Green Building

EarthCraft Virginia Awarding Winning Home

EarthCraft Virginia Award Winning Home

The Twisted Tree Home won two awards

  • Top High Performance Home of the Year
  • Project Development for Single Family

Fred Oesch, designer, was instumental in making this project a success.  Very strong team member.

EarthCraft Virginia is a green building certification provided by Viridiant.



LEED Construction for Commercial Projects
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health:

  • Sustainable site development
  • Water savings
  • Energy efficiency
  • Material selection
  • Indoor environmental quality

LEED provides a roadmap for measuring and documenting success for every building type and phase in the building lifecycle.

For more information, visit the United States Green Building Council website,

EarthCraft Construction / Energy Star for Residential Homes

EarthCraft Virginia provides a certification process for single family and multifamily projects. It serves as a blueprint for healthy, comfortable homes that reduces utility bills and protects the environment. EarthCraft House is your best assurance for a quality home.

EarthCraft promotes diligent airsealing and energy efficiency. Airsealing of the building envelope and its mechanical systems, while still allowing for fresh air intake, provides a tighter building envelope at little additional cost. There is less communication of air and sound between units and better indoor air quality through the use of managed fresh-air intakes. Thus, projects are more energy efficient, less costly to occupy, and more durable overall.

During construction, EarthCraft provides inspectors that work with the builder to develop and ensure your building is performing at its best.

For more information about EarthCraft Virginia, visit their website:

Passive House

The Energy Consumption Challenge
The Passive House concept represents today’s highest energy standard with the promise of slashing the heating energy consumption of buildings by an amazing 90%. Widespread application of the Passive House design would have a dramatic impact on energy conservation. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that buildings are responsible for 48% of greenhouse gas emissions annually and 76% of all electricity generated by U.S. power plants goes to supply the Building Sector [Architecture2030]. It has been abundantly clear for some time that the Building Sector is a primary contributor of climate-changing pollutants, and the question is asked: How do we best square our building energy needs with those of our environment and of our pocketbook? In the realm of super energy efficiency, the Passive House presents an intriguing option for new and retrofit construction; in residential, commercial, and institutional projects.
Where is the Passive House Design Being Applied?
Today, many in the building sector have applied this concept to design, and build towards a carbon-neutral future. Over the last 10 years more than 6000 buildings in Europe — from single and multifamily residences, to schools, factories and office buildings — have been designed and built or remodeled to the passive house standard. A great many of these have been extensively monitored by the Passiv Haus Institut in Darmstadt, analyzing and verifying their performance. Even European governmental agencies have adopted Passive House standards into their policy-making.
Fundamentals of Passive Design
  • Provide good solar exposure and determined heating season.
  • Orient the building on East – West axis.
  • Locate most windows on south side of the house.
  • Minimize windows on the east, west, and north side.
  • Provide sufficient, properly situated Thermal Mass.
  • Provide overhangs and shading to regulate solar gain.
  • Super-insulate walls, ceilings, floors, foundations, and windows.
  • Protect the insulation from moisture.
  • Seal the house from air infiltration, but provide adequate air exchange.
  • Create sun-free spaces.
  • Provide efficient, responsible back-up heat and cooling.
  • Protect the home from winds by landscaping or earth sheltering.
Designing and Building a Passive House
Wall Construction, LLC can design, build and certify a Passive Custom Home for you. Any house plan can be customized using Passive Design techniques.

For More Information

If you want to learn more about Passive Houses, visit

Another good website for Passive House demonstration is the E-colab Construction website:

Universal Design for Homes

What is Universal Design?
Universal Design housing refers to homes that are practical and flexible, and which meet the needs of people of different ages and abilities over time. A universally designed home generally avoids barriers that may discriminate against people living in or visiting the home. Universal housing is designed to be useable by most people over their lifetime without the need for major adaptation or specialized design.
Seven Principles of Universal Design
  • Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to any group of users.
  • Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  • Simple and Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand.
  • Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user.
  • Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintentional actions.
  • Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably.
  • Size and Space for Approach and Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach and use.
What are the Key Design Features?
The guidelines include design principles and spatial requirements for the following key design features:

  • Direct access
  • Space for car parking
  • Wide front door
  • Wide internal doors
  • Wide corridors
  • Main facilities on the ground level
  • Circulation space in the living room
  • Space in the bedroom
  • Bathroom designed for easy and independent access
  • Enough space in the kitchen
  • Enough space in the laundry
  • Low window sills
Three Design Points to Consider Before You Build!
  • Easy Access: A step-free entrance with a threshold of not more than one-half inch into to the main living area.
  • Easy Passage: The exterior door that provides the step-free entrance and all interior doorways are a 2’10” or 3’0” door or other solution that allows a minimum of 32” clear passage.
  • Easy Use: No less than one bedroom, a kitchen, some entertainment area and at least one full bathroom with maneuvering space of 30” x 48” in front of commode, sink and tub or shower, all on the main floor.
Universal Design Handbook
Download the Universal Design Handbook, by the North Carolina State University College of Design.

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