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

Former NARI Chicago President becomes member and remodels green

Ron Cowgill, Owner of D/Restore the North Shore Services Unlimited, has been in the remodeling business for over 25 years and is a Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler (CKBR), Green Certificate Professional (GCP) and Universal Design Certified Specialist (UDCP) through NARI, EPA Certified in lead safe practices, Past President of the local NARI Chapter in Chicago, Licensed electrical contractor, Licensed general contractor in Chicago, Highland Park and Evanston. Ron has contributed to articles in “Crain’s Chicago Business”, “Remodeling Magazine”, “Qualified Remodeler”, “Chicago Sun Times”, “Chicago Tribune” and wrote a “How To” colum for” Chicago Home Improvement Magazine”. Ron is the host of Mighty House, a homeowner DYI Chicago online radio with national audience
Chicagoland radio shows & HGTV’s before and after segment and New Spaces episode. Ron’s company, D/R Services Unlimited, Inc. has been completing “Green” remodeling projects for many years. Many of these “Green” techniques have been incorporated in to the normal operation of his business.

Ron is thrilled to be participating in Chicagoland’s 2nd annual GreenBuilt Home Tour with the Wellington Ave, Type 1 – whole home remodel featured above. This project is registered and on track to certify at the coveted Gold level. Project features are a: Complete gutted kitchen, first floor bathroom, second floor, basement, all new electrical/plumbing/HVAC, closed cell foam on second floor, basement insulation panels, LED/CFL lighting, Water saver faucets, dual flush toilets, New windows, No VOC paints. Reclaimed floors, light fixtures, interesting use of old doors. A energy and green home 3rd party audit was done before and after remodel to ensure quaity assurance and energy peformance goals are met. The rater on the project is Jason La Fleur of Eco Achievers and AES regional director.

Once certified, Ron will be Chicago’s and IL’s first GreenHome Professional.

Don’t miss the 2nd annual Chicago GreenBuilt Home Tour coming up next week!

The 2014 GreenBuilt Home Tour features 18 exceptional, award-winning, and nationally-recognized Chicago area homes which highlighted attractive, affordable, and sustainable building practices. The tour is coming up on July 26 and 27 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

During the two-day event, attendees learned ways the built environment contributes to a healthier community. The tour included Northern Illinois’ finest builders, designers and homeowners who created healthy, energy saving green homes. Together they send a clear message: to reduce our nation’s need to produce energy we must “make it tight and vent it right.”

All homes on the tour were third-party verified (or pending verification) to ensure they were built (or being built) to national standards, earning certification through programs such as: ENERGY STAR for Homes, LEED for Homes, the National Green Building StandardDOE Challenge Home, Illinois GreenStar, and Passive House.

2 other ILGS homes will be featured too. Plan a trip to Chicago today and sign up now! 

Wilcon Construction, Inc. – Project 3: New Home Bronze

New Home Bronze

Wilcon Construction

A trifecta of SIPS panels, solar panels and a geothermal system were the heavy-hitters used to achieve a HERS (Home Efficiency Rating System) score of 29 in this new home located in south-central Minnesota. This means that this house is projected to consume 71% less energy than a house built to just meet the 2006 IECC and 41% less energy than a typical MN code home. Actual results have exceeded expectations, and the homeowners are very pleased.

Site impact was an especially important consideration during the building process. The home is located near a lake, one of Minnesota’s most valuable natural resources. The orientation of the home takes full advantage of beautiful views and the benefits of natural daylight.

The Rivers’ home also won a building-excellence-award from SIPA (Structural Insulated Panel Association) based on the following features:

  • 6-inch SIP walls, 10-inch SIP roof
  • Geothermal heating system
  • In-floor radiant heating
  • ENERGY STAR lighting and appliances
  • Onsite solar generation
  • Recycling program implemented during construction
  • All low VOC paints, sealants and finishes

For more information on this project visit wilcon-construction.net.

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.

Benoz Homes: New Home Bronze

Benoz Homes

Working with architect Phil Rader and builder Benjamin Akhigbe, the owners had several clear objectives for their new house in an established South Minneapolis neighborhood.   The house needed to be accessible to people of varying physical abilities and be a house in which the present or any future owners could “age in place” if they so desired.  Examples of universal design features in the house are a landscaping plan that provides an attractive stepless route into the house and from the house to the garage, wide interior doorways and corridors, and a main floor bedroom with a generous bathroom that includes a curbless, doorless shower.   Closets are aligned to have the option of installing a personal elevator serving the basement, main floor and second floor if that need should ever arise.

It was important for the scale of the house to fit as much as possible in with the built-up neighborhood, and so it has a one-and-a-half story presentation like most of the other homes nearby.   Through various structural choices, such as using TJI joists rather than wide open trusses, the house’s overall height was kept to a minimum while still allowing nine-foot ceilings and ample room for two bedrooms and baths on the second floor.  With a wide mix of architectural styles in the immediate neighborhood, the owners felt the freedom to draw on their Asian and Scandinavian heritages to result in a design that might be described as craftsman-influenced with clean lines, wide overhangs, generous square-jointed trim, and an open floor plan.  Thanks to placing windows in sets of two or three in most rooms along with keeping the garage slightly detached, interior rooms receive abundant light and ventilation, with views of the streetscape and the nearby community garden.

In order to avoid maintenance of gutters, roof runoff is channeled via the four roof valleys into ground level catchment beds where heavy flows are directed through below-grade piping away from the house and to a rain garden.  Plantings are primarily native plants, shrubs, and trees.  A minimal amount of turf remains from erosion control during construction, and it is being replaced with slow-grown fescue mix and with non-turf groundcover.   A front porch was important to the owners, and to enable a sloping roof that does not interfere with second story windows, a curved design is used, with traditional beadboard porch ceilings.  The roof design is repeated on a smaller scale above the back and garage doors.

With a generous amount of maple trim on the interior, a challenge was use of low VOC finishes which were more difficult to work with than traditional finishes.  Kitchen countertops include granite from a quarry near Isabella, Minnesota, and a commercial butcher block which one of the owners personally salvaged from a restaurant demolished to make way for the K-Mart centered “urban renewal” at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue in South Minneapolis.  Toilets are dual flush, the water heater is sealed combustion, and other features such as a mechanical air exchanger and generous insulation help to keep energy costs at a minimum.

While a lot of design attention went into the “green” and “universal design” features of the house, most visitors are oblivious to those features, simply enjoying the house for its comfort and attractive design.
For more information on this project call 612-508-7927.

Wilcon Construction, Inc. – Project 2: New Home Bronze

Mankato, Minnesota

This multi-level home qualified as the first Minnesota Green Star home in the Mankato area. Residents of the home enjoy a lovely view of a large retention pond in the Sakatah Fields subdivision in Mankato. The home has the following eco-friendly features:

1) Energy Star windows, doors, furnace, appliances and air-conditioning.

2) Low-flow faucets, toilets and showers.

3) Eco-friendly grass is drought resistant and requires 50% less mowing.

4) Over half of the floors are hard surface contributing to improved indoor air quality.

5) South facing windows provide ample natural daylight and reduced winter heating costs.

This home demonstrates energy efficient, eco-friendly homes can still have excellent curb appeal and spacious family living space.

By Wilcon Construction

 

Wilcon Construction, Inc. – Project 1: New Home Bronze

Wilcon Construction Inc.

The first GreenStar certified home built by Wilcon Construction, Inc.

Saint James, Minnesota

This MN GreenStar BRONZE certified home was designed to be energy efficient and provide open light-filled spaces and healthy indoor air to the residents. The design features locally manufactured Lindsay windows that allow natural day lighting and passive solar heat gain during the winter. When the sun is high overhead during the summer, overhangs provide shading to minimize solar gain. The home features geo-thermal heating and cooling, Water Sense certified plumbing fixtures and Energy Star appliances.

Efforts were made to use local and sustainable building materials including concrete mixed with fly ash, and Kasota limestone from a nearby quarry. Recycling and reduction of construction waste and reusing construction scraps was an important part of the building process. Interior finish selections made from recycled products include Shaw Epic engineered wood floors and Shetkastone countertops (manufactured from old paper in LeSueur, Minnesota) in the master bath. Other products which contribute healthy indoor air quality include Marmoleum flooring and countertops, Cambria countertops, formaldehyde-free cabinets and low VOC water based finishes.

Outside the home, the landscape includes native drought tolerant plants, fruit-bearing bushes, and a small vegetable garden. Three rain gardens planted with native grasses and flowering perennials capture water run-off from the roof.

By Wilcon Construction

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.