Goshorn Woods Single Family GreenStar Homes Gold Certification showcases simple renovation

The MN Brick House project goes GreenStar Gold and scores 10!

Burns Valley, MN GreenStar Gold Remodel uses passive and active solar

Michigan GreenStar’s First Certified Remodel in Grand Rapids

Being the Executive Director at an organization that promotes and trains on residential green building, Brett Little decided  to put his money where his mouth was and commit to green remodeling in his first home purchase. Brett and his wife Laura wanted to commit to the up and coming city of Grand Rapids Michigan, which was easy to do with all the past few years of recognition and grow (Most sustainable mid-sized city, beer city USA 12′ and 13′, top ten place to find a job, most LEED building per capital and etc etc. ). The project is a prime of example of how one can use GreenStar on a small remodel / weatherization job without being too invasive to the home. Little House New Pic

The 2 story house circa the 1920s was aesthetically  in great shape, had a newly remodeled kitchen, intact wood windows and trim, good paint, half finished the basement and very well kept landscaped (turf) yard.

What the house was missing was quickly shown in the inspection and energy audit. They revealed a lack of any decent insulation/air sealing,  chuck full of incandescent light bulbs, inefficient water fixtures, noisy bath fan old and oversized heating/cooling systems  along with a dinosaur of a water heater and no garden in the perfectly south facing fenced in backyard.

The target was LEED Silver certification through a Gut Rehab, but we quickly had determined that exposing the exterior or interior walls to air seal plus removing the shower and tub surround to add in a non-paper face drywall would go way over our budget. While LEED may fall more in line with a Deep Green Retrofit, we opted to do a Moderate Green Retrofit.

From there it was clear that the once called MNGreenStar program would make the most sense and they used it to document the existing conditions and come up with our goals to make the home better. As you can see in the initial energy audit in which they used was the HERS Model (think an MPG sticker for your house) and came out at 175. You can see a little more on results we got here.  This number was on track with the old homeowners energy bills which we acquired during the audit.  Their overall order of importance to the home upgrades was Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Water Conservation, Landscaping and then Material Conservation.

Back deck

They came across a unique financing that allowed them to do a lot of work in the up front while getting a longer return on investment, MI Saves had partnered with their gas company DTE to allow a $2,500 kickback to those who could show a performance plan of gas savings of 30% with an upgrade. Trane/WellsFargo also had a fantastic deal with a 0% 5-year loan that allowed other products outside of their brand to make up 50% of the costs.

 

 

 

Key achievements for GreenStar Certification 

  • Insulation + air sealing
    • R 38 Spray foam in attic – Foam had cane/beat sugar components
    • Closed-cell Spray foam rim band joist and 1/4 of basement wall
    • 4 inches of Rigid Cellulose called Eco-Cell on basement walls  
    • Drill n fill cellulose added in the empty wallsEE
    • Caulking and Air sealing the windows and trim
  • New Storm Windows 
  • New fiberglass energy star door + weather stripping old door 
  • 96% Efficient, modulating and right sized furnace with ECM
  • 90% Efficient Hybrid 20-gallon water heater
  • Sealed all exposed ducts and hot water pipes
  • Programmable Thermostat
  • Mostly LED’s, some CFLs with some Dimmers or Motion sensors
  • Air changes per Hour (ACH): 5.1
  • Final HERS: 65
  • Final Energy Performance Score: 24,000 KWHe
  • Home Energy Score: 10
  • 181 Points in E.EIEQ
  • Ultimate Air Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
  • New Panasonic Exhaust Fan
  • Closed Combustion Furnace & Water Heater
  • Vented Hood Range
  • No VOC Paint In Basement
  • MERV 10 Filter
  • Asbestos Removed from heating ductsWC
  • Radon Test (negative)
  • Whole House Carbon Water Filtration
  • 46 Points in IEQ
  • Water Leak Test
  • .5 GPM Bathroom Aerator
  • 1.6 GPM Water Sense Shower Head
  • Niagara Stealth Toilet at .8 Gallons Per Flush (half of a normal toilet!)
  • SCPlan to not water lawn during the day
  • Reduced Turf
    28 points in water conservation
  • Installed Food Garden & Raised Beds
  • High Walkscore of 80 out of 100
  • Compost and Recycle almost all waste through the city & organic cycle
  • 24 points in Site and Community Impact

Because this was a light remodel and weatherization they did not score too many material points. Materials are mainly for extensive work being done and refurbishment in existing homes.

To see the entirely completed checklist, go here and download it or view it online 

Our blog details 1 years worth of utility date & costs associated with the project.  It also features lessons learned. They will be keeping it up to date by monitoring the performance, durability, comfortably and maintenance.

BrocGarden Image FullThey plan to achieve Silver Certification within 2 years by converting more of the backyard to a food garden and the entire front yard over to a mix of drought tolerant and native plant species along with raised bed food gardens. Adding rain barrels and fixing the gutters. We hope to achieve more points by painting the exterior of the house with carcinogen free no VOC paint.

Other current issues – No return ducts in the 2nd floor and some older ducts still panned in the joist may be causing temp swings in the second floor and higher summer humidity. We have an idea of opening up the kitchen to connect to the living and dining and during that time we could potentially add return ducts and seal the current ducts.

 

 

Walsh Family Zero Energy Capable Farm House goes GreenStar Gold!

Passive House in the Woods – GreenStar Gold

The Passive House in the Woods [Konkol residence] is a single-family home located in the Town of Hudson, Wisconsin. Located on a one-acre lot on the outer edge of a residential development the home overlooks the St. Croix River valley. The building lot provides stunning views and prime passive solar exposure. With its renewable energy systems, the structure makes more energy than it consumes. It features three bedrooms and three levels, including a walkout basement, as well as a rooftop terrace.Dining-Phwoods

The insulated concrete form substructure was built in the winter of 2009/10, and the home finished in September of 2010. The project is Wisconsin’s first certified Passive House and at the time, one of only a handful of certified Passive House projects in the United States of America.

The building envelope of the Konkol residence is very uniform. The below and above grade walls are made from the same insulated concrete form (ICF) assembly with exterior insulation and finish system. The basement slab rests on foam insulation—the roof deck is topped with foam insulation. The continuous concrete pour inside the ICF forms offers tremendous strength and helps with airtightness. R-values are very high and continuous. Both the garage as well as the exterior steel stair and deck structure are self-supporting and do not interrupt the building envelope.

The North side of the home is largely covered by the garage, which is essentially built up to the home but does not share any assemblies with it—making the house’s envelope continuously the same. There aren’t any windows on the North side at all. The south side opens up for maximum solar heat gains, which are managed by motorized exterior shades.

Covered entry and garage access are located on the main level from the East. The main stair is located along the North wall with storage cabinets lining it on each floor. The main level holds the kitchen, dining, and living area, as well as a powder room. Storage, mechanicals, and a guest suite/ family room are located on the walkout level, which provides access to the backyard.

The upper floor contains two bedrooms and a joint bath/ laundry room. Both the main and upper floor offer access to the exterior decks on the West side, as well as the exterior stair structure on the North side, which connects all levels from the ground to the rooftop terrace. The rooftop terrace holds part of the photovoltaic system and the solar thermal panel. It offers spectacular views over the St. Croix River valley.

The building was designed from the outset to become a Passive House. The first energy model was completed during schematics and subsequently kept current with design evolutions. The construction methods were selected specifically with airtightness in mind. Fenestration and glazing were fine-tuned using the energy model.

In an effort to deliver a holistic and sustainable design, the building was also designed to meet the Minnesota GreenStar Gold level of certification focusing on energy efficiency, resource efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and site and community impact.

Fast forward to 2015

This project is our first ever Zero Energy Capable Designated home which means it was designed and tested to be a low energy usage home and be completely offset by renewable energy. Not only that but the Konkol family has gone to great lengths to actually prove the home can obtain Zero Energy in their utility bills and have produced 300 more KWH than they used. This is why we are awarding them with our Zero Energy Hero award for the year 2010 – 2015. They produced 300 kwh more than they had used.  You can see their energy use and generation here. Zero Energy Hero Award Konkol Residence

Tim Eian, the project architect explains this in more detail. 

“In year 1 we identified a couple of commissioning errors, which upon evaluation, were fixed. This lead to lesser consumption in subsequent years.  In 2014 we understand that the solar thermal preheater panel failed (after repeated issues with the solar thermal hardware) and it took some time for it to be replaced, during which electric resistance hot water generation caused a higher than normal energy consumption. In addition, the tracker mechanism on the PV array failed repeatedly and is, as far as I know, defunct now, leaving the panels at a static position, rather than tracking. It is very frustrating to see the renewable systems causing many problems but re-assuring for the envelope-first approach we chose.

You will note at the bottom, that despite the issues with equipment, the overall balance for the site as of last month is still net positive. Please also note that the site is on a well with water filtration, which accounts for approximately 700 kWh per year (we monitored this for a few years), which a home on the water grid would not incur. The owner also maintains a large edible garden, which needs watering in summer and fall. The meter is accounting for all site loads, including the water well and filtration system, exterior lights, etc.”

You can read more about the project costs from this recent Fine Home Building Article

 

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/143324/the-low-cost-of-passivhaus-living#ixzz3pmBZl3PB

Highlights
• Passive House solar design
Certified Passive House, PHIUS+ and GreenStar GoldKonkol PHIUS+ Certificate
• 4.7kw Photovoltaic and solar thermal renewable energy systems
• Modern custom design, compact floorplan layout
• Very high-performance thermal envelope R-70 walls, an R-60 slab and an R-95 roof.
• Rooftop terrace and green roof
• Interior walls are made with American Clay Plaster which healthier material that manages moisture
• Extensive gardening
• German-made Optiwin windows and motorized exterior sunshades
• Heat-recovery ventilation system with earth loop
preheater

Full Gallery 

Blog

Project Team 

Design: Dipl.-Ing. Tim Delhey Eian, TE Studio, Ltd.
Interior Design: Christine Frisk, InUnison, Inc.
Landscape Design and Civil Engineering: Laurie McRostie
Structural Engineering: Mattson MacDonald Young
Lighting Design: Carol Chaffee, Carol Chaffee Associates
Construction: Morr Construction
Renewable Systems: Energy Concepts
GreenStar Rater: Pat O’Malley – Building Knowledge

 

 

 

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 

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

OWNER/DEVELOPER:

Terra Green Incorporated
345 Little Marryat Road, Trout Valley, IL  60013
847-516-8052
terragreen.vpweb.com
Terra Green are green developers, builders and consultants specializing in eco-friendly building at an affordable price.

Star Residence Goes GreenStar Silver in Wilmette, IL

TStar Residence Insidehe client is an empty nester who sought to build a green home in Wilmette.  Previous homes she had built in the Northeast included green ideas and concepts, but she desired to expand from those restricted builds and create something for her current lifestyle, while planning ahead for future physical challenges if they were to occur.

This home includes a passive solar, double wall construction, low E windows and doors, light colored shingles, and a detached garage. The home also features paneling installed by Hardie, sun shades, spray foam insulation, energy star appliances, high efficiency furnaces and water heater, reclaimed finishes, low VOC cabinetry, and clean burning fireplaces. Tremendous amounts of passive solar heating and lighting pulse through double wall construction for a tight home. Reflective color shingles were installed to reduce heat gain, while sun shades were implemented to control the lighting, giving the home a remarkable atmosphere. The home was also pre design and wired to be solar pv ready if the homeowner chooses to add solar. Water efficient fixtures, toilets and valve control kitchen sink were installed to conserve water and energy. Milwork, doors and windows contain FSC certified wood and/or 25% post consumer recycled content and are low emitting.

The home has an impressive Air Changes per Hour at 1.4 with a HERS index rating of 51 making it 49% more energy efficient. Native/drought tolerant landscaping made up about 60% of the added landscape and veggie garden raised beds give the ability to grow local food.

GreenStar Homes Points 

  • Energy 170
  • Materials 105
  • Health 106
  • Water 38
  • Place 83
  • Total 502

SIZE: 2,400 square feet

PROJECT TYPE: Single Family- New Construction

DESIGNER/ARCHITECT:

Coda Design + Build
600 Waukegan Rd. Suite 129, Northbrook, IL 60062
847-920-9700
www.codadb.com
Providing the Chicago Metropolitan area unprecedented residential real estate consultation, design services, construction services and home concierge services.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coda-Design-Build/190749694435922
Houzz: http://www.houzz.com/coda-design-build

Michigan’s First GreenStar Gold Certified New Home

Marsha Traxler Reeves and John Reeves, Homeowners

During the time when Marsha & John Reeves were in the market for a new home after deciding to move from the Ann Arbor region, they happened upon a green home educational session put on by the SE region’s sustainability design expert, Michael Klement. There were sold from there.

According to my teachers, the two primary guidelines for being a good person in the Anishinaabe world are: 1. Don’t take more than you need, and 2. Don’t waste. Since I am always working to be a good person, it was essential to follow these guidelines in building a house. Green building helps people to avoid taking more than they need and to avoid waste as much as possible. We are blessed in this part of the world to have people with a great deal of knowledge and experience in green building, so the choice to build ‘green’ was easy.” – Marsha Traxler Reeves, Homeowner

It was no surprise that when choosing to move to Newaygo, the Reeves contacted Vos Energy Concepts, a small residential construction company in Rockford that only commits to building green homes. The home the Reeves wanted to build was no ordinary new home. It was to be located in the Manistee National Forest on acreage connected to the beautiful Muskegon River – and the goal was preservation. The project removed neither heritage nor important trees from the site. Dan Vos, a builder from Vos Energy Concepts says: “Small tree logs from the land were split in half, left with bark, and were placed inside between the window frames. Support posts for the patios and entrance roof on the home are logs also from the property.” In addition, rainwater will be captured on site with rain barrels. The water will be used to water the medicinal plants that grow around the house along with the gardens. The gardens are not conventional, rather, they follow the practice of huglekultur. Huglekultur is an alternative type of raised bed garden system that stays fertilized and moist from a decaying log planted underneath it. Any unused rainwater, because it comes off a food-grade metal roof, will not harm the local aquifer as it immediately goes back into the ground.

Stove ReevesInside the house you will get a sense of biophilliac design elements including use of tree branches, natural shapes, and ample interior natural lighting which provides views of the natural world outside. Many of the materials, finishes, trims, and cabinets were locally made using regionally sourced or reused materials. As the Vos Energy Concepts website states, “Old School chalkboards were up-cycled, cut to size, polished, and placed as the window sills. Small tree branches standing up, stripped, and finished placed throughout the home are used for hanging scarves, wet gloves, coats, baskets, towels, and whatever else needs a place. A local artist, Kendra McKimmy, put together a design of a tree from the shore of Lake Superior. Stones collected by the homeowner and artist were used in the making of this beautiful tree that is located on the bathroom curved wall facing the soaking tub.”

Loft view 10:14

View from the Loft

“I believe that there are finite resources for all of mankind. So to be a steward of resources becomes a requirement for all of us. I have 11 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren that are counting on those of us in the decision process today to make responsible choices in the use of our finite resources. Building green is one of those responsible choices. ” – John Reeves, Homeowner

From an energy standpoint, this home rated at a HERS index of 16 which makes it 84% more energy efficient than the standard built-to-code home. The HERS index score comes from local Energy Rater, John Kuyper, who reviewed all of the components and mechanicals of the home to accurately project it’s efficiency. The super tight and efficient concrete foam shell of the home sits on insulated concrete floors which retain the heat of the sun in the winter. Above the home, the attic is insulated and air-sealed with a reflective metal roof to keep down the heat from the sun in the winter. All energy star appliances and LED lightbulbs are installed throughout and a Heat Recovery Ventilator keeps fresh air circulating in the house while avoiding a lot of heat loss during the winter. The home also utilizes a very high efficiency and sealed wood stove for cold winters and radiant floors in junction with a mini split air source heat pump powered by solar PV and hot water to keep the energy costs down and the homeowners comfortable.In addition to the fresh air, the air quality in the home is not diminished because the home only uses low- or no-VOC paints, primers, and sealants, as well as tiled bath surrounds that prevent interior mold growth behind the walls.

The Reeves joined Consumer’s EARP program and started generating electricity in November, 2013, but didn’t get a statement from them that included generating information until June, 2014.  Therefore, they only have information from 5/14/14 to 9/12/14, a third of the year and months with long days:

kWh generated 5/14/14 – 9/12/14:  3923

kWh used         5/14/14 – 9/12/14:   1737

2186  generated above used

They expect to achieve see Net Zero Energy but stay tuned!

The GreenStar process, while being fairly easy to utilize, was made easier by Dan Vos’s experience with building many LEED certified homes. The Reeves’ goals on this project did not align with LEED for Homes, but GreenStar certification made a lot of sense for them. While we approached this home using GreenStar in the middle of the construction period, the reviewers were still able to retain what they needed to verify the home’s completion. “Brett and the GreenHome Institute staff were wonderful to work with! They went far beyond my expectations in assisting us through the application and certification process. Their personal attention to the details of our needs was truly impressive,” said Marsha Traxler Reeves.

You can review all the greenstar details that went into this home here. 

Don’t miss the June 6th 2015 Tour – Continuing Education

Plaque & label

This home was designed and built by Dan Vos, Vos Energy Concepts.

ICF walls & slab work was done by Eldon Howe of Howe Construction

Energy Efficiency and Green Built features include:

-Hers score rating of 16.

-ICF walls-Concrete stained floors.

-Energy Star North star Triple pane windows.

-Solar hot water and Photovoltaic (PV) panels.

-High efficiency wood stove when needed.

-Radiant heat throughout the house.

-HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator)

-Mini Split Heat Pump that heats and cools the air.

-Insulated blinds for all windows, keeping the winter warmth in and coolness in the summer.

-Insulation under concrete floors.

-Energy star appliances.

-Metal roof.

-Stucco walls on outside of home, giving the homeowners little upkeep on outside.

-Energy star lightning LED throughout the entire house.

-Locally milled rough sawn wood planed by builder and used for floors in loft area, ceilings in bedroom area and also for countertops in bathrooms (Oak and Walnut).

-Tiled in bathrooms-backsplash areas, tub surround & walk-in shower.

-Hanging pendants lights, ceiling lights, and ceiling fans with LED bulbs purchased at the Habitat for Humanity Resore.

-Old school house chalkboards up-cycled for window sills.

-Barrier free design.