EarthCraft

A New Green Building Ordinance in Decatur, Georgia

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in ASHRAE 62.2

The city I live in, Decatur, Georgia — a great, if possibly overly gentrified, place to live — recently passed a unified development ordinance (UDO) requiring green building certification for all new buildings and most renovations — both residential and commercial.

Multifamily Green Building Certification Still Has Issues

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in air sealing

Much of my work these days involves certification of multifamily buildings, and, thanks to a boom in apartment construction, my partner and myself are staying occupied. The one major contrast from single-family residential work, with which I am most familiar from my days as a contractor, is the long lead time. I still find it amusing that I sign a contract, have an initial start-up meeting with the developer and contractor, and often don’t see the project for another year or more, when the builder is ready for our insulation and air-sealing inspections.

Can’t Anyone Get Things Right?

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in duct

In my business of certifying buildings, most of my work involves working with architects, contractors, and trade contractors who are trying to create green buildings. Unfortunately, they frequently miss the mark in some key areas. Many of them are well intended but don’t have a broad enough view of their projects. Others only do the minimum required to meet a green building standard forced on them by someone else. And a few, thankfully, seem to get it and work hard to do the right things. This post, the first in a series about problems I run across, will focus on HVAC.

Making Slow Progress on My Renovation

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in EarthCraft

After a couple of months of construction, I finally have more to report on my renovation project. It is moving more slowly and is costing more than I had expected, but it is moving along, the quality of work is excellent, and the end is in sight. I am reminded almost every day why I decided to exit the renovation business – as exciting as it is to see construction progress, the time and energy it takes to make sure everything gets done right and on time exhausts me. This process has also been teaching me some important lessons about patience and right sized homes.

Multifamily Construction is Good News for Green Building

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in EarthCraft

Recently, while doing research for a series of articles I am writing for Multifamily Executive Magazine, I ran across some interesting information on the multifamily construction industry and the increasing demand for green certified buildings. Affordable housing, much of which is multifamily, has been leading the way in green building for many years, much of this due to incentives tied to low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) that promote certified projects.

What’s Happening to All the Green Building Programs?

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in EarthCraft

Green home certification programs are starting to reach a level of maturity. At the national level, LEED for Homes has established itself as the national industry leader, at least from a branding standpoint. NAHB’s National Green Building Standard (NGBS) has a growing following but, in my opinion, is still struggling to gain broad industry acceptance.

Affordable Housing is Leading Green Building

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in affordable

I recently learned that in Georgia, as well as much of the rest of the country, Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), the fuel that drives much of the affordable housing industry, strongly encourages green building certification for projects that obtain these credits. Without this connection to tax credits, we would see many fewer certified green homes and apartments, and these affordable developers would not be the leaders in green building that they are today.

Green Building Programs: Time for a Do-Over?

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in BPI

I’ve been involved with green building certification programs for about 10 years now, starting with my work with Southface and the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association in developing the EarthCraft Renovation program.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Green Building

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in EarthCraft

My recent post about banning fiberglass batt insulation (thanks for all the wonderful comments) was inspired by a couple of pre-drywall inspections on homes I am in the process of certifying under the EarthCraft House program.

Should Batt Insulation Be Outlawed?

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in Batts

A significant amount of my work these days is certifying homes under one or more of the available green building programs in my area, including EarthCraft House, LEED, and the National Green Building Standard. Recently, I have inspected several homes that were insulated with fiberglass batts, and, not surprisingly, the quality of the installation was dismal. What I saw could have been an instruction manual on how not to insulate a house. Batts were cut 2 to 3 inches wider than the stud spacing and crammed into the cavities.

A Custom Builder's First EarthCraft House

Posted on March 28,2015 by D K in EarthCraft

Having completed an Energy Star house, we wanted to take the next step in our “walk, jog, run” model. We were ready to jog – we decided to enroll a house in one of the many programs that certifies green homes. By this time, our knowledge had grown, and we felt like we were up to speed on all the new products and techniques of green building. The NAHB had formalized its Green Building Guidelines; we had read them and attended a brief seminar.

Green Building Programs Got Some ’Splainin’ to Do

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in EarthCraft

Much of my work these days is certifying homes under LEED, EarthCraft, Energy Star, and the National Green Building Program (NGBP). My day-to-day work includes energy modeling and site inspections, but I find that I spend most of my time explaining and interpreting the different programs to builders, telling them what to do to achieve certification. Each program has minimum requirements, all slightly different. These requirements are not always straightforward or intuitive, and most builders struggle to do them right.

More Whining About Green Building Programs

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in EarthCraft

Following up on my recent post about LEED and other green programs, it occurs to me that the people responsible for creating and managing most green home certification programs have completely missed the big picture. I hope and believe that one day, through a combination of more stringent codes, legislation, and marketplace demands, we will reach a point where green building becomes the minimum acceptable standard.

The Verdict Is In: Green Homes Sell Faster

Posted on March 28,2015 by CarlSeville in EarthCraft

In August 2008, FMLS, the leading real-estate listing service in the metro-Atlanta area, began including green certifications in its database. Sellers can now add to their listing EarthCraft House, LEED for Homes, and Energy Star certifications, as well as the HERS index, and features such as solar power, Energy Star appliances, and spray-foam insulation. The new National Green Building Standard was not available at the time these details were added to the listing service, but it likely will be added during their next revision. Lies, damn lies, and statistics

News Headline Roundup

Posted on March 28,2015 by user-756436 in Conservation Services Group

###Energy Star Windows, Weatherization, Building Deconstruction — and More### BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — The “In” box at GreenBuildingAdvisor’s news desk is overflowing, so it’s time for a roundup of news headlines on a variety of topics: Energy Star window standards, a proposed national program to subsidize energy retrofit work, employment growth at Conservation Services Group, an update on weatherization funding, Seattle’s efforts to encourage building deconstruction, the tenth birthday of the EarthCraft Homes program, a Southampton developer’s struggle to get approval for a pea-stone parking lot, Canadian feed-in tariffs, and the Maldives’ commitment to a carbon-free future.

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