ICCF Community Homes Initiative nets GreenStar Homes Renovation Certifications

Stephanie Gingerich of LINC UP achieves LEED Green Associates to help affordable housing

Congrats Stephanie Gingerich of Linc UP on passing her U.S. Green Building Council LEED Green Associates exam! Next? The LEED AP Homes! Through the GreenHome Institute Grand Rapids Green Affordable Housing program funded by the Wege Foundation we are providing training and capacity building to those in organizations serving low income and supportive housing in Grand Rapids, MI. We also are assisting in free or discounted green building certifications! If you are planning to serve or are serving those in need through housing in GR get at us! https://lnkd.in/emRtfj2

Consumers Energy boosts performance-based incentives and more, ready’s for zero!

Consumers Energy is offering some new rebates and incentives focused on performance-based energy reduction for new and existing commercial and mixed-use/multifamily as well as new single-family homes. For new and existing multifamily properties they are allowing some new pilot incentives for heat pump HVAC and water heaters.

For mixed-use multifamily & commercial, they have a new program that pays out to $150,000.00 and for single family new builds, they pay up to $2,000.00 per home! 

The mixed-use program is called their Zero Net Energy Companion Program but don’t let that scare you as it really is an energy reduction program with some requirements to get ready for solar in the future. It pays a $1.50 per square foot, more than twice their business incentives for projects that can ideally achieve 25 kbtu per square foot per year in your energy model at $.75 / square foot and the remaining $.75 will be paid out of a 12 month performance period showing actual results. Since some buildings are very unique so they are also allowing you to achieve this by instead being 40% better than the MI commercial energy code on new construction or major guts or 30% better on existing build upgrades. This incentive also covers the cost of LEED and/or Zero Energy certification program fees and requires early design planning, charrettes, energy modeling as well as commissioning after construction.

Learn more here or download the handout here! 

Keeler Design Charrette Meeting to discuss achieving CE ZNE program on a mixed use in Grand Rapids.

For Single Family and townhouses, consumers energy is offering $2,000 for achieving a HERS index of 56 or lower, obtaining energy star homes certification and having an all-electric HVAC system. If Geothermal is out of your price range that is ok! Air source heat pumps will get the job done and now work in cold climates as well as Heat Pump Water Heaters.  Learn more about the program.

For new and existing multifamily it is getting harder to comply with appropriate heat load calculations by using traditional forced air single-stage gas furnaces. Ducted or ductless air source heat pumps not only save a lot of energy but also comply with sizing requirements to make sure the system performance is at it’s peak. Not adding gas lines or venting also can save on costs as well as reduce air loss and pest entry. While heat pump water heaters steal heated air from inside our buildings they also dehumidify and are roughly 300% more efficient than traditional resistant water heaters. Most multifamily buildings have more issues with higher cooling loads than heating loads so heat pump water heaters help out with that in in the cooling season despite the small heat load they add in the winter. Our models are showing anywhere from $100 a year to $800 a year per unit in energy savings by switching from resistance to heat pump. As such, consumers is now recognizing this and adding custom rebates to help with the additional upfront cost of air source and hot water heat pumps!  Learn more here about rebates for multifamily and contact consumers on custom heat pumps for your project. 

We applaud consumers energy for helping lead the transition in making our buildings and homes more efficient and healthier! 

Whether you are doing mixed-use, multifamily or single family GHI is here to help you or connect you with someone who can help you get access to these incentives and make your project better! Get at us today Brett.Little@greenhomeinstitute.org 616-458-6733

435 LaGrave Apartments at Tapestry Square goes LEED Gold Certified

Well House LEED Gold Gut Rehab uses housing first model to help homeless

GreenHome Institute continues Green Affordable Housing Initiative after receiving Wege Foundation Grant.

GreenHome Institute continues Green Affordable Housing Initiative after receiving Wege Foundation Grant. 

Grand Rapids, MI February 2018

Thanks to a 2018 Wege Foundation Grant, the GreenHome Institute will continue working on the Grand Rapids Green Affordable Housing Initiative this year.

This program helps residential developers get access to education, training, resources, credentials, energy modeling and certification services to ensure that families have affordable utility costs and healthy living spaces.

The Wege grant allows the GreenHome Institute to be part of the solution to the affordable housing shortfall in the City of Grand Rapids. Spurring development in greener affordable housing projects will put more money in the pockets of people who need it, and reduce healthcare costs through healthier living spaces.

Affordable housing by definition means homes or apartments set aside for at least those making less than the area median income who may have trouble buying or renting with increased home values. Along with this, Grand Rapids recently announced some affordable housing initiatives that GHI will align with and support. The program also supports senior, veteran, homeless, youth and all supportive housing types.

“As part of the Keeler Flats I + II Development Team, we started working with GHI almost Two (2) years ago. It has been wonderful! We have learned how to couple affordable/workforce housing with energy modeling strategies for the benefit the tenants, our community and beyond. This is a social-economic victory and GHI should be commended for providing the education, inspiration, and empowerment. ” Jeffrey P. Dombrowski  Keeler Flats Development Team.

The program requires developers to follow a 3rd party green certification such as LEED for Homes, GreenStar, the DOE Home Energy Score or a few other valid programs. This helps gain them access to some types of incentives and ensures projects meet high-level water/energy efficiency and health standards.

“Well House began working with Green Home Institute a few years ago.  We started small, working to get our home scores improved and under the DOE Home Energy Score.  After completing many energy efficiency improvements to our homes, we decided to take on a full LEED renovation with help from Catalyst Partners and GHI.  It’s been a great experience.” Tami VandenBerg, Well House Executive Director.

GHI will be hosting green building introductory courses all year and working hands-on with developers along with funding their green certification costs.

Developers and those who are interested can learn more at greenhomeinstitute.org/grand-rapids-green-affordable-housing/

The GreenHome Institute is hosting a kick-off informational meeting at the Inner City Christian Federation located in the East Hills on March 1 from 6 to 8 pm.

About the GreenHome Institute

The GreenHome Institute is a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that has been around for 18 years with a mission to empower people to make healthier and more sustainable choices in the renovation and construction of places we live. They helped certify over 8,500 green homes and trained over 30,000 people on building better.

About the Wege Foundation

The Wege Foundation is a 50-year-old Foundation in Grand Rapids Michigan started by Peter Melvin Wege out of his love for the Earth and all its people. The Wege Foundation has five major pillars which include; environment, education, health, the arts, community service and education. The foundation hosts a lecture speaker each year bringing an internationally renowned speaker to Aquinas College. The foundation originally funded GHI’s Executive Director Position in 2005 and the first Green Affordable Housing program in 2014. More recently the foundation has supported green development through Habitat for Humanity, the Inner City Christian Federation, Well House, Camp Newaygo, the West MI Environmental Action Council and the USGBC West MI Battle of the Buildings.


Brett Little
Executive Director
GreenHome Institute

Members Tom Bassett-Dilley Architect & Habitat for Humanity Kent County featured in USGBC LEED Homes Awards

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/