LINC UP LEED Silver Affordable Housing

LINC UP, a community non-profit housing developer working to create the infrastructure for residents to lead change in their neighborhoods, has earned a LEED Silver Certification under the United States Green Building Council’s new version 4.1 rating system. This home is a single family residence built in Grand Rapids’ Seeds of Promise neighborhood.

LINC UP partners with a variety of organizations to develop affordable housing ensuring that longtime residents of Grand Rapids and surrounding cities can continue to live and work in their own neighborhoods. The single-family home is LINC UP’s first newly constructed home to achieve LEED Silver Certification, which is the result of working through the Grand Rapids Affordable Housing Program and in consultation with the GreenHome Institute to fund the cost, testing, and verification of green building certification.

Becoming LEED certified is a comprehensive process that requires 3rd party testing and verification midway through construction. LEED requires Final verification and testing include an exhaustive evaluation to confirm that all green and energy efficient features are in place.

Adam Vanderlaan, LINC UP’s Construction Manager, noted “In our midway Green Rater test, we learned that we needed a higher level of ventilation.The house was a slightly below standard. We converted a bath fan to run all the time, and we hit the correct requirements. By the final verification process, we reached the proper standard for the safety of the occupants of the home and to achieve the Silver LEED certification.”

LEED also requires a home to receive a Home Energy Rating System Score (HERS) to determine how energy efficient it is compared to other homes. This score includes air leak testing, water conservation reviews, and a durability inspection. LEED now includes a point for a building if it qualifies for affordable housing, which is part of what allowed the LINC UP residential new-build to receive Silver Certification.

“Home ownership helps build equity,” says Brett Little, Program Manager of GreenHome Institute. “Because LINC UP is selling these homes to people at varying income levels, the LEED certification could potentially add to the home’s equity based on several studies around the country of green-certified homes and their value.

IVNA was pleased to work with LINC UP, serving as Architect on this high performing affordable home. Isaac company owner says “We are excited that this project has received LEED Certification-Silver and that it has also received an Honorable Mention Award from the USGBC Regional chapter. We believe that the design and construction of energy-efficient affordable housing is essential to address all concerns related to environmental stewardship thus, promoting quality of life for all.”

The project scored 10 of 10 location and transportation points with 2 bonus points in Exemplary Performance. Better LT scores equate help reduce costs for the occupants by allowing more ways to get around than driving. LT section first confirmed the project was not located in the 100-year floodplain and the project was built 100% previously developed land with a majority of all land in 1/2 mile being developed. Connectivity-wise the project is in 1/2 mile of a public park, existing sidewalks, 7 community resources and significant transit opportunities.  The project is efficient with space use at the equivalent of 9 dwelling units per acre.

To improve the home’s durability it features a single fiberglass insert in the shower and tub with no paper to get wet. No carpeting near entry ways, in the kitchen or bathroom. The clothes dryer is ready for outdoor venting with a rigid duct, overhangs keep water and the sun out of doors to prevent rot and the energy-water management checklist was followed which included proper install and use of gutters.

You can take a virtual self-guided LEED tour of the house here thanks to a donation from

Other Green Features

HERS Index Rating 55

Fully Ducted HVAC Runs

Owners Manual and Owner Training on Operations

R410a Refrigerant in AC

Vented Hoodrange

CO2 Detectors

Sealed Combustion water heater and furnace

Shoe removal area

Detached Garage

MERV 8 Furnace Filters

1.5 GPM bathroom aerators

1.75 GPM showerheads

1.28 GPF toilets

Pollution prevention measures during construction.

Project Team Details 


Architect – Isaac Norris – IVNA

HVAC – Kevin Holman Legacy HVAC

Green/HERS Rater – David Meeder – Custom Home Energy

Project Basics 

Project Type: Single Family
Square Feet: 2,320
Bedrooms: 3
Baths 2 1/2

LEED & HERS documentation

LEED Certification was funded through the Grand Rapids Green Affordable Housing Program