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. Builder 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!

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