Quality Assured HVAC Training – ESV3 – High Performance Professional

QAD HVAC ESV3 AE has Partnered with Advanced Energy To help  HVAC contractors Qualify as High Performance Home leaders. Those installing systems in ENERGY STAR qualified homes are need to ensure are properly trained and qualified to perform HVAC QI services, EPA is requiring that contractors:

  1. Document that they possess the knowledge, skills, abilities, and tools (e.g., through training, work experience, and/or company policies) to effectively deliver the services required in the ENERGY STAR HVAC QI checklist; and
  2. Be credentialed and subject to oversight/quality assurance by an independent, third-party organization.

 Cost: $100 – $350 depending on location*

Other Fees (1/2 – 1/3 the cost of ACCAs program)

  • $199 Application Fee
  • $299 per year renewal fee
  • $35 per job up to 50 jobs
  • less for more than 50 jobs

Why Become Qualified High Performance Energy Star Version 3 Contractor


  • Scalability – whether you are working on one house or 5,000, our program offers scalability to fit your needs.  The primary fee associated with our program is a per-unit quality assurance review process, meaning that you only pay for what you use.
  • Technical assistance – if you find yourself struggling while out on an install or designing a duct system, Advanced Energy is here to help you.  As a participating contractor, you have easy access to the technical resources you need to ensure quality work on your ENERGY STAR installations.
  • Contractor development – our program is more than just a certification, we strive to make you better. If you think your business could use some additional help, or if the program’s standards are not being met, hands-on training and consulting will be provided by program staff to get you up to speed. We can also help you put the policies and procedures into place to ensure quality installation to help you continue working on ENERGY STAR jobs.
  • Streamlined ENERGY STAR quality assurance process – we have automated the reporting process making it quick and easy to track your progress and view all of your ENERGY STAR jobs in one place.
  • Click here to view or download our Program Brief for HVAC Contractors.

HVAC Quality Installation Oversight Organizations (H-QUITOs) are the EPA-recognized independent, third-party oversight organizations that establish the required credentialing programs and provide oversight/QA activities for HVAC contractors who install systems in Version 3 ENERGY STAR qualified homes.


Event Title / Location

Mon, Apr 29, 2013
8:15 AM – 5:15 PM
Quality Assured HVAC Training – ESV3 – High Performance Professional 
WARM Training Center
Detroit MI
Tue, Apr 30, 2013
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Energy Star Version 3 for HVAC Contractors – Get Credentialed 
Jackson Systems
Indianapolis IN
Tue, Apr 30, 2013
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Quality Assured HVAC Training – ESV3 – High Performance Professional 
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC)
Madison Wisconsin

What the H-QUITO Does

As an H-QUITO, Advanced Energy is required to:

  • Develop and maintain a credentialing program for qualified contractors;
  • Provide general orientation training for contractors on the ENERGY STAR Version 3 guidelines;
  • Maintain a database and a publicly-available, online list of credentialed participating contractors;
  • Conduct periodic quality assurance of participating contractors;  and
  • Develop and maintain a participating contractor dispute resolution process that includes procedures for investigation of complaints, contractor probation, dismissal, and appeals.

More From the GBA Blogs – The 7 Biggest Opportunities for HVAC Contractors

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 www.takethegreenpath.com.

“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.

Madison/Cincinnati/Grand Rapids: Understanding the Living Building Challenge Seminar


This workshop provides a 6-hour in-depth introduction to the Living Building Challenge. Attendees are the green building leaders in their community: design professionals, contractors, developers, owners, government officials and employees of public agencies. In short, anyone and everyone who can impact the development of the built environment.

Learning Objectives 

•Identify the key components of the Living Building Challenge
•Discuss the rationale for restorative design principles
•Understand successful strategies for compliance with each performance area
•Recognize financial, regulatory and behavioral barriers and
•incentives related to high performance design
•Describe the Living Building Challenge Community resources and certification process

Ticket Type                      Early Registration*                     Regular Registration
Living Building Challenge                            $195                                                       $215
Community Subscribers & Partner Organization () Members 
Non-member General Registration       $295                                                       $345
* Register up to two weeks prior to event

Our Expert Faculty: Richard Graves

Richard has extensive experience establishing and supporting green building programs in national and international settings. A registered architect with degrees from Rice University and Virginia Tech, Graves was the U.S. Green Building Council’s Senior Vice President of Community. He has over a decade of field experience working on leading-edge green building projects and is a staunch advocate for transparency and responsibility in the building industry.

•6 AIA Learning Units
•6 GBCI Continuing Education hours
•Instruction from expert faculty
•Continental breakfast and lunch included

  1.  Madison WI APRIL 10th 
  2.  Cincinnati, OH April 17th 
  3. Grand Rapids – Fall 2013- TBA

Annual Report 2012

The Green Home Institute () is excited to share our past year’s phenomenal successes in providing education on high-performance home and green building principals, practices, tools/resources and 3rd-party verification programs.  Please consider a year-end donation to help our continued success. Here’s  a recap of 2012 activities:

Green Build Accreditation  On site Seminars 

has provided 18 course offerings throughout the Midwest in order to educate participants on basic green building necessities and how to navigate the LEED rating system through the LEED 201: Core Concepts & Strategies class, basics of residential green building and how to utilize the LEED for Homes rating system through HOMES 252: Understanding LEED for Homes and the HOMES 401 course to qualify more Green Raters who can verify LEED for Homes projects. We reached out to nearly 200 participants who are now more prepared to take courses to become accredited LEED Green Associate’s and/or LEED Accredited Professionals with the Homes designation.

See full 4 page report here. 

Online Green Building Education

Working internally and  partnering with GreenExpo 365 ,we educated over 1,000 people on 1-hour continuing education green building web-based seminars. We worked with 10 different experts who are green building professionals on telling stories of their approach to sustainable construction and showing case studies of their success. Some of these web-based seminars include, Introduction to the Living Building Challenge, Introduction to LEED for Homes, Rehabbing to LEED & Green Homes, Green Making Green: Green Remodeling Intro, The US’s oldest Net Zero Remodel success story, Success in Education & Awareness in LEED for Homes , A Journey to LEED & Passive House, Appraising Green Homes and Introduction to LEED for Homes Multifamily Certification.

Local Green Building Courses & Tours 

Collaborated with partners to make these happen.

  • Illinois 
    • Passive House Consultant Training Program, Slotnick Residence LEED Tour, Better Buildings, Better Business Conference Seminars on LEED Platinum foreclosure rehab, Rain water harvesting workshop, Greening real estate adding value to home talk, tour De La Fleur 3 flat gut rehab, Introduction to LEED for Homes & Multi Family program, LEED for Homes Existing Homes talk, Energy Star Version 3 introduction, Building low cost green homes talk, Introduction to green building appraisal practices and principals, and the Lincoln park town home gut rehab tour + many more.
  • Michigan 
    • Habitat for Humanity Green Homes Summit Michigan – Green Home presentations, LEED almost Passive House Homes tour, Energy Star Version 3 introduction, Mission Zero Fest – Certify it talk, LEED VS NGBS VS Green Built MI
  • Wisconsin 
    • Newen House Passive House Zero Energy Bus – Home Tour.
  • We also have delivered training through HUD and the Office of Native American Programs to instruct tribal communities on building greener homes.

Green Home Education Videos

Completed 3 Green Home Videos show casing details of Green, healthy home building verified to be high performance via LEED certification. 1 video has been a 1.5-year project handed down through 3 Grand Valley State interns as a collaborative effort stretching across semesters highlighting one of the greenest homes in West Michigan. Videos are available at our youtube channel.

High Performance HVAC Energy Star Qualified Contractor Trainings 
  •   partnered with Advanced Energy to develop and train a network of qualified HERS raters to further train HVAC contractors throughout the Midwest to learn and meet the requirements of working on Energy Star  ersion 3 Homes.  HVAC contractors will better implement load calculations, duct sizing, and other critical skills needed to certify a high-performance Energy Star home. Finding qualified HVAC contractors has been an impediment to the program, and with this training is helping overcome that hurdle in the Midwest. Please consider a year-end donation to help our continued success.

Living Building Challenge Collaboration 

partnered with the International Living Future Institute to deliver a very successful 6-hour seminar in Chicago on Understanding the Living Building Challenge. We garnered over 40 attendees, 2 – 3 times more than those courses usually attract in Chicago, and educated people on a holistic, approach to triple bottom line building for homes, offices, industry and communities. Based on the workshop’s success, we are planning 3 more in the Midwest for 2013. Please consider a year-end donation to help our continued success.


  • is excited to announce that we won a grant from Bank of America in partnership with Integrated Architecture, Habitat for Humanity Kent County and The City of Grand Rapids to help transform our local neighborhood to a LEED Neighborhood Development. We will receive this $25,000 in Q1 2013 and will be used to develop a plan for 3 pillars of LEED ND certification in the Wealthy Heights neighborhood of Grand Rapids Michigan in regards to sustainable sites development which goes along with our Storm Water mitigation issues, location and transportation which means the walkibility and flow of the streets, sidewalks and bus lines and Green Infrastructure which is ensuring healthy, affordable, efficient and durable construction and remodeling practices in the neighborhood.

LEED Certifications & Registrations

  • In 2012 registered over 1200 units spanning across 70 different
    projects, essentially on par with 2011 numbers. LEED registration shows that a project team has thought through high performance and sustainable practices prior to construction the house. makes every effort to ensure the teams are given the tools and resources to complete the projects and earn LEED certification, working on over 5000 units encompassing over 1500 separate projects as of 2012.
  • We value 3rd party verification and certification as a benchmark to show that a project has actually had the oversight and performance testing done to ensure performance, durability, efficiency and health issues are taken care of for the life of the building. LEED certification is also a tool for education as it shows real projects that meet a national definition of green, is above standard building practices, and teaches builders, designers, homeowners and the community involved in the projects about sustainable home construction. has been an original LEED provider since 2005.

    Green Homes Price Premium

    Research from UC Berkeley and UCLA have found that green home labels can add almost 9% to the value of a home.

Case Studies on LEED Affordable Housing

  • Partnered with Michigan State University (MSU) on a $10,000 grant given to the University to survey homeowners of the qualitative features of their LEED certified homes throughout the Midwest . Thanks to MSU we have reached over 200 homeowner/renters LEED certified housing and learned more about the health and energy effects of their homes and habits within them. (Read the LEED post-occupancy research report here)

Strategic Planning

  • has been focused mainly on LEED for Homes programming since 2007, but beginning in 2012, we have been expanding our programming to other areas including,
    • educating local community members through a hands-on demonstration center and training,
    • developing an online demonstration center to help consumers make the best choices when building or remodeling in a sustainable manner,
    • developing and delivering a 3rd party remodeling certification program for homeowners and remodelers who want to learn how to remodeling in a healthy, efficient and durable manner and verify it was done correctly.
    • Helping lead the charge on the Greening of the MLS in our headquarters city of Grand Rapids so that we can properly assess and value green homes.

We are thankful to Andrea Poma, our board treasurer, for leading the charge on Strategic planning this year, working with volunteers and interns to broaden our reach to programs that meet our mission.

Staffing Changes

  • Brett Little, LEED, BS: Sustainable Business has been with the Green Home Institute since August 2008, starting as a volunteer  and working his way up past Americore Vista program, part time employee and then interim Executive Director after Calvin Delano left.  Brett has been recently married and bought an 80-year old house in Grand Rapids and began a moderate green rehab on the house, reducing energy use by 50%. As of December 3rd, Brett has been promoted to fulfill the official Executive Director role. Brett is excited to begin launching new programs to help with unique education in Green Building.
  • We are thankful for a $13,200 grant from the Home Inspector General  to bring on Jamison Lenz, LEED GA,  BS Sustainable Business  as the  LEED for Homes program manager. He began working full time as of November first after serving one of our biggest partners, Habitat for Humanity Kent County as an Americorps Member tasked with LEED for Homes certification oversight & Weatherization of existing homes. Jamison has long been a sustainability advocate, being one of the first graduates of Aquinas College’s first of it’s kind Sustainable Business program.

Rater Network

Become LEED for Homes Green Rater has maintained and expanded a network of 40 + Energy/Green Raters throughout the Midwest in 8 states to help deliver 3rd party onsite verification to Green Home projects and help educate project teams on the necessary measures taken to achieve high performance homes.


Intern Highlights

  Abigail Koprowicz, A sustainable business student & world traveler from

first assignment was to be a LEED Home Video Host  which had her immediately re stating details of LEED & Green Building that she learned on the spot. Other activities are work with Chuck Otto, a media consultant on helping tailor their green home education news to conventional media. After graduation, Abigail plans to attend graduate school and study environmental anthropology.

Grand Valley State University has provided with some of the best video/production interns. They have helped us follow a full house from start to finish and passed the project on without delay though 3 different interns. Thank you to Andrea, Lauren & Alex. The project will be released soon on our You Tube Channel

has worked with 10 interns from various institutions including:

  • Aquinas, GVSU and Davenport
    • Sustainable Business, Film, Business Administration
    • Combined effort of over 120 HoursWorked on Case Studies, Strategic Planning, Board Participation, Green Home Videos, Green Home Research, News Articles, Project Team Interviews and participated free of charge in education courses
Lansing Passive House Alliance 
Helped kick off the Lansing Michigan Passive House Alliance in collaboration with several others around the state to provide information and education of building super air tight, low energy and passively heated and cooled homes & buildings. Continued our work with the Chicago Alliance as well. Learn more.

Support in 2013
As a 501(c)3 charitable organization (view our details), we deliver green building education courses throughout the Midwest at minimal cost and 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.

Thank you for your support!

Webinar: Post Occupancy Study – LEED for Homes on Affordable Housing

recently partnered with Michigan State University (MSU) to perform a Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of 235 LEED-certified homes in the Midwest, and we are pleased to share the results.  The goal is to identify the homes’ actual performance after people moved in, and also the

benefits and shortcomings of the current LEED for Home certification system. The survey consisted of various categories including (1) general satisfaction with the LEED-certified home, (2) satisfaction about the home in general and various aspects of the indoor environment, (3) overall well-being including the health impact, (4) energy efficiency and building performance, (5) the environmental behavior of residents, and (6) demographics.

The findings of this study revealed that most residents of the LEED-certified home were satisfied with their home and their quality of life in their home.

Continuing Education 

  • 1 GBCI – General
  • 1 MI Contractor (Code & Green)
  • 1 MI Architect
  • If you need continuing education units for a license in another state, this course may apply. Please consult your state’s requirements.

This webinar is free to review. If you are interested in continuing education credits, you must follow the following steps:

1. Watch the webinar presentation by Eunsil Lee, PhD for FREE.

2. Contact to take the quiz and score at least 80% to be approved. Please also post a comment below and help add to the conversation.

3. Pay the fee below to get your certificate and CEUs. You must be an  member to pay the reduced member fee.

Webinar Pricing

Two methodological approaches were used for this study. Qualitative case studies were conducted with 15 LEED-certified Habitat for Humanity residents in Kent County, Michigan through in-depth interviews, observations, and IEQ measurement. 16 % respondents came from LEED-certified Habitat for Humanity homes in Michigan. These residents in particular, were more satisfied with their homes and their quality of life than residents of Non- Habitat homes were, although their satisfaction with their neighborhood and specific aspects of home environment (e.g., space layout, size of space, finishes, visual privacy, view, temperature, humidity) was lower than that of Non-Habitat residents. Residents of the Habitat for Humanity tended to perceive the improvement of their quality of life since moving into their LEED-certified home more strongly than residents of the Non-Habitat home did. They were also more satisfied with energy efficiency of their home than residents of the Non-Habitat home.

2 page graphic summary of Study PDF Here 

Full 96 Page Report on Post Occupancy Study 

Report Recommendations:

Promote sustainability in low-income housing: More programs should be developed that can offer incentives for participation in LEED green building certification programs and increase funding opportunities to cover the initial costs of sustainable home building for low-income families at both state and local levels, because those efforts will produce long-term economic and environmental benefits.

Improve the design of low-income green housing: Architects, designers, engineers, contractors, and facility managers can gain greater understanding of design and the performance of low-income green homes with the findings of this POE project by receiving feedback for the future projects. Although the houses were LEED-certified, some problems in maintaining the green features, building performance, and comfortable home environment were identified. Architects, designers, engineers, green policy makers, and Habitat for Humanity Affiliates should pay attention to the specific needs relevant to these issues to improve the design quality of low-income green home through the process of planning, design, and construction.

Implement Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE): More extensive implementation of POEs is critical. Since LEED certification is based on “as-designed” performance, further implementation of POEs is exceptionally important to verify actual performance and expected performance. In particular, since there is no mandatory post-occupancy evaluation process included in LEED or other green home certifications, there is no empirical data to verify whether these green homes perform satisfactorily in terms of heating, cooling, or indoor environmental quality.

Contribute to the general body of knowledge: Although there is a consensus about the benefits of green homes, few empirical studies about the actual effects of LEED-certified green homes on residents’ health, comfort, and satisfaction have been conducted. The findings from this study therefore increased understanding of the benefits to be gained from LEED-certified low-income homes by applying empirically tested, research -based knowledge.

Promote public awareness: This report will educate the public about the impact of LEED-certified homes on (1) improving the residential environmental quality and energy efficiency, (2) reducing residents’ health risks and (3) enhancing residents’ comfort and satisfaction by disseminating the results of this research at conferences and by publishing articles in scholarly and extension journals.

Make a Policy Recommendation:

1) Incentives for green homes, such as LEED-certified homes, Energy Star Homes, or National Association of Home Builders’ Green certified homes, should be offered to developers, contractors, and homeowners. This will be critical for both new and existing homes located in the cold regions such as Michigan to encourage energy-efficient green home constructions for low-income families in order to offer lower utility bills.

2) Policy makers should collaborate closely with local builders and developers to apply more green home features to new or existing low-income houses. Certain types of incentives for local builders and developers are desired.

3) Post-occupancy evaluations of green certified homes should be encouraged, particularly for low-income housing. Continuous efforts should be made to save energy and keep green homes energy-efficient for these households and homeowners.

4) We suggest conducting POEs of green certified homes in five or ten years to preserve their green features and energy efficiency. Based on the POEs, the homes may or may not be repaired to keep the original functions of green features. In the POEs and repairing process, local home remodeling companies can be involved. Some incentives should be considered for the local companies or businesses to be involved in this green process if they are small or micro businesses. Tax reductions for these types of companies (i.e., energy auditors, window replacement companies) can promote small entrepreneurs working on sustainable housing projects in local communities. This can create more local jobs.

5) We suggest offering regular educational seminars for residents of green certified homes in order to offer precise information about the green features of their homes and educate them how to keep their homes green. On-site seminars can be offered one or two times in the development phase and right before the new owners take occupancy. Once residents move to their new homes, it is recommended to send flyers via mail or email to remind them of the green features of their homes and inform them of how to use and maintain these features. Mailed or emailed flyers will work better than on-site seminars because many residents have full- or part-time jobs.

6) In addition, incentives should be considered for upgrading low-income housing to make it more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Currently there is a 500 dollar maximum tax credit for upgrading any housing features to make them energy-efficient. This maximum should be increased to keep up with the real cost of upgrading energy-consuming HVAC systems to energy-efficient ones. In particular, more aggressive incentives should be offered to households below a certain income level so that homeowners can be more active in upgrading their conventional houses to energy-efficient green ones.

Thanks to the Michigan Applied Public Policy Research (MAPPR) Grant from the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) and  Michigan State University (MSU) who worked with to perform this Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE).

See more details on a similar LEED Pre-Occupancy Report.

Green Building Winter Trainings throughout the Midwest

As part of the Alliance’s mission to educate the builders, architects, developers and the public at larger on the latest in Green Building, we are offering several courses around the Midwest and online this year.  Studying for your Green Associates? LEED AP Home?




Date/Time* Event Title / Location CEUs
Tue, Feb 12, 2013
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
An Introduction to the Living Building Challenge – Lunch Time Webinar – Free

Thu, Feb 14, 2013
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Subslab ventilation systems for moisture control

Tue, Feb 19, 2013
9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
HOMES 401: Green Rater Training
Priority Energy – Training Center
Park Ridge IL
Wed, Feb 27, 2013
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
A Homeowner’s Tale, Passive House & LEED Home Case Study – Free Webinar 

1 GBCI / 1 AIA
Thu, Feb 28, 2013
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Implementation of successful daylighting control systems

Wed, Mar 6, 2013
7:00 AM – 3:45 PM
Better Buildings: Better Business Conference
Kalahari Conference Center
Wisconsin Dells, WI 
Wed, Mar 6, 2013
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Living Building Seminar Pre Conference Networking Event
Ann Arbor 
Thu, Mar 7, 2013
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Understanding the Living Building Challenge 6 Hour Seminar 
Guardian Club Banquet Hall
Detroit Michigan 
Mon, Mar 11, 2013
9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
LEED GA: Core Concepts & Strategies – Naperville
Electric Association
Naperville IL
Wed, Mar 13, 2013
9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
HOMES 252: Understanding LEED for Homes – Wilmette
Wilmette, IL 
Tue, Mar 19, 2013
12:00 AM – 12:00 AM
eQUEST energy modeling series
NIU Outreach Center at Naperville
Naperville IL
Tue, Apr 9, 2013
12:00 AM – 12:00 AM
eQUEST energy modeling series
Radisson Paper Valley Hotel
Appleton Wisconsin
Wed, Apr 10, 2013
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Understanding the Living Building Challenge 6 Hour Seminar 
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC)
Madison Wisconsin
Wed, Apr 17, 2013
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Understanding the Living Building Challenge 6 Hour Seminar 
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC)
Madison Wisconsin

*All times are US Eastern time (EST)

Group rates available on workshops! Contact info@alliancees.org for details.
All programs approved for AIA and GBCI credit. Other CEU programs may also apply.


As a 501(c)3 charitable organization (view our details), we deliver green building education courses through out the Midwest usually at cost. 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.

Thank you for your support!


Habitat Volunteers Gain Green & LEED Experience

      GRAND RAPIDS, MI With all the interest in “green jobs” training from colleges and universities you might be surprised to learn that a cohort of emerging green design and construction professionals are being trained all over the US on Habitat Projects. AT 426 Adams SE in the City of Grand Rapids. 426 Adams SE is a construction site for a new home being built via Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. The reason the cohort is there is Habitat Kent’s commitment to building 100% Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified homes. Since 2007 that commitment has led to 100 LEED projects.

LEED certification starts on projects as small as a single-family residential home, all the way up to an awe-inspiring skyscraper or sports stadium. And with more municipalities requiring LEED and an increase of consumer demand for green, LEED Professional Accreditation is an essential credential for today’s building industry professional. However, the road to LEED Professional Accreditation is not easy – as extensive LEED project experience is now a prerequisite for professionals to qualify for the LEED exams. This requirement creates a near-impossible barrier for recent graduates, unemployed, and those changing careers: how does one gain LEED experience, if LEED experience is required for employment?

But Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has a solution: an entry-level, hands-on LEED project experience program called EverbuildPRO.

This program is possible through Habitat’s partnership with BOULD, a Colorado-based social enterprise that grew out of the Boulder, CO Habitat affiliate, who sought to help LEED-seeking professionals and students gain green experience through Habitat home construction.

EverbuildPRO creator, Shane Gring, started as a Habitat volunteer with the Boulder Habitat and quickly identified the need — and his solution. The first affiliate he reached out to for beta testing was Kent County. Says Gring, “In the green building world Grand Rapids’ Habitat affiliate is well known as a leader. Being a native-Michigander I’m well aware of West Michigan’s commitment to sustainability. Could there be a better place to start?”

EverbuildPRO is a hands-on experiential education program – that provides professionals and students with the hand-on, real world experiences necessary to launch green careers. The program consists of 50 hours of experience on a 4-month building project – where participants will get access to: participation in design and planning meetings, tackling of green research and documentation, witnessing performance inspections, and even rolling-up their sleeves and building on-site! Upon program completion, participants will graduate with multifaceted green experience, a LEED-certified building to add to their resume, and qualification for LEED Accreditation, the world’s most recognized sustainability credential.

“Having a passion for sustainable building brought me to Habitat”, stated Jamison Lenz, a Habitat volunteer pursuing his LEED AP+Homes accreditation. “After attaining a degree in Sustainable Business from Aquinas I wanted to find an experience with high performance building. Volunteering with Habitat gives me that hands-on LEED opportunity you just can’t access anywhere else.”

“This program is really helpful. We love our dedicated volunteers who work alongside our home buyer partners. Now being able to integrate some of them even more into the life of our projects is exciting” believes Christopher Hall, Habitat Director of Strategic Initiatives. “I hope they all take their test, pass it with flying colors and then go on to help improve the built environment. But even if they don’t pursue LEED AP any further, we still end up with a new home ownership opportunity for a hard-working, qualified family who needed a hand up. That alone is pretty cool.”

Interested individuals can find registration information for the upcoming project at www.habitatkent.org/green under “LEED AP Project Experience”.  Anyone can Habitat or Individual can participate in their local area across the country too.




Christopher J. Hall

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County



About Habitat for Humanity of Kent County

The nonprofit Christian housing organization Habitat for Humanity of Kent County seeks to serve God, build hope and transform lives through neighborhood revitalization and homeownership for families who otherwise could not afford a home of their own. Since 1983, Habitat Kent has served more than 320 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate, volunteer, or purchase a home, please visit www.habitatkent.org, or follow us atwww.facebook.com/habitatkent or at www.twitter.com/KentCoHabitat.

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

317-797-2101      william@truewill.us

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




Moving Beyond Energy Efficiency to Sustainability – Guest Post

Post by: Michelle Krueger

For more than a decade, the green-building movement has been gaining momentum based on one simple fact – when you reduce the consumption of energy in your home, you save money.

In tracking the trends that are driving the growth of green building, McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2011 Green Outlook reports 70% of buyers would prefer to purchase a green home over a conventional one. The top 3 reasons cited include reduced operating costs, increased value and a greater return on investment.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which certifies residential building projects that meet the criteria of The National Green Building Standard, green homes comprised 17% of the overall residential construction market in 2011 and are expected to grow to between 29% and 38% of the market by 2016.

“The building science has been around for a while, and now we have programs and labels from organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to quantify it,” Jerry Thatcher of Valparaiso’s Energy Diagnostics (LEED Green Rater), a leader in the energy rating industry since 1992, said. “We work with builders primarily in the tri-state area (Indiana,IllinoisandMichigan). The most common certification we do is the residential Green Building Standard through NAHB. We also certify homes through the ENERGY STAR® program, RESNET and LEED for Homes.”

A joint program of the EPA and DOE started in 1992, ENERGY STAR promotes energy efficient products and practices that help save money and protect the environment. In addition to new homes, the blue ENERGY STAR label appears on over 60 product categories. In 2011, ENERGY STAR saved consumers more than $23 billion on utility bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions from 41 million vehicles.

Created by RESNET, The HERS Index provides a standard for measuring energy efficiency that’s essentially the home building industry’s version of the MPG (miles per gallon) sticker used by the automobile industry. The major difference is that a lower HERS rating means a home is more efficient.

LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design was developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000 as a voluntary and technically rigorous process that demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

“So far we are on track to meet our target of rating 3,500 units this year,” Thatcher said. “LEED is still our least used label mostly because people are so concerned about the execution since it was originally created for commercial building. However, I am confident in saying that we will soon have our first LEED Platinum Certification in the area soon. We’ve seen maybe 8-10 similarly labeled units in and around Chicago.”

Located along the shores of Indiana’s second largest lake in Culver, this newly constructed home on Lake Maxinkuckee has been a labor of love for the owner, while builder Dean Jones, vice president of Mirar Development, Inc. in Crown Point found it to be a unique and valuable learning experience.

For starters, he agrees with the US Green Building Council when they state that the LEED green home rating system is rigorous.

“For this particular home buyer, LEED was a priority from day one,” Jones explained. “He had been studying the guidelines and was well versed in the program. He wanted to do it because he is concerned about the environment, about not negatively impacting the lake and its immediate surroundings, and because he believed so strongly in the basic premise of the program that he was willing to financially commit to it. His project was initially certified Gold, but throughout the process he continued to strive for a Platinum level of certification.”

“LEED is the whole package,” Thatcher said. “It goes beyond energy efficiency and focuses on the entire home, the carbon footprint and its impact on the environment.”

Encompassing energy, water, indoor air quality, materials, land and education, LEED requires multiple inspections during construction to ensure that a certified home will exceed any local code requirements by at least 15% in energy performance, along with a number of additional guidelines from water efficiency measures to proper ventilation and how the landscape features are designed.

“You earn points by doing certain things, and you want to avoid losing points wherever possible,” Jones said. “Any LEED home is a green, high-performance home. Higher-scoring homes within the LEED rating system earn higher certification levels. The biggest challenges for us were more in the upfront planning and putting ourselves in the mindset of assuring that we were doing everything we could to carry out the program and earn the points we were striving for. LEED ensures that construction waste is minimized and that environmentally-friendly products and construction techniques are utilized where possible. The point system also takes into account where your products were manufactured and how they got to the job site. Sometimes it was a challenge to find what we needed within 500 miles.”

“This home’s HERS rating is 38 points (a standard new home scores 100 while a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS Index), and thanks to all of the energy efficient and green features it will save the owner an estimated $4,321 a year on utility bills while reducing carbon dioxide the equivalent of removing 7 cars off the road permanently.” Thatcher said. “Based on everything I’ve seen throughout construction, even before the landscape is complete, I am confident this home will qualify for LEED Platinum certification.”

As of June 19 more than 5,200 US homes have been LEED-certified this year. That makes a total of 21,380 since the residential program was introduced in 2008. In just over 14 years, the number of ENERGY STAR-certified homes reached a million, from October 1995 to November 2009, and the program continues to grow, challenging builders to improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Watch for more LEED homes in your area as buyers realize the process is within their reach, and as leading builders who have historically incorporated high-quality construction practices demonstrate they are attainable, flexible and affordable.

To submit real estate news, community connections and special event/model information e-mail krueger.dm@sbcglobal.net.