Matchbox House LEED Platinum Certified – Ann Arbor

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

2216 Hickman Ann Arbor, Michigan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Features:

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

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

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

Feature in Architect Lab’s Online Magazine

2216 Hickman (Matchbox House) Project Profile

 

Matchbox House Certificate

Webinar: Journey to Almost Passive House & LEED Platinum Near-Zero Home

Finally it is here – after 2 years of filming and a big thanks to four Grand Valley State University Interns, 2 hours of video detailed in over 10 sections on the how and why of LEED for Homes and Passive House construction specifically to Sam Pobst’s home.

Sumac Grove Pobst Residence LEED Platinum Home

Sam and some of the other high performance building professionals take us through many aspects: site selection/design, insulation, heating and cooling, passive building, water efficiency and renewable energy. 

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

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

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

This must have cost millions right? 

“We spent $167.00/Square Foot, but if you add in O+P, design fees, and my sweat equity, I estimate about a $200/Square Foot cost to construct.” – Sam Pobst

•         Gross Square Feet                         2010

•         Basement Square Feet                851

•         Conditioned Square Feet           2547

•         Garage / Workshop                      621

•         $167/Square Foot  Hard Cost

•         $200/ Square Foot Buildable Cost

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

Objectives

  1. Gain a basic understanding of the Passive House (PH) design standards for homes and products or technologies are needed to achieve it.
  2. Discriminate between LEED, Net Zero, universal design and Passive House objectives and how they interact.
  3. Learn about behind the wall thermal envelope strategies for a super tight and insulated home.
  4. Identify costs, ROI and payback on high performance home LEED projects

Continuing Education

  • 2 GBCI – LEED Specific
  • 2 AIA – LU|HSW
  • 2 MI Contractor (Code & Green)
  • 2 MI Architect
  • If you need continuing education units for a license in another state, this course may apply. Please consult your state’s requirements.

Project utility data update and ROI data

These webinars are free to review. If you are interested in continuing education credits, you must follow the following steps:

1. Read the info above, watch the webinars for FREE and check out the Project Profile.

2. Take the 13 question 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 if this is not taken as part of our GreenHome Associates series to get your certificate and CEUs. You must be a member to pay the reduced member fee.


Webinar Pricing



Further Resources 

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

  • Sumac Grove certificateRecorded 1 Hour Webinar on the entire project – 1 AIA/GBCI 
  •  2 Hour GBCI approved Film Series documenting the project from start to post occupancy informed can be seen here for free

Northbrook IL to get first LEED Platinum home

NW Exterior View - Northbrook LEED

City incentive to bring 40% permit fee rebate
Preliminary Platinum LEED Rating
HERS Rating 40 (without PV)
Built to exceed Energy Star standards
21st Century Craftsman

“When we first started thinking about building our own home we knew we

wanted one that would be energy efficient, healthy and representative of our family. We appreciate the style and local history of Craftsman architecture, but also wanted modern touches like an open-concept floor plan, in‐home technology and environmentally friendly building techniques and products,” said future owners Aaron and Jenny Stash.

Enter Architect Michael Kollman and his company SmartHaus who will begin construction on the home in Northbrook this spring.  The custom, high-performance home is being designed and built to a LEED for Homes Platinum rating,

the highest rating given to homes when certified by the US Green Building Council. LEED homes are built to be energy efficient and environmentally responsible and are rated for health, comfort and durability by a rigorous third party review process.

SW Exterior View - Northbrook LEED

Why LEED for Homes?

“Why not?  The long term benefits of building an energy efficient, healthy home far outweigh the incremental upfront costs. Studies suggest the initial construction cost of a home represents only 11% of a building’s total cost of ownership. Beyond financials, the benefits to our family and our community are immense. If that weren’t enough, the Village of Northbrook’s forward-thinking  Green Building Initiative ordinance made the decision even easier.”

Homes that are LEED-certified measure a home’s performance based on eight categories: site selection, water efficiency, materials & resources, energy & atmosphere, indoor environmental quality, location & linkages, awareness & education, and innovation. A home that achieves LEED certification has been designed to maximize fresh air indoors, minimizing exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants, and in our case uses 45% less energy– than a home built to the International Energy Code Council’s (IECC) 2012 code in Illinois.

Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits

Less energy use means lower utility bills every month throughout the life of the house. Beyond energy efficiency, achieving LEED certification is a mark of leadership in green homebuilding, clearly differentiating a home as among the best in the country. LEED is like the nutrition label that demonstrates in measurable terms how a home incorporates efficient features, healthy indoor air quality and environmentally friendly construction practices with the added assurance that the final product has been third party-verified and performance tested.

“This is our future. The jump in technology and science over the last few years has been incredible.  We can accurately predict how a home will heat and cool and maintain healthy indoor environments utilizing very simple concepts and applications.  Homes can be fine tuned to take advantage of site features, owner’s preferences and budget. We can design and build homes today that can produce as much energy as they need to operate.  That goes for deep energy retrofits on existing homes as well.  There are financial incentives in place to help defray some of the costs of emerging technologies as well.”  Architect Michael Kollman says.

The house has been laid out to take maximum advantage of both passive and active solar energy, natural ventilation, low impact and recyclable materials, high efficiency lighting and controls, in a structure that is very simple and economical to build. “Every material and system has been studied in terms of its environmental impact and life cycle costs.”

The envelope of the house is designed to require a minimum amount of energy in order to live and use the home based on the lifestyle of the occupants.

The home will have an innovative HVAC system that has been recently developed by engineers from the University of Illinois which uses considerably less energy than a conventional heating and cooling system and provides extremely high indoor air quality utilizing a CERV (conditioned energy recovery ventilation system) combined with a cost effective installation.

The home has been reviewed by and has been given a preliminary Platinum rating, if you are interested in learning more about the SmartHaus, check it out at www.smarthaus.org

Greenest Home in West Michigan Certifies LEED Platinum

LEED Snapshot Main Photo

1 Hour Recorded Webinar Available Now – 1 AIA/GBCI

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

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

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

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

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

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

This must have cost millions right? 

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

•         Gross SF                                            2010

•         Basement SF                                    851

•         Conditioned SF                               2547

•         Garage / Workshop                      621

•         $167/SF  Hard cost

•         $200/ SF Buildable cost

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

 PDF Project Profile Details 

Further Resources 

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

  • Sumac Grove certificateRecorded 1 Hour Webinar on the entire project – 1 AIA/GBCI 
  • Sign up for our mailing list  to stay informed on Spring 2013 Tours. Potential GBCI Credit

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

 

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.

Ann Arbor Rehab, Green Building, Green Business

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

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

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.

Real numbers for a LEED for Homes Indiana Success Story

The Gulyas residence in Bloomington, Indiana was one of the first homes in Indiana to receive LEED for Homes Platinum certification.  Through the use of passive house techniques and additional sustainable design strategies this project easily met and surpassed the criteria for LEED. 

A home energy metric measuring energy per square foot calculation and spreadsheet was created by Allison Bailes III, PhD, to help effectively measure electric and gas usage in a house.  used this spreadsheet on this project to help get an idea of how efficient the Gulyas residence is.  The number of kilowatt hours per year for electric (no gas is used) at the Gulyas residence is 6,675, which averages to 556.25 kilowatt hours per month.  The cost per year in 2011 was $960.07, averaging to $80.011 per month for all energy heating, cooling & electricity.  The spreadsheet also contains a helpful key which describes the efficiency of the house in terms of kilowatt hour per square foot per year.  Anything less than 5 is considered “super-efficient” and anything above 20 is considered an “energy hog.”  The Gulyas residence uses 4 kilowatt hours per square foot per year, describing it as super-efficient.  Click here for Gulyas’ actual electric bill for the past two years.

In terms of water use, contacted the City of Bloomington Utilities Department to find out the average water use per household in the city.  Each person uses approximately 2,500 gallons of water per month, which equals 2.5 units (1,000 gallons equals 1 unit).  This means that the average 2-person household uses 5 units of water per month, which is substantially higher than the Gulyas residence, which uses approximately 2 water units per month.  Click here to view the Gulyas residence water bill for the past two years.

The Gulyas house is still a work in progress.  Gulyas prioritized energy conservation technologies in the envelope design of the house, and integrated a separate ducted ERV system for exceptional air quality and energy conservation.  He also plans to install a low voltage cable lighting system throughout the open areas of the house, which will have high output 12v LED mr16s.  The new products have a very high color rendition index (CRI) in a variety of color temperatures, making it realistic to create very high quality lighting design while using a fraction of the energy of halogen (8-9 watts per lamp would be used as opposed to 50 watts).  Gulyas would also like to implement rainwater harvesting system, as well as a photovoltaic and/or solar thermal system. 

In summary, the statistics regarding the Gulyas residence are impressive.  He has implemented a variety of energy saving approaches and is looking toward the future to implement additional technologies to create a home that is even more efficient.  Stay tuned to find out what new developments take place as the Gulyas house progresses.

Read more on the project profile here.

 

Despite Heat & Drought, Michigan LEED Platinum Home Stays Cool & Refreshed

“We installed our original cooling system in July 2010 and it has worked reasonably well, but over the last few weeks we’ve had a hot spell with daytime temperatures mostly in the upper 90’s and well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a few days. That’s normal in some parts of the world but in Michigan, we consider that HOT! Over two weeks of unusually hot weather the house reached 77 degrees at the warmest point when it was 105 outside, which is actually pretty good since we’re cooling the entire house for about 30 cents per day….The Systems total cooling capacity is very small however, so it is practical only because our total cooling load is very small due to the extreme level of insulation in the house, because our south-facing windows have carefully designed overhangs that block direct sun in mid summer, and because we use very efficient appliances that add very little additional heat to the house.

“Since we’ve had a hot, dry spell for the last 4 weeks we have been using a lot of cistern water for the gardens, and we’re down to about 36 inches or 4,300 gallons, out of a total capacity of 12,000 gallons. Hopefully we’ll get some significant rain soon to replenish our irrigation water supply, but we can refill it from the well if necessary.” – Jay & Liz McClellan.

Learn more at

http://www.brainright.com/OurHouse/Construction/CoolingSystem/enhanced.shtml