Atlanta Building News-September 2008 - (Page 20)

E A RT H C R A F T H O U S E Marketing the Energy Performance of Your Homes Just Got a Little Easier Courtesy of New Initiative at the Department of Energy By Stacy Hunt, U.S. Department of Energy In February, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Building America Builders Challenge with the goal of helping the homebuilding industry to build 220,000 high-performance homes by 2012. If the goal is met, it will be the equivalent of taking 50,000 passenger cars off the road for an entire year and will save home owners $143 million in utility costs. “When we started the Builders Challenge, we recognized that one of the key issues in improving the energy performance of houses in the U.S. was to help consumers understand the value of energy performance and to give them tools to evaluate the energy performance of their homes,” explains Ed Pollock, residential team leader of the DOE Building Technologies Program. Homes that qualify for the Builders Challenge must achieve a 70 or better on the EnergySmart Home Scale (E-Scale), meaning that these homes will use at least 30 percent less energy than a typical new home built to code. The E-Scale provides an easy-to-understand tool to help home buyers and home owners make smart energy decisions when purchasing, renting or updating a home. “There are so many great energy efficiency and green building programs out there, and there needed to be an easy way to compare energy across many different programs,” says Pollock. The basic version of the E-Scale will show the energy performance of the home, whether it’s an energy hog needing renovation or a recently built zero-energy home. If a builder commits to building homes that rate between zero and 70 on the E-Scale, a special branded version of the E-Scale that denotes it as a Builders Challenge home may be used. In addition to the use of the E-Scale, participating builders have the opportunity to differentiate themselves in the market and to showcase the performance of their homes, above and beyond standard energy performance. Builders also have access to a marketing toolkit that includes logos, press releases and customizable marketing materials to promote their participation in the program and have their full contact information listed on the Builders Challenge Web site. Besides meeting energy performance goals, homes built as part of the Builders Challenge must meet stringent quality criteria, which address occupant health, safety and comfort and resource and material efficiency and durability. These criteria are incorporated into the EarthCraft House rating system as either required or point items. Sydney Roberts, who heads the Southface team working with the DOE, explains, “We have many great builders in EarthCraft House, and now there is a way to showcase the quality of home they build using EarthCraft and the E-Scale. This is such a powerful way to market any home, and we are pleased that EarthCraft House is one of only two pilot programs for the national rollout of the Builders Challenge.” All Builders Challenge homes require third-party verification. Qualified verifiers can be HERS raters, registered architects or professional engineers, who rate the homes and assign them the appropriate number on the E-Scale. EarthCraft House technical advisors will include Builders Challenge verification as part of their EarthCraft House and ENERGY STAR inspections. Builders are encouraged to visit challenge to learn more about the program and to register as a builder. 20 SEPTEMBER 2008 | ATLANTA BUILDING NEWS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Atlanta Building News-September 2008

Atlanta Building News-September 2008
Letter from the President
Classes and Events Calendar
Building Quality Traffic in a Challenging Market
6 Low- or No-Cost Ways to Market Your Homes
Legal Corner
The Housing Institute
Earthcraft House
Homeaid Atlanta
Atlanta 50+ Housing Council
New Members
Index to Advertisers

Atlanta Building News-September 2008