The EarthCraft program is designed with 9 categories of focus to produce an efficient healthy house. Focus on each of these categories produces traceable benefits to the homeowner in terms of home performance and comfort.
When an EarthCraft house is constructed, the builder has to fulfill requirements in each of these categories. The following is an overview of how the technical aspects interact with the results a homeowner sees.
Site Planning – The location of a home affects the well being of its occupants and the environment. Choosing to locate near public transit or sidewalk networks provides homeowners with alternatives to spending time and money commuting by car. Additionally, considering and utilizing the existing landscape protects the integrity of the land a home is situated on.
Construction Waste Management – We encourage thoughtfulness throughout the construction process so that no more than the required materials are purchased, and if there is debris it is recycled or disposed of safely. This reduces excessive upfront cost and ensures the site is free of construction waste after the project is completed.
Resource Efficiency – The materials a home is composed of contribute to the efficiency of the structure and the building process. Efficient use of material means strategically planning so that structural joints are placed effectively, only the material that is needed is purchased, and recycled materials are utilized. These measures save money by reducing overbuying, reducing expenditure on new material, and limiting the amount of waste that has to be removed.
Moisture Management – Damage due to excessive moisture should not be an issue homeowners deal with, and in EarthCraft homes it isn’t. Our requirements prevent damage from both airborne water vapor and protect from ground based water sources. This protects homeowners form water damage to the structure and provides comfortable humidity levels inside the home.
High Performance Building Envelope – The building envelope of a home is composed of the outermost walls, ceiling, and floor. A good envelope keeps conditioned air inside and unconditioned air outside. A home with a tight building envelope will need to condition less air than the same home with a less tight envelope.
Indoor Air Quality – Because a tight home is an energy efficient home, ventilation is important to remember during the construction process. Using materials that don’t emit harmful substances and strategically routing ventilation air for the home are both key components to achieving high indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality is a major cause of respiratory problems and other negative health effects.
Energy Efficient Systems – Lighting is only a part of the energy efficiency of a home; EarthCraft considers the whole system of the house to ensure every component is using energy in the most efficient way possible. Before system settings are adjusted, heating and cooling equipment is properly sized and the duct system is thoughtfully designed, allowing for maximum energy savings.
Water Efficiency – Both indoor and outdoor water use contribute to high utility costs, but EarthCraft addresses these potentially excessive costs from the start. Low flow sinks, showerheads, and toilets play an influential role in saving on water bills. Additionally, all landscaping is designed to make the most of water input.
You! – One of the key pieces to a resource efficient home is the resident. Simple habits, like turning off lights and using water wisely, will allow your EarthCraft house to function at peak efficiency. More tips on green living can be found in our EarthCraft Resident Manual.
All of the specifics on the EarthCraft standards are available in our EarthCraft Worksheet, Guidelines, and Manual on the resources page.