Builder FAQs

What is EarthCraft?

EarthCraft is a green building program that helps member builders construct healthy, comfortable homes that reduce utility bills and protect the environment. EarthCraft is a partnership between the Southface Energy Institute, Virginia Community Development Corporation, the Home Builders Association of Virginia, Habitat for Humanity Virginia and ENERGY STAR. The aim of the program is to help home builders be leaders in smart growth management and environmental stewardship.

What are the advantages of EarthCraft?

The main advantages of EarthCraft are reducing callbacks, differentiating your business and your homes, increasing profits and enabling potential home buyers to access special mortgage products. EarthCraft utilizes a systems approach to homebuilding which results in a comfortable home that performs better without costing much more to build than a comparable home built with standard construction practices. More details about the advantages of EarthCraft can be found here.

What does it cost to become an EarthCraft builder or renovator?

Join the Home Builders Association of Virginia or your local Home Builders Association, then join the EarthCraft program and attend a one-day EarthCraft training.

How do I certify a house through EarthCraft?

To certify an EarthCraft house, a builder must do all of the following:

  1. Be a member of the EarthCraft program.
  2. Register as an ENERGY STAR Partner (only required if also certifying house as ENERGY STAR)
  3. Participate in a design review with Viridiant staff.
  4. Participate in a walk-through with Viridiant staff.

In addition, every house to be certified must meet the following requirements

  1. Each house must score the minimum points criteria for the program on the Scoring Worksheet.
  2. Each house must have the plans and a Manual J based on orientation submitted.
  3. If certifying through ENERGY STAR in addition to EarthCraft, house must meet ENERGY STAR certification criteria.
  4. Each house must have a Pre-drywall Inspection by a Viridiant inspector.
  5. Each house must pass a Final Inspection by a Viridiant inspector

Does it cost more to buy an EarthCraft House?

On average, EarthCraft builders report an increase of 0.5 – 3% in construction cost. However, since EarthCraft homes can be more cost effective to own, builder profit can actually be higher for EarthCraft homes.

How long do inspections take?

Pre-drywall inspections typically last 0.5 – 1 hour. Final inspections typically last 2 – 4 hours. Please understand that each home is different and these are approximate durations.

How do I schedule inspections?

Upon joining the program, EarthCraft builders are assigned one or more EarthCraft Inspectors. Inspections are scheduled directly with the inspector.

How do I market EarthCraft?

Marketing materials such as logos, yard signs and brochures are available. Fill out this order form and send it in. Viridiant also offers trainings for real estate professionals.

Get certified

Learn how to become an EarthCraft Builder