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promoting environmentally sound building practices for Virginia
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Virginia's Building America Program

Building AmericaIn 2010, with funding support from the Building America Program and Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, VSBN worked with the Canterbury Woods Civic Association of Fairfax County in a pilot project to evaluate and perform energy audits on some of the most common home models in the neighborhood.

This neighborhood of more than 400 homes was built in the 1960's and early 1970's, and fit the demographics of a neighborhood of similar housing stock, where group assessments could be made that would result in quick movement towards housing retrofit. Six models were selected for energy audits. As a result of the project, model-specific deficiencies were uncovered that homeowners with the same or similar model may use to determine which types of energy upgrades are needed in their own homes.

Additionally, the Canterbury Woods' homeowners were able to learn of common builder issues that were uncovered, to further aide them in evaluating energy deficiencies in their own home. As part of the program, the homeowners also received information on available retrofit funding options.

Click here for the summary report and for the individual reports of the six home models audited.

About the Building America Program

The U.S. Department of Energy Building America Program forms research partnerships with all facets of the residential building industry to improve the quality and energy efficiency of homes. The goal is to develop cost-effective solutions that reduce the average energy use of housing by 40% to 100%. Ultimately, Building America research will lead to net-zero energy homes, which produce as much energy as they use.

History of Program in Virginia

VSBN brought the Building America Program to Virginia in 2001 and engaged several partners, including Building Science Consortium, Virginia Housing Development Authority, R.E. Collier Builders, and Health-E-Community Enterprises of VA, Inc. The program provided training seminars on high performance house design for Virginia builders, code officials, architects, and government representatives. In addition, VSBN worked with local homebuilders and The Energy Consortium, a Virginia-based building science company, to design and build eight demonstration homes around the state.

In 2004, with funding support from Building America Program and Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, VSBN worked with the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association in evaluating Green Building Programs from around the country. We developed a pilot initiative to test the EarthCraft House™ program through construction of demonstration homes in the Charlottesville area. The completed homes were featured in an EarthCraft House™ Mini-Parade of Homes in July 2005. Click here for the list of pilot program builders.

During 2005–2006, VSBN, with support from the Building America Program and others, brought the EarthCraft House™ (ECH) Program to builders across Virginia. VSBN worked in partnership with the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association (BRHBA) and the Home Builders Association of Virginia (HBAV) to introduce this voluntary Green Building Program to the state. See the press release and photos from the Governor's press conference that officially started the program. EarthCraft House builders produce homes that are more energy and resource efficient, provide greater cost savings for homebuyers, and provide added comfort and health benefits.

After the pilot phase and the introduction of the EarthCraft House™ Virginia Program statewide, VSBN conveyed the management of the program to the newly formed EarthCraft Virginia organization. You can find updates and a list of current EarthCraft House™ Virginia builders at www.earthcraftvirginia.org.

Find out more about...

The U.S. Department of Energy Building America Program:

Building America demonstration homes in Virginia and around the nation:

Resources for energy efficient new home construction:

A U.S. DOE Best Practices Handbook for Hot Humid Climates:

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