Blueprint for Better Building

Energy savings are in the details.

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Traditional South Carolina Home - Exterior

Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn; styling by Stephanie Davis

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Created in 1999 by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Southface Energy Institute, EarthCraft House provides guidelines designed to promote healthy homes that will place less strain on the environment. The program begins with Energy Star certification standards, which require a home to pass diagnostic tests for air infiltration and duct leakage. Before a home receives the EarthCraft House seal of approval, it must achieve at least 150 points on a scoring sheet. Points are awarded for sustainable building practices, such as using spray-applied wall insulation (five points), saving at least 25 percent of the trees on the lot (two points), and installing reclaimed wood floors (two points). Together, small changes in the construction process and careful choices of materials make a big difference in a home’s energy efficiency, air quality, and impact on natural resources. On average, an EarthCraft House costs 5 percent more than a conventionally built home, but those costs are recouped through savings on utility bills. To learn more about EarthCraft House, or to find an affiliated builder in your area, visit

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More Ways To Get Coastal Living



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Top 21 Beaches, Coast to Coast

Plan your summer getaway now: From white strands to secret coves, we've found the ultimate spots by the shore, plus fabulous lodging so you can stay as long as you like.

The Cove Beach, Cape May, New Jersey