A Complete Heating and Cooling System
Heating and cooling can cost the average homeowner nearly half of the total energy bill.  To help reduce these costs, the EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR certified high-performance green custom homes we build come equipped with heating, ventilating, and cooling (HVAC) systems that are designed and installed to optimize performance, lower utility bills, keep you more comfortable, and provide better moisture control, better indoor air quality, and quieter operation.  During design and construction, we must meet all of the requirements of EPA’s comprehensive HVAC Quality Installation inspections and work with trained and credentialed HVAC professionals to ensure that: 

• Heating and cooling equipment and associated ductwork are sized and installed correctly to maximize comfort and performance.
• Ducts are properly sealed to reduce air leakage, comfort problems, and expenses
• Air is filtered and a mechanical ventilation system that draws in outside air is provided to reduce indoor air pollutants

When we meet these rigorous requirements, you get a home with a complete heating, ventilating, and cooling system - a better approach to building a better home.  

Efficient Equipment
EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR certified homes typically include high-efficiency HVAC equipment that uses less energy, operates at reduced noise levels, and often comes with extended warranty coverage, helping you save on utility bills and maintenance costs.

Proper System Design and Quality Installation
Trained HVAC professionals design and install the heating and cooling systems in our certified homes in accordance with best practices established by the leading industry association and equipment manufacturers.   

System Design and Sizing – Proper sizing of equipment and ductwork is essential to achieving optimum performance and comfort.  Homes with oversized systems may not be as comfortable because of frequent on/off cycling, which can cause large temperature swings and lead to poor humidity control.  Incorrect sizing can also put stress on system components and shorten the equipment’s life.  HVAC professionals are required in most cases to perform detailed calculations (using ACCA document Manual J) to determine the optimal heating and cooling system for your EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR certified home based on factors such as home location and orientation, house size, window types and locations, and insulation levels.  

Duct Design and Installation – In many homes, ductwork carries air from the central heater or air conditioner to each part of the home and back again.  In EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR certified green homes where ducts are used, they are properly sized (per ACCA document Manual D) to ensure that the right amount of air gets to each room and has a path to get back to the central unit.  HVAC professionals install ducts without kinks, sharp bends, or excessive coiling or looping to help air flow freely and efficiently throughout the house.  Flexible ductwork is properly supported to prevent compression.  In addition, they insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces, such as crawl spaces and attics, to minimize energy losses. 

Duct Sealing – Sealing air ducts is an important step in the installation process. In a typical house, about 20 percent of the air moving through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes, and poor connections.  As the owner of an EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR certified home, you can be sure you are paying less to heat or cool air because duct joints and seams are properly sealed with durable materials.  HVAC professionals will also typically seal ducts at the connections to air inlets and registers to prevent conditioned air from seeping into the walls, ceilings, or floors, which could condense and lead to moisture problems.

System Tests – HVAC professionals work with trained Home Energy Raters (HERS raters) to perform several system tests of your EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR certified green home, as applicable, to ensure that the HVAC systems are operating properly.  For example, the HVAC professionals check the refrigerant charge in air conditioners and heat pumps - an important step because an improperly charged system can consume more energy and provide less dehumidification.  The HVAC professionals also check the electrical connections of the equipment because if the voltage or current is too high or too low, it can shorten the life of the unit.  Last, but not least, the HVAC contractors take measurements to make sure that the proper volume of air is flowing in the equipment and in each room - this helps to avoid comfort problems and high utility bills. Raters also test the duct system to verify that connections have been properly sealed for optimum performance.  

Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation
Every EarthCraft and ENERGY STAR certified green home is built with a mechanical ventilation system to provide outside air and to reduce indoor air pollutants.  These mechanical ventilation systems are designed to ensure that any outside air inlets are located away from known contamination sources, such as garages or exhaust fans, and include screens to keep pests out.  Premium air filters (rated MERV-6 or higher) are used so you can breathe easier knowing that outside air and indoor return air are filtered to help reduce dust, allergens, and other airborne pollutants.  These filters are located to allow for easy routine maintenance.  

Exhaust fans are installed in bathrooms and kitchens to vent moisture and fumes directly to the outdoors.  Quieter fans are also used so you can run the fans when needed without being disturbed by noise.