Earth Advantage Institute has certified more than 12,000 homes since its founding in 2000.
Courtesy Earth Advantage Institute Earth Advantage Institute has certified more than 12,000 homes since its founding in 2000.

Portland, Ore.-based Earth Advantage Institute (EAI), a nonprofit provider of green building certification, education, and consulting services, will introduce several new products and services this year to expand its market reach nationwide. Key initiatives for 2012 include: • A new free-market business model for the organization’s Earth Advantage New Homes certification program will enable independent verifiers to certify new homes under the Earth Advantage brand, with EAI’s stewardship. 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.

• A new Earth Advantage Remodel certification will be rolled out 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 it will allow remodelers to educate homeowners about green upgrades and garner repeat business through phased remodeling, the organization says.

• EAI will launch the Earth Advantage Zero pilot program, providing 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.

• The nonprofit is in the process of finalizing an agreement to provide Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) training through the Passive House Institute US. 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 airtight, and heated primarily by passive solar gains.

• EAI will offer its EPS Auditor energy modeling software to state and local governments, utilities, and home performance contracting companies throughout the nation, with the help of a new national sales manager. 

• In addition, EAI recently received accreditation as a WaterSense provider through the EPA and is also an approved Indoor AirPLUS rater.  These two EPA certifications allow EAI to expand its suite of new-home certification offerings.