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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
City Holds Open House for First EarthCraft Renovation Certified Home
Community Development
EarthCraft House Program
March 11, 2011 - The City of Knoxville's Community Development Department will host an open house for it's first-ever EarthCraft Renovation certified home renovation on Wednesday, March 16 at 4705 Plymouth Drive.

EarthCraft HomeThe home is owned by James Griffin, Sr., and the open house is set for 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 16. Mayor Daniel Brown will participate in the event.

The Community Development Department Housing Rehabilitation Program is designed to help low- and moderate-income homeowners renovate or in some cases rebuild homes which have fallen into a state of disrepair. The city uses funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make low-interest loans and grants to ensure that the loan repayment is affordable to the homeowner.

EarthCraft is a green building program that provides guidelines that builders can follow to make new and existing homes less expensive to operate and to reduce the environmental impact of construction. A third-party EarthCraft Technical Advisor inspects, tests, and verifies that the construction meets the program standards. Ken Block for Knox Housing Partnership was the EarthCraft Technical Advisor for this home.

The practices, according to EarthCraft, are a little more costly than standard construction practices, but the operating savings more than make up the extra expense.

Tim Dimick, Community Development's Housing Manager, said the city is committed to performing quality renovations and wanted a good standard to guide its work and insure that the homeowner would reap the benefit of cost effective energy and water efficiency improvements.

"We have the Energy Star certification for our new homes," Dimick said, "but most of our work is rehabilitation of existing homes, and we were looking for a quality third-party verified certification we could use for our home rehabilitation projects."

He said the EarthCraft Renovation certification is a great fit.

"One of the things we like about this process is that you test the house before you start and that helps to identify problems and set an efficiency goal," he said. "Then you test it when you've finished and find out if you've achieved it. The third-party testing also means that the contractor can be held accountable for the work that they have completed."

Mr. Griffin's home, for instance, saw a 40 percent reduction in air leakage, meaning he is losing significantly less heating and cooling to the outdoors or the crawlspace.

Dimick said the contractors, S and J Design and Construction, owned by Salem and Janis Sakalla here in Knoxville, also installed some water conservation measures and added insulation, among other things. In addition, the rehabilitation included a new roof and plumbing improvements.

The city's housing rehabilitation program is aimed at improving the livability of the individual's home and reducing energy and maintenance costs. It also benefits the city's core neighborhoods by improving the housing stock and serves as a model for affordable green building.

More information about the Community Development Department, including its housing programs, is available at www.cityofknoxville.org/development.

More information about the EarthCraft House program is available at www.earthcrafthouse.com.


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