Warren rd. PIC1(2)

South east MI home scores LEED silver and is a top energy performer

This newly constructed LEED Silver Home is located on the north side of Ann Arbor, on a 5 acre lot.  The home is 4,500 square feet with 6 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, and has a walk-out basement.

Warren rd. PIC1(2) The project team wanted to build a very energy efficient, comfortable home for the family to raise their children in.  Throughout the project, the team emphasized purchasing sustainable materials including adhesives and sealants with zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) to attain a higher air quality. They worked with a HERS rater to hone in on their energy efficiency strategies. Northern Michigan Oak hardwood flooring was used throughout the first floor of the home because of its close proximity to the project.  All carpeting and underlayment were Green Label Plus certified by the GreenGuard Certification Institute. Blown-in cellulose insulation, which is made up of 100% recycled newspaper fiber, was used instead of fiberglass.  The fitness room boasts a 100% recycled rubber flooring and the TREX deck had a high percentage of recycled materials as well. A drought resistant turf grass mix limited irrigation requirements, as well as a wildflower mix on the perimeter of the turfed-in area.  Additionally, only native species of bushes and trees were installed.  The system is controlled by a RainBird Sensor that automatically adjusts the irrigation schedules if it senses rainfall.

LEED Nutrition LabelA Home Energy Rating Standard (HERS) Score of 44 was achieved for this house, which makes it in the top 10% of MI homes.  The score means that the home is 56% more efficient than a conventionally built new home, and 42% more efficient than Energy Star’s standard for homes.  To give you an understanding of what this equates to, the energy bill for this 4,500 sq. ft home during the month of July, was $110 for both electric and gas. The project team chose to focus on the Energy & Atmosphere and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) credit areas to compensate for the sacrifice of Location & Linkages credits due to the projects distance from an urban setting. The high rating of LEED Silver was achieved by taking a whole systems design approach to building, and eliminating any weak points in the house.

  Download and share the project profile – PDF


It may be big but did you see the energy bills?

This home was cons015tructed with environmentally friendly materials and products.  The goal was to build a home that didn’t have a negative impact on the environment and would contribute to the home’s overall efficiency.

The result is beautiful home outfitted with natural bamboo hardwood floors, geothermal heating and cooling, superior insulation and Anderson Triple Pane Windows.   The house’s construction, due to its part being pre-fabricated offsite, diverted almost all waste from landfills.

The home  has greatly reduced utilities due to its design, costing $150 a  month or $1,700 a year due to temperature moderation, Energy Star certified ceiling fans in all rooms, water conserving (Water Sense) faucets,  and low flow 1.28GP toilets.

This home utilizes geothermal heating and cooling, which brings up 55 degree air from the earth’s crust, to effectively moderate the home’s temperature.  The house also has Structure insulated panels (SIP) installed for throughout the entire house, reducing the amount of onsite wastes and greatly increasing insulation.  The Kitchen, Foyer, and Great Room,  all have insulation with an R-value of 40, while all other rooms are at R24.  The attic, garage, and roof have an insulation of R40, but utilize spray foam insulation.

The Superior Wall Foundation was precast in Michigan with moisture resistant 5,000 psi concrete and placed on crushed stone footing to redirect water away from the foundation.  The foundation itself also includes R17 insulation to further reduce air leakage in the home.

Due the concrete foundation and sealing of cracks and joints in the foundation, the house has good protection against pests like termites.  The house also has a significantly reduced air leakage envelope, which is rated at 5.0 air changes per hour at 50 pascals (5.0 ACH50)   All ducts were installed in conditioned space, so there is no leakages withing duct work. The lawn consists of “No Mow Grass”  which does not require   fertilizer, mowing, or watering in its maintenance.

Projec2104 Greenviewt Details
Type                              Single Family
Conditioned Space     7,160 sq ft
Bedrooms                     6
Bathrooms                   4
Lot Type                       Infill
Construction Type    New

Key To Success
Air Filtration                     MERV 10
Roof Insulation Value      R40
Insulation                           SIP Channels: R24
HVAC                                  Geothermal
Reduced Envelope Leakage of 5.0 ACH50
Natural Bamboo Flooring

0010644179 Certificate

Greenview Project Profile

Photos courtesy of Ihab Riad, Green Park Construction, LLC.


Top 10 Neighborhood in Nation just got greener with new LEED Home

The home at 1135 North Grove has earned LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding and design. It will be the first residence in Oak Park to receive LEED certification, and this new custom home was built for less than $150 per square foot.

1135nGrove-OakPark1135 North Grove is one of 40 homes in Chicagoland that have been certified using LEED (view the LEED Project Profile).  The single-family home was built by Wicklow Development Group, renowned for their expertise in green building and historic preservation. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, Wicklow Development Group is helping to keep homeownership affordable. Green homes have substantially lower utility bills[1] and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives.

“As a LEED Platinum home, 1135 North Grove is at the national forefront of green homes, and serves as a model of healthy and efficient living for the entire community,” said Jason La Fleur, Regional Director for the Green Home Institute, who also served as the third-party verifier for the project. “Their example can help us all to live better by reducing our environmental footprint, cutting the costs of our utility bills, and coming home to a healthier place to live.” La Fleur is hosting a free webinar on May 9 for real estate professionals interested in learning more about LEED homes.

Oak Park Solar PV panels
Solar panels on the roof of 1135 Grove

1135 North Grove reduces energy use 66% below the typical new home built to code.  The four bedroom project features low-e argon windows, high efficiency lighting fixtures, detailed attention to preventing air leakage, and blown-in fiberglass insulation.  Other energy efficiency upgrades include a geothermal heating system which also provides most hot water heat, and a rarely-used backup electric water heater. An ultra-efficient electric induction cooktop is used in the kitchen. The roof angle was optimized for solar panels which produce electricity to power the home, without visually disturbing the home’s facade.

Located in one of the “Top 10 Neighborhoods in the Nation” according to the American Planning Association, the home features a very walk-friendly location in the heart of a neighborhood with many historic homes designed by notable architects.

Homeowner Tim Carey says, “Fitting a new construction home into a historic neighborhood creates a challenge for designers and builders. This project demonstrates that you can build a beautiful, traditional looking home, with a green design and features, yet keep with the character of an established community such as Oak Park.”

Electric induction cooktop and high end kitchen finishes

Induction cooktop and high-end kitchen finishes

As a result of incorporating energy saving products and technologies, 1135 North Grove has achieved an impressively low 34 Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score. Additionally, the combination of electric using-and-producing systems at 1135 North Grove has resulted in affordable energy bills for the homeowners who have been living in the home for a full year. The house has had modestly low electricity bills, and as an all-electric home no natural gas is used, so there are no natural gas bills.

A heat recovery ventilator provides fresh air distributed throughout the home to keep it healthy for the homeowners and recovering some of the energy used to condition the air. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and locally sourced materials have been used throughout the house.  Proving building green can be done affordably, 1135 North Grove was built with a total construction cost of $145 per square foot after renewable energy incentives, below the Chicagoland average construction cost for custom new homes.


Learn more and see construction photos at the project web site for 1135 North Grove, or view theLEED Project Profile for the home.

About Wicklow Development Group

The Wicklow Development Group LLC are landmark building and restoration professionals, and have been a Chicagoland builder for over 25 years with a passion for historic preservation and green building expertise.   For more information, contact Paul Wicklow 708-351-9683, or

River Escape South Elevation

“River Escape” Home Tour – Pending LEED Platinum

On 11.11.11 come see an affordable home that was built to be 88% more energy efficient than and standard new code built home. This home is a Zero-Energy home that is projected to be a LEED for Homes “Platinum” project. The home is also a finalist for Green Builder Magazines 2011 Home of the Years. 
Pending AIA Approval
Please RSVP with us at.
616.957.LEED (5333) or at
“River Escape” Home Tour

November 11th at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm
7121 River Escape
Stanwood, Mi.
Sponsored by
Eric Hughes of Image Design, LLC
Adam Eerdmans of Turtle Walls
Tim & Dawn Gruss Home Owners

The “River Escape Project”
Resting in Western Michigan’s vacation wonderland, this home is located near the Muskegon River in Stanwood, Michigan with river access, thus the project name. This home is a site specific, 1,267 square foot Passive Solar Contemporary Style home built with BuildBlock ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) from frost protected shallow foundation to the SIP roof. The exterior elevations of the home were designed with deeper roof overhangs, determined by using solar calculations, to both maximize and minimize the sun exposure based on the time of year. The exterior used two of our favorite products James Hardie FiberCement Siding and MiraTec trim. The interior of the home has stained concrete floor on the main level which makes for great thermal mass. The home was also designed with lifetime design principles and has zero step entries.
Part of the passive solar design is to have very few windows on the non-south sides of the home, to keep heat from escaping through them. That is why this homes attention to detail is spent on the Southside of the home, where most of the homes windows face south. The windows in this home are made by North Star (Canadian made) which uses a transparent low-E film between the panes of glass with a foam spacer to get a triple pane effect without the weight or waste of extra glass. The window U-value is .24 with a much higher Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) on the South windows. In the winter, the sun will warm the living space during the day and shine on the concrete floors which will store some of the heat gained, for gradual release. The roof overhang will shade the house from excessive solar heat gain in the summer, and west-facing glass is minimized to reduce cooling needs in the summer. ICF construction was perfect for this project because with ICF’s there are no concerns with noise and wind. It is wonderful to quietly contemplate the winter storms swirling through the open fields and feel pleasantly comfortable. The “River Escape” project is a Zero Energy Home (ZEH) thanks to the Passive Solar Design, 4.1 kW of Photovoltaic, Solar Hot Water and a 98% efficient boiler for the radiant floor heat and hot water backup. The home is also pre-wired for future installation of a Wind Generator. This home only uses about 600 kWh of electricity per month and has been generating a minimum of 20 kWh of electricity per day and net-metering backwards every day since the home was completed in June. The home was built for $142.00 per square foot (before the 30% rebates from the Solar Hot Water, and Photovoltaic systems) making it more affordable for the general public. Besides the LEED for Homes “Platinum” certification (this project scored 32.5 points above “Platinum”) this home received 5+ Energy Star certification and a HERs score of 12. This is the lowest score ever tested in the State of Michigan making it the most energy efficient house in Michigan. This home is 88% more efficient than a conventional code built home. The home is also ZeroStep “Silver” Certified (Lifetime Design or Barrier Free) from Disability Advocates of Kent County Michigan. In addition this homes toilets, faucets and shower heads are super low-flow for superior water efficiency. The home also has low-VOC paints, adhesives and finishes and uses recycled content for the flooring, foundation, exterior walls, trim and siding. Every possible piece of unused material used in construction was recycled.

Key Sustainable/Green Features
• Rain Permeable Gravel Driveway.
• Lifetime Design (Barrier Free)
• Zero step entries.
• Energy Star North Star Triple Pane Windows.
• Energy Star LED & CFL lighting.
• Energy Star Ceiling Fans.
• Energy Star Appliances by Frigidaire.
• SIP Panel Roof
• Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (with R-20 Dow Insulation beneath it.)
• BuildBlock ICF Construction (with 40% Fly-Ash)
• Advanced Framing (Studs @ 24” o.c.)
• James Hardie FiberCement siding (with recycled content)
• MiraTec Trim (formaldehyde free, SCS Certified)
• Central Vacuum System (Greatly reduces in-door air pollutants)
• Concrete Floors through-out main floor. (Colored in the concrete mix)
• FSC certified Bamboo Flooring on second story.
• FSC certified stud interior walls.
• No-VOC Paints and primers.
• Low-VOC caulks and sealants.
• Amish Built Kitchen Cabinets from wood within 5 miles from the project site.
• Dual-Flush toilet by American Standard.
• Low flow shower heads and faucets.
• Pex Plumbing.
• Radon Venting.
• Radiant Heat Through-out Home.
• Life breath HRV (heat recovery ventilator)
• Passive Solar Design.
• Solar Hot Water. (30% Tax Rebate)
• 4.1kW of Photovoltaic (30% Tax Rebate)
• Pellet Stove (Back up Heat System)
• Pre-wired for a future Wind Generator.
• Pre-wired for future battery backup.

By Eric A. Hughes of Image Design, LLC

Download the Energy Code for Free

The folks at ICC have made the download of the IECC 2009 Energy Code available at no cost – yes that’s right – you can download it for free at

The national model energy code of choice for states, cities and counties that adopt codes, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is referenced in federal law determined by Congress through the Energy Policy Act of 1992. It is the only energy code that serves as the basis for federal tax credits for energy-efficient homes, energy efficiency standards for federal residential buildings and manufactured housing, and state residential energy code determinations. The 2009 IECC is the target building energy code that all 50 Governors agreed to achieve compliance with under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

We’ve talked before how IECC 2009 compares with LEED for Homes, and this reference material being made available for free is a great tool for residential design and construction teams.

Helenowski Net Zero home in Chicago

LEED Platinum Net-Zero in Chicago

Chicago’s Yannell residence has gained a lot of notoriety as the first “net-zero” home in the city – capable of producing as much energy as it consumes. Yet another home on Chicago’s far northwest side, the Helenowski Residence, has joined the prestigious ranks of ultra-green LEED Platinum homes. In fact, it’s one of the highest overall point totals ever achieved for a LEED-certified home.

Helenowski Residence - Chicago Net-Zero LEED Platinum Home

Net-Zero LEED Platinum Home - Zukas Photography

This incredibly energy-efficient home was actually a gut-rehab of Read more