GHI projects nominated for Governors Energy Excellence Award

GreenHome Institute is proud to announce we are a part of several projects that have been nominated for the 2016 Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards as detailed below. Each of these projects are examples of ways you can incorporate sustainability into renovations, remodels, new constructions or even multifamily developments.  GHI was selected as best communications program, which involved an energy based biggest loser like challenge that took place in Holland, Michigan. It included over 100 residents that competed to reduce energy and water from their previous years use. Ultimately, the BIGGEST loser family reduced their usage by 40% and won $500 in the process. Across the board, 10% energy was saved on average, and homeowners were educated on how to improve their homes along the way.  Another aspect of the challenge was the homes with the most improved U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Home Energy Score. This is a 1 – 10 rating score similar to an mpg label that helps buyers & renters understand predictable utility costs, and also helps homeowners make informed decisions on planned improvements, while providing access to related rebates and funding. Sandra Keirnan (and family) was our 2nd place biggest loser, improving her Home Energy Score from a 4 to an 8. Sandra diligently worked to ensure her home remodel was completed properly, and is now a finalist for the Governor’s award for most improved home.

None of this would have been possible if not for the City of Holland’s leadership on energy. The City’s Holland Energy Fund was named a finalist for innovator of the year for breaking down the financial barriers to improving DOE Home Energy Scores. If you have clients in Holland looking to start projects, please make them aware of these unique On Bill financing and rebate opportunities that help make energy and health improvements affordable for everyone. Even if you do not do work in Holland, this model can be replicated and used as an example to take to your local city or community to make a change.

Learn more about the Holland Energy Prize: Biggest Loser Challenge here

Other Governors Energy Excellence Awards finalists that GHI helped certify

Marti Burbeck – Burh Becc at Beacon Springs is a stunning new construction home in Ann Arbor that is LEED Platinum pending, Zero Energy capable and submitting to the Living Building Challenge. GHI member Architectural Resource, who completed the design on the home, demonstrates that we can build homes that have a positive impact on the environment, human health and the economy. Learn more at

Gateway Village, Sturgis is a project where we administered the Enterprise Green Communities Certification (EGC). EGC requires 3rd party verification to ensure low-income housing projects are built to save energy & water. This helps tenants requiring low utility bills the most, and also creates healthier living spaces beyond what the MI code requires. EGC is the alternative to LEED for affordable housing, and is available across the US. Learn more at

Tom Tishler, project manager of Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity, built a certified silver project under the GreenStar Homes Certification program, a project which is a finalist for most improved home. This project addressed the 5 pillars of green building – health, energy, water, materials, and place – to help give a family a hand up, not a handout.  Learn more at

Whether you are planning a renovation, new construction, addition or multifamily development, GHI is a statewide resource that can help you build, BETTER.

About GreenHome Institute
A 501 c3 non-profit located in Grand Rapids with a mission to empower people to make healthier and more sustainable choices in the construction and renovation of the places we live. GHI oversees education, training and credentialing of professionals all over the Midwest and provide international webinars on green building topics. They have certified over 8,000 homes to green standards and educated over 20,000 on building better


Awards Contact
Liz Boyd, APR
Liz Boyd Public Relations LLC

Third Annual Governor’s EnergyExcellence Awards Honor Michiganders for Innovative Energy Solutions
Finalists include public, private efforts to reduce energy waste

LANSING, Mich. — Twenty-three businesses, organizations, and individuals from across the state have been selected as finalists for the 2017 Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards, which recognize people and organizations in Michigan that have taken firm, meaningful actions to improve energy efficiency.

“Through our policies and initiatives in Michigan, we are working hard to ensure energy reliability, advance clean energy and help business owners and residents reduce energy waste,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “Among other things, we’re encouraging utilities to provide incentives and programs that make it easier for others to follow the example of those we’re honoring this year.”

Nominations were made in eight different categories, which demonstrate the diverse nature of energy-efficiency deployment. The award winners will be announced at a singular event in mid-October.

Following is a list of this year’s finalists by category:

Best Projects — Residential

  • Marti Burbeck, Ann Arbor
  • Sandra Keirnan, Holland
  • Tom Tishler, Kalamazoo

Best Projects — Agriculture

  • Friske Orchards, Charlevoix
  • Grand Valley Farms, Rives Junction
  • Sklarczyk Seed Farm, Johannesburg

Best Projects — Industrial/Manufacturing

  • HyCAL Corporation, Gibraltar
  • Verso Corporation, Escanaba

Best Projects — Commercial (Private)

  • First Housing Corporation, Lansing
  • Gateway Village, Sturgis
  • Islamic Center of America, Dearborn

Best Projects — Public

  • Ewen-Trout Creek School, Ewen
  • Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo
  • Public Libraries of Saginaw, Saginaw

Contractor of the Year

  • Better World Builders LLC, Kalamazoo
  • Don Earl Heating & A/C, Sault Ste. Marie
  • Medler Electric, Alma

Innovator of the Year

  • Walt Dindoffer, Temperance
  • Holland Energy Fund, Holland
  • Carla Walker-Miller, Detroit

Best Communication or Education Program

  • Consumers Energy, Okemos
  • GreenHome Institute, Grand Rapids
  • The Heat and Warmth Fund, Detroit

Four other organizations received honorable mentions, including:

Best Project — Agriculture: Nash Greenhouses LLC, Kalamazoo
Best Project — Commercial (Private): Jackson National Life Insurance Company, Lansing
Best Project — Public: Ann Arbor Housing Commission, Ann Arbor
Innovator of the Year: Southwest Housing Solutions, Detroit

“Michigan’s policies regarding our energy market, renewable energy and energy waste reduction are helping fuel Michigan’s economy and create jobs in the process,” Governor Snyder added. “We cannot forget, however, that our cheapest energy is that which isn’t used.”


The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards honor Michigan individuals and organizations who have made reducing energy waste and implementing energy-efficient practices part of their everyday lives. The awards would not be possible without the support of the Department of Energy and the Michigan Agency for Energy through the Michigan Energy Office. For more information, visit