The EarthCraft Multi-Family program provides sustainability certifications for the construction and renovation of low-rise and mid-rise multi-family projects. The standards for certification include a wide range of sustainability considerations, including environmental performance, indoor air quality, building durability, comfort and affordability. EarthCraft addresses these standards for both the individual living units and the structure as a whole. Here are five ways that EarthCraft certification can benefit multi-family projects:
- More planning up front. Architects and owners take the EarthCraft requirements into account when coordinating with the other designers and engineers on their projects. Prior to a project, there is an EarthCraft design review meeting to establish the projected energy performance metrics, the desired goals and certification level and diagnostic testing requirements.
- Reduced operating costs and utility bills. Implementing energy efficient components like properly designed HVAC systems, efficient lighting, a tighter building envelope, improved insulation levels with proper installation, better performing windows and efficient plumbing components are just some of the ways to keep costs lower across the board. The systems are typically less expensive to maintain and tenants see lower utility bills. For the common areas, the owner enjoys the benefits of the lower operating costs that a high-performance building provides.
- Increased comfort. More efficient systems often lead to more comfortable buildings. Higher performing building envelopes coupled with efficient HVAC systems help maintain more consistent building temperatures. That means fewer maintenance calls too.
- Improved health. The tightly sealed building envelope works in tandem with the whole unit ventilation and spot ventilation to remove contaminants and bring in filtered fresh air. In addition, the spot ventilation helps control moisture levels in high risk areas like bathrooms and kitchens. This often helps reduce the risk of mold and mildew. The EarthCraft program also takes measures to provide further dehumidification if it should be needed.
- Third-party inspection. In addition to the quality inspections performed by KBS, the EarthCraft program has technical advisors providing inspections and reports throughout the process to ensure the components are installed properly. They also perform diagnostic testing on the project to measure actual performance metrics. These tests include the blower door test to check building envelope tightness, duct blaster testing to make sure the duct work is well sealed, spot ventilation testing to make sure they are expelling the proper amount of air and several other voluntary tests.
- (BONUS) Increased portfolio performance. There are a variety of tax incentives from local, state and Federal governments that often reward projects receiving green building certifications. The certification can help tremendously with marketing to potential residents. Who wouldn’t want to live at a place that has greater comfort, improved health standards and lower utility bills? EarthCraft certified projects often stand out as some of the best in the owner’s portfolio.
While EarthCraft multifamily certification is relatively new, KBS has integrated extensive multi-family construction experience with our sustainable construction experience to provide owners with a high level of management during the inspection, documentation and certification process. For a closer look at the EarthCraft process, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.