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.

 

Mission Zero Home: A Greenstar Gold Remodel & CE Webinar

While sitting in his living room, spending the day documenting his home to verify all the measures and requirements for GreenStar, I showed Matt Grocoff the GreenStar checklist tool and manual to give him an idea of what was needed for his project. After looking through it, his immediate response was, “I Certificatewish I would have known about this when I started.”

Back in 2010, Matt began a journey. He purchased a 110 year old home in Ann Arbor, MI that has led him on the international road promoting net-positive homes and buildings. When he bought the home, he reviewed the LEED for Homes program but decided against it. He found it to be too invasive for what he wanted and could afford to do to his existing home. Matt, in partnership with Meadowlark, was a pioneer in the world of Green Home deep energy retrofits in the Midwest and has helped influence what can and should be done to bring an existing home to net zero energy.
Despite lacking a good tool (like LEED or GreenStar), Matt and his family persisted on with the renovation. First they underwent a home energy assessment utilizing the HERS index. The results were off the charts – far above 100. “From there we needed to work backwards. Using the PV watts calculator, we determined we could get roughly 9,000 kwh of solar given size of our roof and available technology. For 9,000 kwh to be sufficient, we realized we needed to improve the home’s HVAC, insulation, air sealing, appliances, lighting and other areas to get us down to that level without sacrificing comfort or a normal lifestyle,” Matt explained. Through the detailed but simple measures listed below, Matt’s home is a proven Net Zero home – even while driving a Chevy Volt and charging it at home! They plan to add a little more PV so that they can update their vehicle to a Tesla and still remain net zero.

America's Oldest Net Zero House color corrected v.2One thing that I learned while sitting down with Matt and discussing the push back to an all-electric home is the claim that it’s a waste because of electric line loss of up to 10% energy. Most utilities and even the HERS score incentivize the use of Natural Gas. Matt enlightened me to a partnership between Google and the Natural Resource Defense Council that is utilizing Google vehicles to show major natural gas leaks in gas lines all over the country. These leaks are not accounted for in line loss of energy, while electric is.

Beyond energy, Matt and his family were inspired by the Living Building Challenge (which they are pursuing) and are now, in partnership with U of M Blue Lab Engineering and a Ford Foundation Grant, exploring Net Zero water. The goal is to be able to design a system that captures 100% of rainwater off the roof, stores the water, and cleans it to potable and non-potable standards. The final step would be attaining approval by the municipality to install the system. One interesting challenge the Grocoffs must overcome is that their asphalt shingle roof has been proven to contaminate runoff water toxins such as lead. These toxins are very expensive to remove. However, the cost to seal the existing shingles or replace the shingles may prove cheaper in the long run than maintaining a clogged water filtration system. Another element that Matt and his family are working on is to prevent 100% of the home’s storm water from getting into the city sewer. This could be done partly by capturing water from the roof, partly by adding rain gardens. The most unique idea is a partnership with the city that would replace the sidewalks in front of the house with a system that will direct rainwater from the sidewalk to his rain gardens. If it works, replacing sidewalks this way could model in Ann Arbor and in other cities around the country how to reduce the expense and pollution caused by run off and storm water.

Why water?

Even though we live near the Great Lakes and have access to more water than we need, it’s no secret that quality and quantity of water is diminishing. “While all the news media was going on about California this year, much of Michigan was experiencing a major drought and lack of underwater aquifers. It’s important that we have deeper conversations about water in our state and how to protect it through simple things we can to do our buildings,” says Matt.

Because of Matt’s diligence during the renovation process, his home was easily back certified to GreenStar standards. He blew the gold standard “out of the water.” explained Brett Little. We also are grateful to work with him to develop recommendations for existing homeowners using the GreenStar tool to achieve our new zero energy certification. We are very excited to award Matt and the Mission Zero Home with the GreenStar Gold Type 1 Remodel Certification and to induct him before anyone else into our Zero Hero Hall of Fame. We will be monitoring Matt’s house and following his case study as he supplies us with Return on Investment, future energy use, water use, indoor air quality testing data, and other interesting aspects as he continues to do more to his home.

Net Zero VerificationLearn more

Free Webinar worth 1 hour of continuing education – GBCI, AIA (HSW), NARI Green & LFA and review utility data. More here.

Ingredients Label Mission Zero

 

 

 

 

 

Project Details

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 2

Living Space: 1300 sq. ft.

2,600 sq. ft. of conditioned space

General Contractor: Matt Grocoff, Thrive Net Zero Consulting

Whole-House Performance Contractor: Meadowlark Energy

Greenstar checklist submittal with full details on the home.

Website: Happy Home How! http://www.happyhome.how/

 

Energy

Attic Insulation/Air Sealing: R-30Demilec Sealection 500

Wall Insulation: R-13 Farmers dense-packed cellulose insulation

Rim Band Joist: Air sealed and insulated

Windows: Trapp low-e storms

Air Tightness: 4.75 ach50

Alternative Energy: SunPower 8.1 kW photovoltaic system

Heating/Cooling: 3-ton Water Furnace Envision

Window Restoration: Wood Window Repair Company

Lighting Controls: Watt stopper motion sensor light switches

Power Strips: Smart Strip Power Strips

Window Treatments: EcoSmart Insulated cellular shades

Water Heater: Geothermal + Air Heat pump

Dryer: Heat pump technology

Appliances: Induction Cooktop

HERS Index: 37

Residential Energy Performance Score: 61 (rated at 9,000 kwh/year)

 

Water Conservation

Toilets: Caroma Dual-Flush

Showerheads: Bricor 1 GPM (HET)

Faucets: Bricor .38 GPM!

Irrigation: Rain barrels (salvaged from St. Jullian’s Winery)

No Garbage Disposal

 

Health

Whole-House Ventilation: Ultimate Air ERV

Furnace Filter: MERV 8

Paints: Zero VOC – Benjamin Moore Aura, AFM Safecoat, Sherwin Williams Harmony

Floor Finish: Bioshield Hard oil #9

Molding Finish: Hock natural shellac

Bedding: NaturePedic mattress

Flooring: Mostly wood through out

Knob & Tube Wiring Removed

 

Materials

Salvaged Doors: Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Picture Frames: Urban Ashes

Salvaged Wood Stock: Urban Wood

Outbuilding: Chicken coop salvaged from neighbor’s playhouse

Carpet: Wool stair runners from G & K Flooring

Retained Existing home through minor remodel!

Perimeter plantings kept up to 24 inches away from the home.

Milwork, countertops, cabinets, trim, floors, and windows all refurbished and reused.

 

Site & Community

Conventional turf grass reduced

Home recycling and compost center

Walk Score – 70 +

Public transportation and biking is good

65% of undeveloped site is permeable

40% native / drought tolerant plantings

Rain gardens to stop storm water run off

*Some of this list was borrowed from Matt’s house being featured on Green Building Advisor.

Watch the on-demand webinar

Continuing Education – 1 CEU

  • GBCI
  • AIA (HSW)
  • Living Future (LFA)
  • NARI Green
  • Local & State Architect & Contractor (MI approved) 120422_LFA Logo

1.Watch the recording here

2.Access ppt slide handout

3. Take quiz below

4. Pay fee

JL Wageman Homes: New Home Bronze

MNGS New Home Bronze Logo

JL Wageman Homes

J.L. Wageman Homes, a true custom Builder, is now experienced in achieving the MN GreenStar standards with building of this certified home.  Planning from start to finish is the main key to incorporate the 5 elements of building green.  The energy efficiency of geothermal heating system, the resource efficiency of the reclaimed granite countertops in the kitchen and baths, indoor environmental quality of low voc paints and hard surface flooring, the water conservation using low flow toilets and faucets, rain gardens, and native plantings in the landscaping and the site and community impact of restored prairie lands and maintained excavated soil to reuse on site.  These are just a few of the highlights that makes this home energy efficient and durable now and being sustainable in the years to come.  Let J.L. Wageman Homes expertise work for you.

By Jerry Wageman, JL Wageman Homes

JL Wageman Homes - Fireplace  JL Wageman Homes - Kitchen

For more information on this project visit www.jlwagemanhomes.com.

Creek Hill Custom Homes: New Home Bronze

New Home Bronze
Creek Hill Custom Homes

When Rick and Adrienne Harrison contacted Michael Hillesheim of Creek Hill Custom Homes Inc. to build their new home according to MN GreenStar qualifications, Mike eagerly accepted the opportunity to learn more about “Green” building hands on.  Creek Hill Custom Homes has always built a great quality home for their buyer(s) but now the challenge was to build a home with respect to the future.

The building site/lot was formerly park land that had been used as a fill site.  Soil corrections were accomplished by using the soil on site.  The house was built with energy efficient walls.  A metal roof was used as well as other energy efficient fixtures and building materials.

Our subcontractors were made more aware of environmental impact and material conservation.  They have carried this awareness and conservation on into other new construction.  Our framers now use materials more efficiently and conservatively after building a MN GreenStar house.

The Harrison’s and Creek Hill Custom Homes Inc. are proud of the achievement of building a certified MN GreenStar home and contributing to a better future for everyone.

By Barb Fisher, Creek Hill Custom Homes

For more information on this project visit www.creekhillcustomhomes.com.

Lumber One Cold Spring: New Home Bronze

New Homes Bronze
Lumber One

I remember becoming very excited about the possibility of being included in the MN GreenStar pilot program.  Sustainability along with energy, water and resource conservation have always been a high priority for me and my family.  My background includes growing up on a farm in Southwestern Minnesota.  Learning how to best use natures resources was a high priority of my Dads.  I remember being proud of him when he was featured in a local farm paper for his soil conservation/preservation practices i.e. contour terraces to keep the soil from being washed into the local watershed.  Looking back he was well ahead of the EPA’s storm water programs.

My interest in science led me to St Cloud State University to study for a triple (comprehensive) major in biology, chemistry and physics.  Prior to working in the home building and remodeling business I taught chemistry, biology and physics.  While teaching I built my 2nd home utilizing advanced insulation techniques, one of the first 82% efficient furnaces along with one of the highest rated air conditioners being controlled by a set back thermos stat.

In 1982 I began my career as a new home salesperson with Lumber One Cold Spring.  Since then I have helped nearly 600 families build their dream homes.  From starter homes to executive homes to homes where families can age in place utilizing universal building techniques.

Working with everyone at MN GreenStar through out the planning, building and inspection and certification phases has been seamless.  I finished my home just in time for the Central Minnesota Spring Tour of Homes in the spring of 2008.  Since then I have had it open for the fall tour of 2008 and spring tour of 2009.  I have had approximately 3000 people thru the home.  When folks enter the home, I say welcome to my green built home.  I get two responses, that is why I am here or what do you mean?  A perfect opportunity to explain the complete process.  When asked how much the “green” features added, the universal response was wow, that is less than I expected.

Thanks again for the opportunity of working with MN GreenStar on my 3rd party certified home.  I look forward to utilizing as many of these concepts I can in all of my future custom built homes.

By Jim Green, Lumber One Cold Spring

For more information on this project visit www.lumber-one.com.

Pillar Homes: New Home Bronze

New Home Bronze
Pillar Homes

Pillar Homes goal was a stunning new retro house that takes you back to a nostalgic era with memories of family farms.  We wanted to purchase sustainable products, utilize energy saving systems and products, and minimize the footprint on the environment.  We created a home and separate out building that integrate together on the site creating a very inviting and usable relationship.

The exterior green parts of the home:

  • “Cool roof” (a galvanized aluminum roof)
  • An intensive long-term prairie restoration project
  • Rain garden for roof runoff
  • Vegetable and flower garden
  • Cement fiber board siding

Energy saving aspects are the geothermal heating and cooling system, closed cell insulation, off-peak utility service, light bulbs, dimmers, and the Warmboard radiant subfloor system with hot water integrated in it.  Radiant heat is also in the lower level.

The interior design is truly a showcase with a careful balance of the old mixed with new.  The interior product showcases are:

  • Reclaimed wood throughout:  Pine kitchen walls, antique Elm floors, fireplace mantles, fireplace doors, great room ceiling beams, and a suspended custom stairwell.
  • Hot water radiant floor heat on main and lower levels
  • Stained concrete floors in the lower level and main level
  • Cambria, Verazzo, Avonite, and Paperstone countertops
  • Enameled trim and MDF doors
  • Low VOC and no VOC paint
  • Master bedroom closet system with no urea formaldehyde

The end result gives our homeowner an updated nostalgic farm house reminiscent of the past with sustainable state-of-the-art products.  It is truly an environmentally smart building project.

By KC Chermak, Pillar Homes

For more information on this project visit www.pillarhomes.com.