West Michigan Organizations Awarded LEED Homes Power Builders

availalbe-lake-michigan-cottageRecently two West Michigan Organizations were awarded the distinguishing “LEED Homes Power Builders Award by the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council). Through this award and others, the USGBC recognizes projects, architects, developers and home builders who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation in the residential green building marketplace.

The “LEED Homes Power Builders,” was developed by the USGBC to honor an elite group of developers and builders who have exhibited an outstanding commitment to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the green building movement within the residential sector. In order to be considered as a Power Builder, developers and builders must have LEED-certified 90 percent of their homes/unit count built in 2015 at any LEED certification level.

group (1)One of the great benefits of the LEED certification process is that it can apply to very different projects types. As you will see with the two organizations recognized, LEED certification has important benefits to low-income houses in urban settings to higher end homes in remote settings. Both organizations benefit from using the LEED certification process to add validation to their building efforts and to ensure the homeowner is getting a quality built efficient home.

Cottage Home based of out Holland and Habitat for Humanity of Kent County were the two West Michigan recipients honored with the recognition of Power Builders. While they are in different segments of the development and remodeling of homes in West Michigan, both are setting the standard for sustainable building practices.

house_constructionHabitat for Humanity of Kent County  is on their way to completing 150 homes and counting in the Kent County/Grand Rapids area that has achieved some level of LEED Certification.  Corri Sandwick Home Performance Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County stated that the organization started seeking LEED Certifications in 2006 and by 2007 all new homes built were LEED Certified.

Recently, they have been one of the first builders committed to building according to the new and more stringent LEED v4 criteria even before it had been fully finalized. Sandwick said it started in partnership with Grand Rapids Community College Residential Construction Program in celebration of their 100th anniversary. The two organizations decided to try a v4 build. Once they accomplished that build, Habitat Kent decided to build all future homes to the same criteria knowing it would soon be the standard. To date, Habitat Kent has completed 10 LEED v4 certified homes.

Habitat Kent has aggressive goals in the future both related to  LEED but also participates in programs such as Energy Star.  Habitat Kent is also considering the benefits of getting involved in Zero Energy Ready and the EPA’s Water Sense Program. Building homes that are sustainable just make sense for Habitat Kent. It sets homeowners up for success, keeps costs down for homeowners and aligns with Habitat Kent’s partner organizations’ principles. Habitat Kent states that by being wise about green building, they include only what will be most beneficial to families. This creates a healthful environment and drastically reduces energy and water use, saving Habitat Kent homeowners thousands of dollars. For a family of four living on $30,000 a year, reducing their utility bills to an average $105 a month goes a long way in helping them be successful in their home.

beach-house-south-haven-300x199Cottage Home based out of Holland is the other recipient of this prestigious title. According to Jeremy Vaneyk construction manager, they started building based on LEED criteria in 2008 and to date have built 100 sustainable homes along the lakeshore. Vaneyk also said that 31 homes have achieved a LEED certification with 13 of those homes being Platinum certified. Building sustainably is very important to Cottage Home. Both Vaneyk along with Founder Brian Bosgraff both live in LEED Certified homes and can use their experience as builders and homeowners to help their clients. Cottage Home strongly believes it is their responsibility to build with the environment in mind. The LEED certification process provides their clients with a validation that their home is being built to some of the most stringent standards. LEED certification is one of the many tools they use to build focusing on air quality, energy efficiency and site preservation as a core foundation of the build. It is much more than a certification process to Cottage Home but more of a business philosophy.

IMG_2506 (1)Both Cottage Home and Habitat for Humanity of Kent County are equally passionate about green building and both use the LEED Certification process to set the bar for sustainable building in West Michigan. Their business while different in many regards is also very similar in others. They both show a strong desire to build with the environment in mind and factoring in their homeowners wants and needs.

LEED has become the world’s most recognized rating system for green buildings. The LEED for Homes rating system was created as a way for single-family homes and multifamily buildings to achieve LEED certification. LEED for Homes projects undergo a technically rigorous process to become certified, including multiple on-site inspections and diagnostic tests. According to Green Home Builder, more than 230,000 single family and multifamily units are certified or registered. USGBC is working to make the LEED residential program even more accessible and utilized by builders, developers, and architects. LEED v4, the latest version, will be required for new projects certifying after October 2016. USGBC’s recent Green Building Economic Impact Study found that the residential green construction market is expected to grow from $55 million in 2015 to $100.4 million in 2018, representing a year-over-year growth of 24.5 percent.

Get your next LEED for Homes project started or find more educational resources at the greenhomeinstitute.org/leed-for-homes/

Grand Teton Eco-Smart Home goes LEED Platinum & Zero Energy Capable in IL

New Habitat Home Positioned to Receive LEED v4 Certification

IMG_9796[9]Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, a long time partner but new member of the institute, hopes to complete its first LEED for Homes v4 certified home in the spring of 2015. In fact, this home is positioned to be the first LEED v4 home in Michigan.

Introduced a year ago, LEED v4 is the newest version of the popular internationally accepted accreditation program, offering new categories (such as human health and natural resources), time-saving support tools and enhanced opportunities for building performance management.

Located at Oakland Ave. SW, Habitat Kent’s newest project is part of the Grand Rapids Community College 100th anniversary build. The majority of the home will be built by students studying green construction in the GRCC Tassell M-Tec program. This home, which started in August, is one of three homes that M-Tec students will partner with Habitat Kent to build this year.

IMG_9787[9]The home will have features to reduce its carbon footprint. Special attention to detail at each step of the construction process has been performed with the students on site, including:

  • Cutting-edge water heater designed to improve efficiency through a closed combustion system that pulls fresh combustion air in from the outside – eliminating the need for a fresh air intake
  • Extremely tight and well-insulated house envelope to save in heating costs
  • Additional testing measures, including pre-drywall, infra-red camera testing and blower door tests, to help ensure quality of the thermal envelope

The GRCC students have been eager to learn about sustainable design and the LEED for Homes program. Working on this house provides them the opportunity to understand efficient building practices that go beyond a typical code built home.

“We purposefully chose a GRCC build to be our first LEED v4 home because of the commitment of the GRCC M-TEC programs to sustainable building practices,” said Brandyn Deckinga, Habitat Kent project manager. “As with any LEED-certified building, the partnership with all trade contractors, material suppliers, energy raters and others is vital in the overall success of the build.”

Jamison Lenz, GHI program manager has been working with the students to meet the LEED V4 train the trades requirements and helping them understand many components of a LEED home through on site and classroom education.

To keep up to date with the build, connect with Habitat Kent on Facebook.

West MI Home Nears Zero Energy – One Thing Missing

Sumac Grove

Sumac Grove

We reached back out to Sam Pobst to take a look at his LEED Platinum home and he sent us his latest utility bills of energy use vs energy produced. You can review it here.

What we found was that from Aug 13 – Aug 14 he had roughly used about 3,000 KWHe (heating and cooling) of energy over what he produced.

“In our original energy model we had included a solar hot water collector which we never installed.  This would have generated about 10% of our total energy requirements for the home, and put us slightly energy positive.  I hope to install it one day, but it is not in the budget yet,” says Sam.

We also asked Sam to talk a little bit about the ROI versus a conventional home built in Michigan. He says, “The ROI with all of the technology we implemented I estimate at about seven years.  The PV has a payback of three years largely because of the EARP grant, the tax credit, and my labor to install it.  The cost premium for the Serious 925 windows over a standard Energy Star window is less than two years.”

EARP or Experimental Advanced Renewable Program is a program from consumers energy where homeowner’s and business owners can be selected to receive almost double the going rate for the electricity sold to the grid.

“I have somewhere around $20,000 invested in the insulation and sealing of the building envelope.  I can’t say what the payback on this is because I don’t know what the baseline cost would be for code built construction.  This includes all of the insulation, extra framing, and the extra plywood sheathing.  Assuming a code built home with 2×6 construction, a quarter of the insulation, and OSB sheathing, would cost at least half this much, I estimate that the payback is around ten years for this.  This payback continues for the life of the home which I estimate to be around 200 years if well maintained,” remarks Sam.

Sam’s home was a targeted passive house but he never made it. Below he details how he surpassed some areas of the program but not in others.

He says, “While we did not meet the heat demand requirements, we more than met the air infiltration requirements, and we devastated the actual primary energy demand by over half.”

                                                    Required                  Actual

Heat demand                           4.75                             6.47

Pressure result                         0.6 ACH50                0.44 ACH50

Primary Energy Demand    38 kBTU/ft2yr            17.5 kBTU/ft2yr

“Based on these metrics, and what I heard at the last PH conference, a restructuring of the organizing principles of PH to weigh these three critical PH components to arrive at a score make more sense,” says Sam.

Catch a video about Sam’s project from start to finish, review the profile, and stay tuned to learn if Sam goes Net Positive.

126 Apartments LEED Gold Certified in East Lansing

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

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

 

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

YouthBuild Akron Ohio LEED Platinum Rehab

Akron Summit Community Action, Inc. (Akron YouthBuild) partnered with Saint-Gobain through the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation with support from the Saint-Gobain family of companies, to complete a green renovation at 887 Garfield Street in PIC of house - afterAkron, OH.  Saint-Gobain was founded in 1665 to manufacture glass for the Palace of Versailles in Paris, France. They are the Worlds largest building materials company. Recognized as a 2009 & 2010 Energy Star partner of the year by the US EPA, Saint-Gobain earned the 2011, 2012, & 2013 Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award, the highest level of recognition for outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. The YouthBuild program started in 1978 in East Harlem, New York. The program concentrates on youths aged 16-24 who work full-time for 6-24 months while working toward their GED’s or High School Diplomas while at the same time learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities.

The Garfield Project is the first YouthBuild Akron home to achieve the prestigious LEED Platinum certification.  Saint-Gobain and its family of companies have donated a range of building materials and many hours of on-site support from CertainTeed Building Scientists to complete the green home renovation. The homGarfield House - in progresse features a heat recovery system and very efficient CertaSpray Closed Cell Foam Insulation which contribute to its energy efficiency. The home received a HERS score of 65 meaning that it is 35% more efficient than other comparable homes. In addition to energy efficiency measures the home incorporates several landscaping features that reduce it’s irrigation needs. For example, drought tolerant plants were installed along with a slow-growing grass that needs no fertilizers, little mowing, and relatively little water. The home harvests rainwater from its roof. These aspects have accumulated a 59% water reduction due to the sites landscape architecture alone. 

CertainTeed (an affiliate of Saint-Gobain) donated many of the building materials. These materials contributed significantly to the overall efficiency and sustainability of the home. Grenite Engineered Stone Countertop’s were used and constructed with up to Garfield House - After 185% post-consumer recycled content. Air-Renew Gypsum Board boasts industry only technology that removes VOC’s from the air and converts them into safe inert compounds, once they are captured in the board they cannot be released into the air. This Gypsum Board also aids in the reduction of moisture and mold. On the rooftop, LandMark Solaris – Solar Reflecting Roofing Shingles were utilized. They reflect the suns rays and reduce roof temperatures up to 20%.

Garfield House - Label

 

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Press Release

Video – Garfield Project

Saint-Gobain & YouthBuild Akron (Garfield House) – PDF

The Landschute Group: New Home Gold

Landschute Group, LLC

This MN GreenStar (Gold), Minnesota Green Path (Master certification), LEED for Homes (Platinum certification) home designed and built by The Landschute Group embodies all that Don and Barbara Shelby have looked for in their dream home: Barbara’s love of warm, cozy, cottage architecture mixed with Don’s passion for sustainability and cutting-edge construction. For more than thirty years, Landschute has built homes that infuse new construction technology with a warm, rich architecture – but never to this level. In fact, at the time, no other home in the country had earned this triple certification. Landschute was able to effectively respond to key sustainability issues such as water management, insulation, energy reduction, material reuse, and indoor air quality.

With over 165 attributes contributing to make this a sustainable home, there are too many to list here. Some of the project highlights are listed below.

  • Many materials were reused such as wood from the building previously on the site, reclaimed Douglas Fir flooring, recycled roofing (90% recycled plastics and tires), and reclaimed doors and hardware.
  • A water management system includes a 3,000 rainwater collection cistern to irrigate plant beds (made of native, drought-tolerant species), a permeable paver driveway and walkway (providing an additional 3,500 gallons of water storage), and an interior graywater system.
  • Natural temperature control includes using triple-pane windows, spray foam insulation to achieve higher R-values, LED lighting options, ground-source heat pumps, and a 5.5 kW solar array.
  • To improve indoor air quality, materials contained no added urea-formaldehyde (UF) and VOCs were kept to a minimum by using No-VOC finishes. For example, the floor was finished with vegetable oil based floor finish that is a No-VOC product.
Landschute Group, LLC
Landschute Group, LLCLandschute Group, LLC

For more information, please visit http://www.landschute.com.

Lake Country Builders: New Home Gold

New Home Gold
Lake Country Cottage

The goal of the project was to construct a home in the Linden Hills neighborhood that would be both respectful of the neighbors living space, that would be architecturally fitting and pleasing to the community and that would be sustainable construction.  We wanted to reuse the existing foundation.  Additions are a front porch and a screen porch/ mudroom on footings and an office sunroom with foundation below.   We wanted to stay within a compact a floor plan while creating open light filled spaces that would work for a young family as well as empty nesters and anywhere in between!

The MN GreenStar GOLD certified Lake Country Cottage was designed to be as beautiful as it is energy efficient. The existing home was hand deconstructed by DemoGreen to reuse and recycle materials. The home features a metal roof, Hardie® siding, Marvin windows, geo-thermal heating and cooling, water conserving fixtures and Energy Star appliances. We incorporated recycled materials, local quarried stone, FSC wood and Marmoleum flooring, FSC and formaldehyde-free cabinets and low VOC water based finishes. The Greenscape includes native, drought tolerant plants and a rain garden, irrigated by a rainwater captured drip irrigation system.

By Sue & Pete Jacobson, Lake Country Builders

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

Rinnovare Inc./Acacia Architects: Remodel Type III Gold

Remodel Gold III

Rinnovare/Acacia Kitchen
Photo by Dana Wheelock

Empty Nesters

This small rambler was a great find – to the right couple. Only modestly modified since its original construction, this home had good bones, a great location that abutted a marsh and was ripe for an extensive renovation.

The customer and Acacia Architects spent a significant amount of time and effort specifically designing the home to meet their needs as well as to achieve at least a Silver Certification from MN GreenStar. Nearly a year later, the project was complete and exceeded customer’s expectations of achieving a Gold certification within budgetary guidelines.

Rinnovare, now working on its 2nd MN GreenStar remodel, provided a smooth and well planned project to insure green planning through documentation was executed in the most efficient manner. From deconstruction services to reuse as much of the old cabinetry and woodwork to asbestos abatement to radon mitigation, zoned heating and tankless water heating, the project was truly green. Finishes were deliberately all low VOC and surprisingly, after construction and the client moved in, the house was without that typically noticeable “new car smell” of chemicals off gassing. The project was completed with an exceptional landscape design which will minimize water needed for irrigation.

This project exemplified the standards of holistic green building and will be a showpiece for the client for years to come.

By Mike Williams, Rinnovare Inc.

For more information on this project visit www.rinnovareinc.com and www.acaciaarchitects.com.

Design Forty Five LLC – Lake Of The Isles Project: Remodel Type IV Gold

Remodel Gold IV

2002 w. Lake of the Isles Parkway, Minneapolis, MN

Having been well preserved for nearly 70 years, this 1899 home, overlooking a lake in the heart of the city, was looking for a fresh 21st century update. While the owners loved the house, they saw lots of potential to make things just perfect.

The whole-house renovation features a super-green design for modern living balanced with a strong respect for the history and character of the home. All of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are new. All siding and sheathing was removed and replaced, allowing new foam insulation to be applied from the exterior, thus preserving select interior finishes.

Almost all of the spaces in the house were remodeled in some way—taking a great house and making it better.

Two existing areas received special focus: the kitchen and central stair. The owners are gourmet chefs who do a lot of entertaining. A small but strategic kitchen addition allows an expanded and modernized kitchen with every amenity and expansive views of the lake and side yard. A new southeast-facing breakfast nook provides a cozy alternative to the remodeled historic dining room.

The existing central stair was very tight and awkward in places. To create a spacious and beautiful new stair, the center of the home
was demolished, roof reframed and center hall topped with a large skylight spilling light all the way down to the main floor.

A new outbuilding was constructed to house the owner’s workshop and a new 2-car garage. This “carriage house,” which is designed to echo the historic proportions and detailing of the main house, is linked to the house through a tunnel beneath the yard.

A welcoming, open front porch was built with lake views and a low-slope green roof.

Green Strategies:

The project earned Gold-level MN GreenStar certification by employing dozens of sustainable strategies, including:

• On Site Energy. 13 wells beneath the garden provide highly efficient geothermal heating and cooling, and a 2.2 kilowatt rooftop solar array offsets electrical loads.

• Energy efficiency. The building envelope was made airtight and reinsulated to Energy Star levels; all windows are reconditioned or new.

• Resource efficiency. Advanced framing techniques reduce lumber required. All lumber used is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

• Healthy Air. Energy Recovery Ventilator provides fresh air exchange while saving energy. Low/No VOC paints throughout. Radon capture system installed beneath basement slab. New cladding with rainscreen detailing helps prevents mold from moisture intrusion.

• Site & Community. Green roofs capture rainwater on site while reducing heating/cooling loads. All material reused if possible; all possible construction waste was recycled, including concrete, wood, and asphalt shingles

To learn more about this project and Design Forty Five please visit us at www.designfortyfive.com.