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Today, I want to share with you how the EarthCraft Multifamily (ECMF) process works. The EarthCraft program manual calls for 17 steps for the Project Process. They are the 17 steps that ECMF Developers and Technical Advisors (TA’s) must follow to certify ECMF projects. I am going to add an 18th step. By creating 18 steps, I will divide this into 3 parts covering six of the steps. Please note: some portions of this are directly taken from the EarthCraft Guidelines. These are the first six steps.

Step (A)1 - Choose Your EarthCraft Technical Advisor.
This is the step I’m adding to the process. Of course, my bias says that developers need to choose Synergy Custom Services for their ECMF Technical Advisory Services. But whether a developer chooses Synergy or one of my peers, this needs to be done early in the process. For the TA to put together the scope of work quote, certain information is required. Synergy has Scope of Work Bid Request Page. It provides a structure for a developer to request this quote and make sure that all needed information is provided.

Some of the basic information includes: the name and location of the project, the planned number of buildings and units, and the type of structure(s) to be built. Other information will be needed as well. If you are a developer, whether you work with Synergy or not, please feel free to view this order page to gather the type of information you need to give your TA.

Step 1 - Register Your EarthCraft Project
To officially begin an ECMF project, it must be registered before the TA is to begin any work. EarthCraft has a registration fee that can be found on the project registration page. As part of the registration process, EarthCraft asks you to name your ECMF-TA. They have a pop-up list. When you get to that pop up, the TA’s are listed alphabetically by last name with their company name beside them.

Step 2 - Project Information Submittal
This is an important step. As an ECMF-TA, I find myself having to chase down this information. It looks really bad for all involved when this is being submitted at the time final certification documents and requests are being submitted. I cannot stress this strongly enough! GET THIS INFO TO THE PROJECT TA AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE!

Your TA needs the following information AT LEAST TWO WEEKS PRIOR to the Design Review:1. Project plans that include: cover page, site plan, building plans, unit floor plans, unit schedule, elevations, window/door schedule (in PDF format)2. Construction specifications
3. Load Calculations (latest version of Manual J or equivalent)
4. Preliminary EarthCraft Worksheet (in Excel® Format)
5. The EarthCraft Multifamily Whole House Ventilation Requirement Acknowledgement Form
6. The EarthCraft Multifamily Load Calculation Requirement Acknowledgement Form
7. Any additional documentation needed based on points from the EarthCraft Worksheet

Step 3 - Preliminary Energy Models or Analysis of Prescriptive Compliance
Each ECMF project is certified either by a performance path or a prescriptive path. The performance path may allow a little flexibility in design, but creates a higher per unit cost to certify. This path requires a HERS model to be registered with RESNET for each unit. The prescriptive path, depending on the construction goals for the project, will be easier in some ways but the costs for construction can go up by the cost per unit at about the same rate the cost per unit will be for the unit level energy modeling. Honestly, I believe the prescriptive path for construction gives the developer a better price for their money by helping reduce some of the long term wear and tear costs on the heating and cooling equipment.

Step 4 - Submit Preliminary Energy Models or Analysis of Prescriptive Compliance Reports
This is a step for the TA. Whichever path of compliance the Developer has chosen, the TA submits the results of the preliminary energy models or prescriptive compliance analysis to EarthCraft for review. This needs to be fully completed before the next step

Step 5 - EarthCraft Multifamily Design Review.
Soon, I will be writing a complete description to share, but for now, the main thing to know about the ECMF Design Review is that it is an opportunity to identify the project goals and to determine how the ECMF program can best be applied to meet those goals. By the time we get to this point, Steps (A)1 through 4 should be completed. This needs to be completed BEFORE any construction begins on site.
The appropriate attendees for this meeting include the ECMFTA, the Developer (or appropriate representative), the General Contractor, the Architect, the Mechanical Engineer, and the Civil Engineer.

Part two of this summary will be released soon. This summary is long because the life of the project is long.

Categories: EarthCraftMultifamily

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