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Rural Homes can be Green too!

THE BER

Thanks to our in kind sponsor Building Efficiency Resources to make this possible!

Sometimes in the Green Building world we look to the urbanization of homes and buildings to improve location efficiency and give the benefit of community connectivity. Often times we may view homes that are suburban or rural to not be green because of the dependence on the automobile to access resources that are often times miles apart.  We know of course that when purely looking at energy, a more rural built home still can meet or even surpass an existing urban home by taking a few more extra energy additions to offset the use of vehicle miles. We also know that more energy is used in homes vs the average consumer vehicle and so there are many opportunities to build better and make up for this.

When MI's first GreenStar Certified Gold Home was completing their certification they found that their site and community impact score was just a few points shy of gold, mostly due the fact their home was located in the middle of the woods in the Manistee National Forest. In contrast we found the energy score of the home to be surpassing gold requirements greatly. The team made a request to see if their energy score that resulted from a HERS 16 and both solar pv / thermal could be a justified trade off for the energy the average family would need to access resources in a more rural area. The GreenStar tech committee and review (Marc Sloot) got to work right away investigating the opportunity.

The goal of the research was to determine what the average family in the average vehicle travels per year in an area identified as rural and then determine what the predicted energy usage of the HERS index is per point and find a way to offset a better HERS index for a trade in SC (Site & Community impact) points.

Researching data on energy used in vehicles for rural families was easy but determining energy usage per HERS index point was not. The HERS index score is not meant to necessarily be something that predicts energy use directly but rather something to compare differently built to code homes. We reached out to Building Efficiency Resources (The BER), one of the leading HERS providers in the country to see if they would help us extrapolate data. This data would includes HERS index, square feet, climate zone, remrate predicted energy usage and number of bedrooms. Eurihea Speciale, founder and principal was gracious enough to provide 550 sets of data for Midwest homes and the Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC) in St Paul MN provided another 50 but was skeptical we would find a correlation between HERS and energy usage.

Marc Sloot and the Tech Committee were able to come up with somewhat of a comfortable number that showed a reasonable energy usage prediction per verified HERS Index point and while there were many outliers it served the purpose we needed. After some deliberation the team was able to determine a good set of rules for more rural projects who achieve advanced energy scores and low HERS ratings.

GreenStar Exchange of HERS index points for SC points:
—> People can exchange 3 HERS index points for every 1 SC point on the GreenStar checklist up to 10 SC
points.
—> SC points gotten in exchange like this plus SC points they already have for measures 1D-3 + 1D-4 + 1D-5
cannot exceed 13.
—> Actual HERS index + HERS index points given in exchange cannot exceed 75.

This request can be submitted any time before certification via the greenstar waiver form on the checklist.

Interestingly enough because of this research the tech committee thought maybe utilizing the HERS index score as their energy performance pathway may not be the best approach. The next goal of the committee is to instead utilize energy (KWHe)/year/square foot/bedroom to determine a more fair score. This would also open up the use of more tools such as REMrate (without HERS), Passive House modeling and the use of existing home tools such as the DOE: Home Energy Score and Cake System Systems - Residential Energy Performance Score.  Thanks to the tech committee for their flexibility and understanding. Anyone using greenstar is open to work with the committee to find something that makes sense because the idea of a greenhome is evolving and should not be a set of rigid and unchanging principals.

Stay tuned in 2015 for more on this research and an update to the energy performance pathway in GreenStar.

 

6-Deerpath-630x472

126 Apartments LEED Gold Certified in East Lansing

The 126 apartments that were renovated for this project were made possible by the Hometown Housing Partnership (HHP) of East Lansing.  HHP is a nonprofit that has been providing access to affordable housing for over 20 years, and was formerly known as East Lansing Housing and Neighborhood services.  In 2012 HHP became the managing general partner of 126 units of affordable housing at Deerpath Apartments and partnered with Hollander Development to complete renovate the townhomes.

A large amount of materials were reused in rehabbing the home including: exterior framing and siding, foundation, cabinets, counters, roof framing, and the roof, floor, and 2/3 the wall sheathing.  A 800 watt solar photovoltaic collector system is installed on top of the carports, which provides electricity for the lighting of the carports.   All interior and exterior paints used are water based, low VOC, latex paints.    Each apartment is outfitted with Energy Star certified appliances and energy efficient lighting.

 

LEED Checklist
    Project Details:
Type                               Multifamily
Conditioned Space   (126) 988 sq. ft. apartments
Bedrooms                     2
Bathrooms                   1
Lot Type                       Previously Developed
Construction Type   Affordable
   Key Features:
Air Filtration             MERV 10
Roof Insulation        R50
Wall Insulation         R15
HVAC Efficiency       94% AFUE
800 Watt Solar Panels installed on the carport
Efficient Outdoor LED and Indoor Lighting

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

IMG_6158a

Metro Detroit's 1st LEED Platinum Gut Rehab Home

The Ferndale home is 45.6% more efficient in its energy use in comparison to an average 2,000 sq. ft. existing Michigan home.  The average is 3,948 kWh a month, while the Ferndale house used only 2,195 kWh. The overall cost for the electric use in the Ferndale residence is $74.56 a month, using 603 kWh, which is 34% less than the average, which costs $121 a month and uses 908 kWh. Heating for the Ferndale home uses 5.3 MCF and costs $23.85 a month, while the average uses 10.1 MCF and costs $127.46 a month. Altogether, the operation costs are 32% less than the average household to heat. 

*The project team attempted to get actual past utility bills to determine the success of the upgrades. However, they did not know who the previous homeowners were, and since, DTE and Consumers Energy have outdated privacy laws, they do not allow for the retrieval of data without homeowner permission.See full Ferndale Home Energy Report

The purpose of this project was to revitalize an abandoned home in disrepair, and through environmentally-friendly construction practices, to transform it into an energy-efficient home.  The house is 95 years old, had gone into foreclosure and had been vandalized while sitting empty, so it required a complete overhaul. Lee Purches, HP3 Group and project Green Rater helped ensure the quality and sustainability success of this home.   Lee connected the owner with Herzog Homes, which was willing to pursue LEED certification with some budgetary constraints. The goal of this project was to restore this old house, but also make it better through green building design and LEED certification.  The design team followed LEED protocol for local labor and materials, using renewable or sustainable products in aiming for Gold LEED certification.IMG_6158a

The result is an efficient, practical, and affordable home that is no longer an eyesore in an established neighborhood. This home is the first of its kind in metro Detroit, setting an example for others to invest in Green Homes and to restore existing homes rather than build new.    The home has been enlarged and now has a freestanding garage that also serves to capture water.  The house also has its own high-efficiency controlled irrigation system that evenly distributes water in the front and back yards.The backyard contains a 200 square foot vegetable garden, which includes fruit trees.  The garden benefits from the irrigation system and passive water collection to yield produce four to six months out of the year.  The indoor air quality 10 times better due to the ERV and high efficiency furnace.  The furnace is a two stage furnace that only runs at high capacity when necessary, and is 97% efficient.

The house is fully enclosed with open cell spray icynene insulation, from the basement wall all the way up through both floors to and the roof deck. The interior finishes, walls and trim contains almost no VOC other than the drywall glue and paint, which have low VOC ratings below 100.  New Jeld-Wen windows were also installed with a U-factor and solar heat gain of 31 for additional energy performance and reduced air leakage.

Take a tour! August 3rd! Sign up Here!

Lewiston Checklist

 Project Details
Project Type               Single Family
Conditioned Space   2,027 sq ft.
Bedrooms                     3
Bathrooms                   2
Lot Type                       Infill
Construction Type   Gut Rehab

 Key Features
Air Filtration              MERV 13
Insulation                    R20
Window U-Value       31
HVAC Efficiency        97%
3.5 Air Leakage Rate in ACH50
Backyard Garden

 

Ferndale Project Profile

Herzog Homes
Check out the gallery for some before and after pictures of this LEED Platinum home.

Sustainability Photo

College of Saint Benedict Senior Housing, LEED Platinum Certified

The Centennial Commons townhouses were designed to be a sustainable part of the colleSustainability Photoge's landscape. The 32 townhouses were intended to be at least LEED Silver certified. The townhouse were originally considered in order to provide affordable housing for the 90% of students that live on campus, particularly the seniors.  These townhouses were also built to represent the college's commitment to sustainability, as well as the first college student housing in the state of Minnesota to have any LEED certification. Each townhouse has been outfitted with as many locally sourced materials, furniture, carpeting, and wood, as possible. The exterior is decorated with native plants and landscaping. Each townhouse is also individually metered for teaching students about their energy consumption and sustainability.

The 2-story townhouses were designed for a durable 100-year life and to be as efficient as possible.  The townhouses provide housing for 125 students, accommodating 3-4 students in 4 bedrooms, with 2 full bathrooms.  Each townhouse also has two bathrooms, laundry room, living room, kitchen and front porch.  Also included in this project was the Commons Building to provide the community with a gathering space, study rooms, computer lab, kitchen and a multi-purpose room.

The townhouses are clustered for a compact development within half a mile of community resources; churches, libraries, convenience stores, fitness centers and shops. The building site was selected as it was not a habitat for endangered or threatened species, a wetland or public parkland. The townhouses also utilize outdoor LED lighting, non-toxic pest control and low flow plumbing inside.  During construction 37% of waste was diverted, documented, and recycled while  erosion control was also put into action in designing and installing the landscape.

One unique feature, according to Judy Purman, CSB's Director of Sustainability, is that each unit is individually metered for gas, electricity and water usage. Judy Purman also stated, "Each apartment will receive a 'mock' bill so that the residents will understand what their actual usage is,"  which in turn provides a "life skills learning opportunity. We're integrating an educational component so that they will understand what it's like to pay gas, water and electricity bills when they leave campus."

CSB checklist     Project Details
Project Type                Custom
Conditioned Space     1,492 sq ft. per townhouse,  11,936 sq ft per building,  52,167 sq ft total (32 units),  4,423 sq ft (Commonss Building)
Bedrooms                     3
Bathrooms                   2
Lot Type                       Edge
Construction Type    New Construction

      Key Features
Natural Lighting
Merv 8 HVAC Efficiency
Provides Community Space and Access to Amenities
Provides Housing for Higher Education Students
Teaching Tool for Sustainability

 

Project Team
DLR and Associates
-Architect
Sand Companies Incorporated
-General Contractor
Judy Purman
-CSB's Director of Sustainability/Project Team Leader
NEC: Neighborhood Energy Connection
-Green Rater

CSB Centennial Commons Project Profile

St. Cloud Times Article on CSB Townhomes

College of Saint Benedict's Official Page for the Centennial Commons

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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.

4_hr15matchbox

Matchbox House LEED Platinum Certified – Ann Arbor

The project started out with an intent to design LEED certified which is reflected in its unconventional design.  The project was modeled after a matchbox and was designed to have four inner quadrants that slip past on another withing the out sleeve of the house, all on top of

2216 Hickman Ann Arbor, Michigan

a raised foundation.   The Matchbox's compact design contributed to it's LEED Platinum certification as there was less conditioned area to work on. The architect gathered information from other contractors experienced in green building practices in order to produce a home outside the norm. The result was distinctive, efficient, and compact home surrounded by natural, permeable turf minimizing the impact of the house on the surrounding environment.

The house has four bedrooms, 1,738 sf of conditioned space and a one car garage. It has received LEED Platinum Certification. It has a HERS rating of 47 and many notable features, including FSC wood, reclaimed trim from demolished Michigan barns in the region, no conventional turf (no irrigation) and low flow plumbing fixtures. The house has no attic or basement so upstairs rooms have dramatic ceilings that begin at 3’-0” and end at 16’-0” with an angle ceiling matching that angle of the roof.

No conventional turf or irrigation system was installed around the home, and all fixtures and fittings (toilet, faucets, and showers) are very high efficiency, reducing the site's water demand by 78%. The wood used in the cabinets, stairs, closets, doors, and upstairs floors are all FSC certified. The house itself is much more compact than a standard house, so much that the LEED threshold dropped by 10 points. The kitchen counter tops and decking are constructed are composite from recycled materials.

The home's unconventional design earned it 1st Place in Detroit Home Magazine Design Awards 2013 for Contemporary House under 4,000 sq ft.

Project Details:
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Clients: Azar and Hormoz Alizadeh (the house currently is rented out to tenants, it is not currently occupied by the owners)
Project Type:                 Single Family
Conditioned Space:      1,738 sq ft.
Bedrooms:                      4
Bathroom:                     3
Lot Type:                        Infill
Construction Type:     Custom

HERS Rating of 46, expected savings of 54% with a 5 Star+ Energy Rating
44% of Construction Waste Diverted from Landfill

Key Features:

  • 2 kw Solar Panel on roof, reducing energy costs by 18%
  • Wall Insulation R-Value of 29
  • Air Filtration rate, MERV 15
  • Reduced water demand by 76%Hickman checklist
  • Compact home for minimal site impact
  • No irrigation system or conventional turf
  • FSC certified cabinetry, stairs, closets, doors, and upstairs flooring.
  • Energy Star certified appliances and light fixtures
  • 2 ton heat pump/ERV
  • Appropriately sized 40,000 Btu furnace
  • Low flow toilets, faucets and showerheads

Project Team:
Brian Halprin (Green Building Services, Pllc)
Naseem Alizadeh (Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism)
Tad Krear (Landscape architect)
Cory Johnston (Structural engineer)
Matt Snider (Mechanical Engineer)

Photo gallery containing before, after, and during construction pictures:
The Matchbox House: Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism

Feature in Architect Lab's Online Magazine

2216 Hickman (Matchbox House) Project Profile

 

Matchbox House Certificate

PHIUS_low res

PHIUS+ Passive Certification for Building – Recorded Webinar – CEUs

PHIUS+ Certification for Building Projects is the only voluntary certification program on the US Market at an affordable cost that requires both: a thorougPHIUS_low resh third party review of the design and energy/hygrothermal modeling of a project as well as a third party verification of the actual implementation on site through expert trained PHIUS+ RESNET Raters. A successful project earns the PHIUS+ Certified passive house or building plaque/certificate as well as the DOE Challenge Home and Energy Star labels.

GBCI / AIA - Recorded webinar instructions below 

Learning Objectives:

1) Understand why Quality Assurance is essential to verified performance

2) Learn about the pre-certification process and what is required for the design review

3) Learn about the onsite verification performed by a Certified PHIUS+ Rater

4) Learn about the collaboration and endorsement by the DOE challenge Home program

Review the Webinar here 

Presenter Katrin Klingenberg

Co-founder and Executive Director of the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS)
Katrin Klingenberg

www.passivehouse.us

Katrin Klingenberg is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS). PHIUS promotes the wide adoption of passive building principles in North America through specialized consultant training and certification, project and product certification, and educational efforts for building professionals and the general public.

Ms Klingenberg designed and built the very first home built in the United States using the European standard and design specifications in 2002-2003. She has designed and consulted on numerous passive projects since across North America’s varied climate zones and has made proposals for the possible refinement of current passive house standards to North American climate zones. In addition to her executive role she is the lead instructor for PHIUS Certified Passive House Consultant training. In that role she directs curriculum. She also directs the technical and research programs of PHIUS. She holds a Masters Degree in architecture from Ball State University and is a licensed architect in Germany.

In order to be approved for GBCI/AIA you must follow the below steps

1. View the Audio/Visual Recording Here 

2. Complete Survey + 10 Question Quiz and get a passing score of 80% 

3. In order for CEUs to be processed we will need a  small donation based on what value you found on the course. As a 501(c)3 charitable organization (view our details), we deliver green building education courses throughout the Midwest at minimal cost and at no profit. Please support us to help keep these going. Your donation to the Green Home Institute may be tax-deductible. Please check with your accountant or tax attorney for details.

Sumac Grove

Greenest Home in West Michigan Certifies LEED Platinum

LEED Snapshot Main Photo

1 Hour Recorded Webinar Available Now - 1 AIA/GBCI

" In the 5 years I have been involved with and Regional Green Building Certified Homes, I think I can finally throw my 2 cents in the ring and call this the Greenest Home in West Michigan" - Brett Little, Executive Director

What make's it the Greenest? For starters, Michael Holcomb - President/CEO and owner of Home Inspector General has called this "the tightest home I have ever tested." It comes in at 0.44 ACH @50PA (for all you energy geeks). Michael has test 1,000's of homes and buildings in the Midwest in his 20 years of experience so that is saying something.

Next, this project almost achieved passive house standards! Sam worked an experienced PHIUS rater "John Semmelhack" to use the advanced modeling software to design his house. The house tested below the air change requirements of Passive House but only made 7.20 KBTu's as opposed to the required 4.75 ( Energy Geek Talk)  Sam's reasoning's  "The primary driver of that cost was the building geometry.  Since a primary objective was to build a barrier free home, we designed it all to be on one level.  This meant that the ratio of exterior wall and roof area to the floor area was not optimal for thermal design (of Passive House).  It was more important to us to have the barrier free design that to meet the PH requirements, though we came very close.  The only changes we made from the original PH design was to reduce the thickness of the perimeter walls from 22” to 19”, and specify a window that was not quite as high performing as the one that would attain the PH rating." Sam told me that there was 99 year back on the window required to meet the standard (at that time).

3rd, First Zero Energy Home in West Michigan (if anyone wants to dispute that let us know!). Obviously we can't officially call it Zero Energy without a year's worth of data but we will keep you all up to date to see it makes it. The HERS score is not 0 but it is 18 which  is the lowest in West Michigan with A home in Stanwood and hour north getting a 12. There is a lot of mis-information out there stating that  a HERS of zero is required to be "Zero Energy" but in practice we see homes scoring HERS of 35 and  achieving Zero Energy.

LEED Label for Sumac Grove Sam Pobst LEED certified PlatinumLast, LEED for Homes Platinum Certification has been achieved. This
requires 3rd party onsite verification that proves you the home is green through actual testing.

But, but... This project is in Lowell outside of an Urban Area and lacks community resources and connectivity. It's true, the one place that this house poorly scores is in location efficiency. You can find data to support that reliance on automobiles is more costly and has more CO2 emissions than very well insulated home. Currently Sam is using the home as his office as well  as his living space and so he does not have to drive to an office in a far away location. He can grow alot of food on the site as well and eventually add more solar and purchase an electric car to power it with all Solar.

This must have cost millions right? 

"We spent $167.00/Square Feet, but if you add in O+P, Design fees, and my sweat equity, I estimate about a $200/ SF cost to construct."

•         Gross SF                                            2010

•         Basement SF                                    851

•         Conditioned SF                               2547

•         Garage / Workshop                      621

•         $167/SF  Hard cost

•         $200/ SF Buildable cost

  1. + Overhead and Profit
  2. + Design fees
  3. + Sweat Equity

 PDF Project Profile Details 

Further Resources 

Read back on Sam's progress documented on his Blog and stay informed as he monitors the home's energy use, durability, comfort, indoor air quality and water use. http://sumacgrove.blogspot.com/2013/01/certified.html

  • Contact with Questions Sam Pobst, BO+M, BD+C, Homes and ID+C, a USGBC LEED Faculty™
    Principal
    ecometrics llc
    P. 616.897.4967 C. 616.648.7493
    Email sam@ecometrics.biz

 

Cottage Home LEED for Homes Lakefront

Cottage Home Sets New Standard for Sustainable Lakefront Living

Using his home building expertise, Brian Bosgraaf started Cottage Home in 2000 specializing in building custom homes along Lake Michigan. Cottage Home has designed and built more than 70 custom homes along the West Michigan shoreline, including 13 LEED certified homes. In an interview with Brian, he expressed his passion for LEED certification and sustainable construction practices.

When Brian and Jeremy vanEyk (Vice President) were asked about their commitment to building LEED, they responded that Cottage Home is committed to utilizing healthy, affordable, efficient, and durable construction practices that are already above code, energy star and even LEED at times. Brian says he considers LEED only one of the many tools in his toolbox. Other such tools include creative design, customer service, careful selection of materials, and creating a sense of place. In order to make it simple for the customer, Cottage Home uses a fixed price prior to starting construction which already includes LEED qualifications. This allows some of the cost of LEED certification to be absorbed by both the customer and through the Cottage Homes marketing budget.  Brian believes this method works due to his design and construction teams working together throughout the construction process, which creates a feedback loop that fosters constant improvement.  Including LEED certification into the final cost helps facilitate more sales than presenting each option with separate pricing.

Since many homeowners today are educated and concerned about sustainability and environmental issues,  many take time to study the details of LEED on the website of Cottage Home and take comfort in knowing LEED is a third party certification. Clients are aware of LEED’s achievements and credibility, and often wonder about how changes to the house affect the LEED certification level. Much of Cottage Home’s customer base is from the Chicago area where LEED is prevalent in their office buildings, and a result, many clients have experienced the advantages offered by LEED construction firsthand. These clients have often already invested in commercial LEED projects and are now ready to transition these same high standards to their personal lives. Jeremy decided to experience the benefits of LEED firsthand and chose to have his own house in Zeeland, certified LEED Platinum.

Building on the lake front comes with complications such as extreme wind loads, humid changes, temperature fluctuation, and other variables. To overcome these challenges, Cottage Home uses high performance home measures to control the entire process though design, build, and some maintenance which allows more control of green features. Cottage Home designs and builds what is right for each particular home which may result in homes varying in different HVAC, insulation, passive solar heating, and various climate control systems.  One particular feature that is commonly used in these homes, including Jeremys, is an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator).   An ERV automatically exhausts stale air from the inside of the house and replaces it with fresh air from the outside.  Another key feature used in many of the homes is a geothermal system.  There are a few different types used, but all contribute to the energy efficiency of the homes in some way.  Several techniques are used to increase water efficiency in the homes, such as tankless water heaters, which only heat water when necessary, water collection systems to help with sprinking and irrigation, and faucets and showerheads that work with less water than traditional ones.  Insulation, as well as materials such as flooring, home furnishings and walls are all aspects that need to be carefully considered when building these homes.

As leaders in the industry we asked Brian and Jeremy what they saw in the future of design and construction. Jeremy believes that being able to evaluate the effectiveness of high performance systems and insulation through energy bills is important. Along with water collection systems to reduce storm water runoff and help irrigate the lawn.  Brian agrees that we should have a system to allow clients to ensure they are getting the most effective homes. He foresees homes that can be manipulated to meet the client’s needs at any given time. An example of this would be homes with the ability to accommodate a family of four, which can then transition to accommodate sleeping arrangements for twenty. Along with being able to better meet a client’s needs, he would like to see energy loads distributed to only sections of the house in use, as well as the ability for clients to control how energy is used throughout the home (on site and from satellite locations).  Cottage Home sees one challenge to moving forward with these ideas is getting sub-contractors to approach basic air sealing, insulation, proper HVAC sizing, and design aesthetics with an effective mindset. Cottage Home has established themselves as innovators and leaders in the design of luxury LEED lake front homes. They continue to partner quality, design and the environment hand in hand to produce sustainability along our beaches.

Quick Numbers - Average HERS Score 51 Average LEED score 75 

Learn & see more about their LEED projects below.

51 W. Central

Beach House on Monroe Blvd.

Fabun Road Cottage

Green Cottage at Suequehanna

LakeBridge Beach House

LakeBridge One

Monroe Beach House

North Beach Cottage

Northgate Lake Home

Pier Cove Cottage

Summer's Gate 4 and 8

The Havens Cottage

Waukazoo Woods Residence