Earth Advantage Institute to Expand Product and Service Offerings in 2012

PORTLAND, Ore., January 31, 2012 – Earth Advantage Institute (EAI), a nonprofit provider of green building certification, education and consulting services, has plans to transition its building certification programs to a free-market verifier model in 2012. This strategic alignment with the market permits EAI to continue its role as a premier market actor and verification provider in Oregon and to continue its expansion nationwide. EAI will also introduce or expand several new products and services to broaden its market reach and better meet the growing needs of building industry stakeholders. Key initiatives for 2012 include:

• Home Performance Scoring: According to a recent study completed by Energy Trust of Oregon, EAI’s EPS Auditor™ energy modeling software ranked first overall for its accuracy and consistency at estimating “asset-based” energy performance metrics for existing homes. EAI’s software outperformed a wide array of tools developed by well-known national companies and organizations. EAI will be expanding its EPS-centric services to state and local governments, utilities, and home performance contracting companies throughout the nation, with the help of Andy Healy, EAI’s new national sales manager.

• New Homes Certification: EAI is evolving to a free-market business model for its Earth Advantage® New Homes certification program, which will enable independent verifiers to certify new homes under the Earth Advantage brand, with EAI’s stewardship. The effort is in keeping with EAI’s emphasis on market-driven products that offer financial sustainability in a post-stimulus economy. This new approach enables EAI to engage and grow the market in Oregon and elsewhere by deploying a network of trained, independent verifiers who will enroll builders and guide them on sustainable and energy-efficient construction practices.

• Small Commercial Buildings Certification: Having completed a successful pilot of the Earth Advantage® Commercial certification program, EAI is evolving this market offering to a providership model. Under the leadership of Rob Curry, EAI’s new commercial program manager, the commercial team will train preferred partners to become independent verifiers around the country to certify new and existing non-residential buildings that are smaller than 70,000 square feet to the Earth Advantage standard. This currently underserved market creates a unique opportunity for EAI to provide an accessible path to sustainability for small commercial buildings.

• Existing Homes Certification: EAI will build on the success and value of its New Homes program to roll out a much-anticipated Earth Advantage® Remodel certification for existing homes. The program incorporates an energy-labeling tool, which provides homeowners with an easy-to-understand assessment of their home’s energy use and the potential savings they can achieve through upgrades. The remodeling certification will be easy to implement, and will allow remodelers to educate homeowners about green upgrades and garner repeat business through phased remodeling.

• Net Zero Homes: EAI has long been recognized for encouraging the building industry to adopt increasingly stringent green building standards while ensuring that green building practices are within reach. EAI is excited to announce the launch of its Earth Advantage® Zero pilot program this year. Earth Advantage Zero will provide an accessible path for homeowners and building industry professionals to design and build homes that produce as much energy as they use throughout the course of one year.

• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Certifications: EAI recently received accreditation as a WaterSense® provider through the EPA. In addition to serving as the only WaterSense provider in Oregon, EAI is also an approved Indoor AirPlus® Rater. These two EPA certifications allow EAI to expand its suite of new home certification offerings, and provide assurance that homes are built to conserve water and provide superior indoor air quality.

• Passive House Consulting: EAI is in the process of finalizing an agreement to provide Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) training through the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS). In addition to being able to provide Passive House consulting through its two in-house CPHCs, EAI will now be able to train consultants to help architects and builders design and construct buildings that are very well-insulated, virtually air-tight, and heated primarily by passive solar gains. These new roles provide EAI with the opportunity to help promote one of the most stringent energy standards for buildings available today.

“EAI’s new developments will allow us to increase our influence, both in the new homes sector – where high-performance home builders are doing quite well – and in the small commercial and existing homes markets, where we are seeing pent-up demand for affordable green certifications and energy performance scoring,” said Executive Director Sean Penrith. EAI is excited to leverage the strength of the Earth Advantage brand and the unique niche its products and services fill by working with industry stakeholders on an independent basis.

Source: Earth Advantage Institute

Earth Advantage Institute works with the building and design industry to help implement sustainable building practices. Its nonprofit mission is to create an immediate, practical and cost-effective path to sustainability and carbon reduction in the built environment. The organization achieves its objectives through a range of innovative certification, education, consulting and technical services programs.