IL Wilmette Gut Rehab

Terra GreenStar IL Gold Gut Rehab

 This is not your average gut/rehab by a “flipper.” It’s IL’s 2nd GrIL Wilmette Gut RehabeenStar Homes Gold Certified remodel project seeking to preserve and re use a home instead of building new. This home was featured on the 2014 GreenBuilt Tour in IL. At Terra Green, they follow two basic rules: If they wouldn’t put it in their own home, they won’t put it in yours; and they’ll make the home as affordable and green as possible.  First they started with a team effort that took different skill sets to go around the room and determine the best goals for the project and then after the project held post construction team meetings to discuss issues and lessons learned.  This type of exercise is important to ensure homes meet green targets throughout the process as well determine what can be done better on the next.
This home focuses on a tight building envelope, energy efficiency and high indoor air quality.  Air changes per hour were 30% better than code at 3.14 ACH through advanced air sealing techniques, a self closing door to the garage prevents exhaust from entering the home. No carpet along with Zero VOC finishes and adhesives, MERV 12 air filters, no formaldehyde cabinetry, GreenGuard certified kitchen countertop, duct cleanings, sealed crawlspace and duct joints and radon tight sump dome with a radon mitigation system also help aid the improved air quality of the home. Other improved health and comfort features include keeping major electrical loads away from bedroom, sealed ducts with mastic and there were fully ridged and located appropriately for air distribution.
The builder highlights many little things that add up to a big improvement: caulked penetrations, Energy Star windows, heavy insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling, ceiling fans, Water Sense certified fixtures and all CFL or LED lighting. The windows were repaired and resealed as opposed to replaced. A 16 SEER HCFC A/C was added for improved comfort, efficiency and reduced global impact.

The site itself features landscaping that helps reduce cooling load and implements sidewalk shading and a roof water drainage system catches 20% of storm water run off. Grading and slopes are used through out the site to protect the home from potential water damage as keep a home dry is the 1 green application you can implement on an existing home.

Terra Green – Tamarisk Lane Crystal Lake, IL 60014 Type 1 Gold - No State

GreenStar Points

150 Energy
64 Materials
107 Health
21 Water
36 Place

Total Points 378

SIZE: 2,324 square feet
PROJECT TYPE: Single Family- Renovation/Remodel


Terra Green Incorporated
345 Little Marryat Road, Trout Valley, IL  60013
Terra Green are green developers, builders and consultants specializing in eco-friendly building at an affordable price.

Garfield House - in progress

YouthBuild Akron Ohio LEED Platinum Rehab

Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. (Akron YouthBuild) partnered with Saint-Gobain through the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation with support from the Saint-Gobain family of companies, to complete a green renovation at 887 Garfield Street in PIC of house - afterAkron, OH.  Saint-Gobain was founded in 1665 to manufacture glass for the Palace of Versailles in Paris, France. They are the Worlds largest building materials company. Recognized as a 2009 & 2010 Energy Star partner of the year by the US EPA, Saint-Gobain earned the 2011, 2012, & 2013 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award, the highest level of recognition for outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. The YouthBuild program started in 1978 in East Harlem, New York. The program concentrates on youths aged 16-24 who work full-time for 6-24 months while working toward their GED’s or High School Diplomas while at the same time learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities.

The Garfield Project is the first YouthBuild Akron home to achieve the prestigious LEED Platinum certification.  Saint-Gobain and its family of companies have donated a range of building materials and many hours of on-site support from CertainTeed Building Scientists to complete the green home renovation. The homGarfield House - in progresse features a heat recovery system and very efficient CertaSpray Closed Cell Foam Insulation which contribute to its energy efficiency. The home received a HERS score of 65 meaning that it is 35% more efficient than other comparable homes. In addition to energy efficiency measures the home incorporates several landscaping features that reduce it’s irrigation needs. For example, drought tolerant plants were installed along with a slow-growing grass that needs no fertilizers, little mowing, and relatively little water. The home harvests rainwater from its roof. These aspects have accumulated a 59% water reduction due to the sites landscape architecture alone. 

CertainTeed (an affiliate of Saint-Gobain) donated many of the building materials. These materials contributed significantly to the overall efficiency and sustainability of the home. Grenite Engineered Stone Countertop’s were used and constructed with up to Garfield House - After 185% post-consumer recycled content. Air-Renew Gypsum Board boasts industry only technology that removes VOC’s from the air and converts them into safe inert compounds, once they are captured in the board they cannot be released into the air. This Gypsum Board also aids in the reduction of moisture and mold. On the rooftop, LandMark Solaris – Solar Reflecting Roofing Shingles were utilized. They reflect the suns rays and reduce roof temperatures up to 20%.

Garfield House - Label


Print and Share the Project Profile – PDF

Press Release

Video – Garfield Project

Saint-Gobain & YouthBuild Akron (Garfield House) – PDF

Elm St. PIC

Indianapolis Restored Home Gets LEED Platinum & Sells Fast!

Elm St. PICThis home located on Elm St. in Indianapolis, IN was an abandoned space, built in 1910, that was bid on for redevelopment through the Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND) organization’s Transfer and Transform program, which seeks to reinvigorate the community

Elm St. B4 INT

Interior before


“William Wagnon of Green Path Homes  had been looking for an opportunity to do a LEED Platinum certified redevelopment on a house that could serve as an example of green building for contractors, home owners and a city in need of sustainability.” The house on Elm presented a perfect opportunity to showcase the economic viability of a green project as well as its added health and enjoyment benefits.


No subsidies or donations were taken to help the project along. “We wanted to do it as a market-rate project so that nobody could make an excuse for not doing it. That’s the point I wanted to make,” Wagnon said.

Elm St. B4

Exterior before

“The house now features around $7,000 worth of insulation, putting the home’s heating efficiency well-above most standards. The floor plan was changed to allow for a contemporary living style. Raised ceilings and other space improvements provide for maximum storage in the home. A rain garden now sits at the front of the house fed by a drain pipe from the roof. The backyard deck looks out onto a single-car garage, raised planters for growing vegetables and a patch of lawn.” Additionally, 100% of installed plants were drought tolerant further reducing irrigation needs. In total, the outdoor water savings plus the water savings due to the indoor installation of highly efficient faucets, showers, and toilets etc. results in a monthly water savings of 69% based on total water use. We were able to utilize the V4 Homes Workbook: Water Reduction Calculator to derive this number. A copy of the information is attached to the project profile at the bottom of this post.

Elm St. INT PICThe small 960 sq ft. 2 bedroom 1 bath home is located in an area with outstanding access to community resources such as public transportation. This well sealed home uses energy efficient appliances and  is expected to save 47% on energy bills. Insulated piping adds to the efficiency of this home. 

A central HVAC system equipped with an additional dehumidification mode adds to the health of the home along with the use of hardwood with a preference for FSC certified woods.

So much care was put into this home on Williams blog he writes … “Walter, who has does the exterior sheathing, rigid foam insulation and now the siding work is putting flashing tabs behind each butt joint on the siding.  These joints will all be caulked, but it’s just a fact that caulk fails in a couple of years.  But with the flashing tabs, any water that penetrates is redirected right back to the outside.LEED Label Elm

Brad nailed every shingle of the roof by hand.  Yes, it takes much longer, but he knows each one is set.  In building the soffit end caps, he cut fairly complex pieces so it could be 1 piece of solid wood, instead of having multiple joints that would require caulking.”

This project was the first residential home in the area to achieve the prestigious LEED Platinum certification.


News Post Featuring this Project

Green Path Home Website and Blog


Download and share the project profile – PDF (Includes V4 water reduction calculator and EPA WaterSense Info)

Habitat Energy Star Home

West Michigan's first Energy Star Version 3 Certified Home

* correction – This is a new home and not a rehab.

The approach was a  LEED certified home that goes beyond most Habitat standards of just LEED silver and Energy Star Version 2.  The goal was to get a house to achieve the coveted Energy Star V. 3 certification and Indoor AirPlus certification by achieving higher standards for the HVAC.  The biggest hurdle for this house was installing a 95% efficient furnace coupled with an ERV mechanical ventilation system and flexible ducts in order to reduce energy costs and improve air quality throughout the 2-story house. The kitchen is outfitted with low VOC cabinets and a 100 CFM range hood which vents directly outside as opposed to in the attic or re-circulation.

The Indoor airPlus certification contributed largely to the Energy Star V3 Certifcation, as the higher quality HVAC system also covered many of the prerequisites. The biggest hurdle for this home was to find a credentialed HVAC installer who would work with the higher standards required for Indoor airPlus.   The water heater and furnace directly vent fumes outside and improve indoor air quality and efficiency of the equipment.  The HVAC also has LEED_TM_gold_13a MERV 10 rated filters and efficiently at 86 CFM, which fully circulates the air in the home approximately every 4 hours.  The furnace itself runs on a single speed PSC motor which runs at set intervals and uses the ERV to moderate the temperature.  The house also features a Superior Wall Foundation which contributes an R-Value of 5 to NuWool insulation installed on the walls for a total R-Value of 26.  To further increase the insulation of the house the rim joists were also insulated and earn an efficient .3 U-factor windows were installed to reduce air leakage.

The home appliances available in this house are Energy Star certified to accompany the Energy Star V3 certification on the house.  Outfitted with low formaldehyde pressed wood materials in flooring and cabinets, as well as low VOC paints and finishes on the cabinets and walls. .  Plumbing is outfitted using PEX piping as more flexible and reliable alternative to PVC or copper piping.

Habitat for Humanity Kent County is committed to 100% LEED Silver Construction and has saved homeowner’s $1,000 a year in utility costs as well as improved their indoor air quality compared to living situations they were previously in.

1831 Willard Profile Complete

Indoor airPLUS checklist

Updated HVAC contractor checklist

GreenStar Remodeling Certification Introduction – Free Webinar

and Minnesota GreenStar (MNGS) have teamed up to deliver the GreenStar remodeling certification to the Midwest and US at large. The program is backed by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) as part of their Green Certified Professional (GCP) program and is incorporated into the training.

greenstar logo us

Why GreenStar Remodeling? 

Many looking for authentic 3rd party verification/certification on their remodels find programs such as LEED for Homes, National Green Building Standard, Green Communities as well as any local state program within the Midwest & North East can be cost prohibitive, require major guts, are exclusive based on membership and/or are lacking any remodeling component.

Not anymore  – GreenStar  can certify without requiring expensive energy modeling and kitchen, bathroom, whole house or landscape remodeling projects can qualify under the program.

Take 1 hour to learn about the program navigation, case studies, requirements, qualification/credentialing, up coming courses and how you can get involved locally to jump start GreenStar in your city or State.

Learning Outcomes 

  1. Basic Knowledge of How to get started with the GreenStar program locally in your state
  2. Introduction to the GreenStar Checklist, Manual and Online Submittal Process
  3. Run through an actual certified Green Retrofit from Start to Finish
  4. Know where to get more knowledge for education, training, membership in your state or how to be a local champion

View it Here

Please take a quick Survey Here – When Completed – 1 AIA/GBCI/NARI Green Credit will be given at this time too.


Brett Little, LEED GA, GreenStar Professional

Executive Director, Green Home Institute(). A Graduate of the Aquinas College Sustainable Business Bachelors Program,

Brett Little Image Rapid Growth

Brett has been working with for 5 years now helping homeowners, builders, architects and developers find more sustainable ways  in their processes and verify it through 3rd party over-site through programs like the LEED for Homes rating system. Brett is the Secretary of the Lansing Passive House Alliance, sits on the USGBC West Michigan Board  and a Living Building Ambassador. Living in Grand Rapids and newly married he has invested in a 1920s home in the City and certified it as Michigan’s first GreenStar “Green Moderate Retrofit” which reduced energy use by 50% and improved the indoor air quality significantly. Brett loves supporting the local economy, kayaking, the Harry Potter Series, microbreweries, walking/biking/busing, board games and living the Grand Rapids Dream.

Dan Taddei, Director of Education & Certification @ NARI National


Founded in 2007, Minnesota GreenStar is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has developed a leading residential building standards and certification program created to promote healthy, durable, high-performance design and construction for both new and existing homes.  An objective, third-party verification system assures consumers that the new home or remodeling project meets the program requirements and is constructed as designed. A whole-systems approach applies the five (5) key concepts of green building programs – Energy Efficiency, Resource Efficiency (including durability), Indoor Environmental Quality, Water Conservation, Site and Community – to the traditional building process.  The MNGS program improves the impact of green building programs on individuals, their families, the community, and the environment.

1055 Elm Street Remodel

Abandoned house gets new life in planned LEED renovation

Indianapolis, IN)    GreenPath Homes will renovate a formerly abandoned 110-year old cottage in Fountain Square, Indianapolis, to the US Green Building Council’s rigorous LEED for Homes standard to show how distressed urban properties can be given new life as healthful, efficient homes.

In addition to reaching for the LEED Platinum certification level, GreenPath Homes is leading professional-level green building education and an extensive homeowner and community awareness campaign.  A 10-person project team has been planning the renovation and will document the credits for certification.  Open houses during and after construction will allow the public see inside the walls of a green home, and the project’s blog can be followed at

“This home will be the first LEED Platinum renovation in Indiana, and the second oldest home in the Midwest to receive this standard,” says William Wagnon, principal at GreenPath Homes and a LEED Accredited Professional for homes. “I hope homeowners, developers and even ‘flippers’ will take note of what new life can be possible with the City’s abandoned houses.”

Acquired through Southeast Neighborhood Development’s (SEND) Transfer and Transform Program, the home at 1055 Elm Street was once on a list of properties slated for demolition.  The planned renovation seeks to preserve character and charm of the 960sf, 2-bed 1-bath home, while updating the space use for modern lifestyles.  The home will also receive a deep energy retrofit including insulation, air sealing, high efficiency HVAC and Energy Star appliances. The energy model projects the home could be 40% more efficient than a standard home and 30% more efficient than an Energy Star home.

In committing to the LEED process, the project must also focus particular attention on:

  • Durability measures
  • Indoor air quality
  • Water efficiency strategies and storm water management
  • Environmentally preferable products and finishes

Being located within blocks of the heart of Fountain Square and the Cultural Trail, the home also has excellent access to community resources and public transportation, another component recognized in the LEED for Homes rating system.

The renovation is expected to get underway in December and be completed in just 2 to 3 months.  After work is complete, the home will be offered for sale.

William Wagnon, LEED AP for Homes, has been renovating distressed urban properties in Indianapolis since 2005, and recently organized GreenPath Homes to consult and contract with homeowners and developers for better urban living spaces.  His passion is smartly-designed small residential projects where he can preserve the charm of older homes and update their function for current lifestyles.

Main Pic Old

Ann Arbor Rehab, Green Building, Green Business

Ann Arbor Michigan, a hot bed for sustainable home development is at it again

with a LEED for Homes registered gut rehab that is on track to be Platinum Certified as well as net zero site energy. Dubbed the Rancho Deluxe project, this ambitious rehab will feature both the Atomic Zero Home and a new structure and the home offices of Urban Ashes, a small business owned and operated by Paul Hickman. This home will feature geothermal, occupancy sensors, 10 kws of PV, mostly locally sourced or re used products, storm water reduction, native meadow installed and more. The Urban Ashes Studio addition is rumored to be one of Ann Arbor’s first straw bale wall assemblies once approved by the city and the studio it self is an authentic sustainable business with a triple bottom line. The company utilizes otherwise thrown out city trees to build furniture and picture frames while employing transitional/disabled labor. The company was recently featured in a local West Michigan news story based in a made in Michigan edition

Green Path

LEED Rehab projects seeks project team member in Indiana

GreenPath Homes announces a call for applications for the  Project Team members to design and direct its upcoming LEED for Homes renovation. The property, a 1200 s.f. cottage close to downtown and the heart of Fountain Square, will be a high profile showcase the best ideas in renovating small urban spaces to be functional for contemporary living and extreme energy efficiency.

This project team opportunity is intended for design and building professionals seeking LEED project experience as a prerequisite for attaining their LEED Accredited Professional credential, a mark of the US Green Building Council.  However, green home and redevelopment advocates not seeking USGBC credentials but who want to explore high performance home restoration are also welcome to apply.

Technical advisors, contractors, designers and suppliers may also find a role on the project. Please see the attached program description for details on the available roles.

The subject property is coming to GreenPath Homes through Southeast Neighborhood Development’s Transfer and Transformprogram. In addition to professional training through project team participation, GreenPath Homes and the project team will offer renovation workshops to the neighborhood.

After renovation, the home will be offered for sale.

For more information please contact William Wagnon, GreenPath Homes.

Contact:           William Wagnon, GreenPath Homes


Habitat for Humanity Research Home

A Green Future in the past – Habitat Registers 100th LEED Home in Grand Rapids

After dozens of new and gut-rehab LEED projects, the Grand Rapids, Michigan Habitat for Humanity affiliate is ready to begin a new era. That happens to be a really old era too.  

With LEED for Homes-registered project #100, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County will start work on their ambitious “Wealthy Heights” neighborhood effort to rebuild homes built in the 1880’s as affordable, workforce housing. After building one new LEED platinum home (Grand Rapid’s 1st!) and preserving a single-family home and a two-unit in Wealthy Heights over the last couple years, Habitat is ready to start seven more projects this fall. It will also coincide with major road and infrastructure improvements by the City of Grand Rapids. Neighbors in Wealthy Heights get ready for construction season!

The neighbors and business owners who have led the revitalization effort in this neighborhood over the last three decades made it possible for Habitat to step into the mix. Being historic has been a challenge and a blessing but now become a really desirable location for our home buyer partner families,” said Habitat’s Chris Hall.

As Director of Strategic Initiatives, Hall has been part of this project since 2009 when it was first brought to Habitat. With a history of results, Habitat Kent was in the right place at the right time. “It all happened as we were starting to look at ways to become more effective in transforming entire neighborhoods through our work.”

Since then, Habitat has completed the three home projects but also built a community garden and hosted an AmeriCorps Signature Service Project which offered basic exterior repairs, landscaping and a fresh coat of paint for home owners on Donald Place SE.

“We’ve seen residents show up at hearings in support, out working on site, and they have embraced our new families as part of the neighborhood. For-profit builders are doing work in the neighborhood too. This week I heard from folks as far away as New York City regarding a possible LEED-ND certification. Considering we haven’t even begun the major work yet you’d have to say it’s already been an amazing success story.”

After committing to 100% LEED for Homes certification in 2007, Habitat Kent has gone one to become recognized internationally as a leader in affordable, sustainable design and construction. In fact, they were awarded for “Outstanding Program Commitment” to LEED for Homes at the 2011 Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Toronto.

While the positive energy surrounding this project is building, Hall says there is still opportunity for you to help, “We are always looking for partners—either through financial contributions, donations of materials or professional services, as volunteers on site and even as home buyers.” Anyone can visit to find out more. “Someone can even gain LEED project experience to use toward a LEED AP credential through Habitat! Anyone interested sustainable design will find something cool about this project.”

Future posts will feature a profile of the 100th registered home at 327 Freyling Place SE as well as the other upcoming and completed projects.

Research is being done by MSU and FSU students and faculty with support from Dow and Habitat. They begin with the lowest cost and simplest forms of energy efficiency including cans of spray foam at joints and in gaps, spray foam in rim joists, and other air sealing measures. From there they will test other wall insulation and mechanical system combinations. At each step the homes are tested and analyzed.

Habitat Director of Strategic Initiatives Chris Hall enjoys seeing young people included in the project, “The Michigan State and Ferris State students have really been on the frontline the whole way and they’re getting their hands dirty—in a good way. What they’re learning will directly be applied to what they do in their careers in architecture, engineering, construction management or beyond. And that their work on these homes specifically will benefit a low-income family is especially cool.”

More details on the research project

 Want to learn more about affordable Green/LEED major rehabs to existing homes? Free recorded webinar on Habitat’s success here  Need CEUs for watching this? Email us

Mike A Green Star

How I made millions remodeling Green.

Let’s face it, if it doesn’t put money in your client’s pockets, or your pockets, it is very likely not going to happen.  Sustainability is just fine as a concept but where the pedal hits the metal is on the accounting ledger.  Learn how one remodeler, who refuses to do anything except Green remodeling, has built a super successful, industry-leading company, which (even during the down turn) provided ample resources allowing him to take 3 months off each year.  How does your vacation schedule look?


Michael Anschel, Michael, a nationally recognized expert on Green design, remodeling and building, writes, trains, and speaks for various publications and events around the nation. He is the owner of Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build a award winning nationally celebrated design-build firm, and CEO of Verified Green Inc. which consults with Local Government, product manufacturers, suppliers, builders, and architects on Green building. Michael led the effort to

develop MN GreenStar, and now serves as Technical Research and Development liaison on the board of directors. Called “one of the nation’s most outspoken green building advocates” by MN Business, Michael successfully straddles the building, design, and green worlds by engineering profitability into sustainability.

Date/Time: May 24, 2012 / 6pm – 7:00pm / Discussion Follows

Cost: Absolutely Free

Location: BRAG facility, 179 Little Lake Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48103

RegistrationClick here to register >>

Phone/Fax: 734.769.9784