are built in the Energy Protection Agency’s red zone for radon. All of Northwest Georgia is in the gold zone. The rest of Georgia is in the green zone. The Surgeon General of the United States says all houses should be tested for radon. Radon mitigation is cheap if the pipes are roughed in during the building process. Many other EarthCraft House strategies avoid radon too.

Building Radon Out

HERS Rating Tools

Data Collection

Plot Plan