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

Habitat Energy Star Home

West Michigan's first Energy Star Version 3 Certified Home

* correction – This is a new home and not a rehab.

The approach was a  LEED certified home that goes beyond most Habitat standards of just LEED silver and Energy Star Version 2.  The goal was to get a house to achieve the coveted Energy Star V. 3 certification and Indoor AirPlus certification by achieving higher standards for the HVAC.  The biggest hurdle for this house was installing a 95% efficient furnace coupled with an ERV mechanical ventilation system and flexible ducts in order to reduce energy costs and improve air quality throughout the 2-story house. The kitchen is outfitted with low VOC cabinets and a 100 CFM range hood which vents directly outside as opposed to in the attic or re-circulation.

The Indoor airPlus certification contributed largely to the Energy Star V3 Certifcation, as the higher quality HVAC system also covered many of the prerequisites. The biggest hurdle for this home was to find a credentialed HVAC installer who would work with the higher standards required for Indoor airPlus.   The water heater and furnace directly vent fumes outside and improve indoor air quality and efficiency of the equipment.  The HVAC also has LEED_TM_gold_13a MERV 10 rated filters and efficiently at 86 CFM, which fully circulates the air in the home approximately every 4 hours.  The furnace itself runs on a single speed PSC motor which runs at set intervals and uses the ERV to moderate the temperature.  The house also features a Superior Wall Foundation which contributes an R-Value of 5 to NuWool insulation installed on the walls for a total R-Value of 26.  To further increase the insulation of the house the rim joists were also insulated and earn an efficient .3 U-factor windows were installed to reduce air leakage.

The home appliances available in this house are Energy Star certified to accompany the Energy Star V3 certification on the house.  Outfitted with low formaldehyde pressed wood materials in flooring and cabinets, as well as low VOC paints and finishes on the cabinets and walls. .  Plumbing is outfitted using PEX piping as more flexible and reliable alternative to PVC or copper piping.

Habitat for Humanity Kent County is committed to 100% LEED Silver Construction and has saved homeowner’s $1,000 a year in utility costs as well as improved their indoor air quality compared to living situations they were previously in.

1831 Willard Profile Complete

Indoor airPLUS checklist

Updated HVAC contractor checklist

Post Occupancy LEED Graphic

Webinar: Post Occupancy Study – LEED for Homes on Affordable Housing

recently partnered with Michigan State University (MSU) to perform a Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of 235 LEED-certified homes in the Midwest, and we are pleased to share the results.  The goal is to identify the homes’ actual performance after people moved in, and also the

benefits and shortcomings of the current LEED for Home certification system. The survey consisted of various categories including (1) general satisfaction with the LEED-certified home, (2) satisfaction about the home in general and various aspects of the indoor environment, (3) overall well-being including the health impact, (4) energy efficiency and building performance, (5) the environmental behavior of residents, and (6) demographics.

The findings of this study revealed that most residents of the LEED-certified home were satisfied with their home and their quality of life in their home.

Continuing Education 

  • 1 GBCI – General
  • 1 MI Contractor (Code & Green)
  • 1 MI Architect
  • If you need continuing education units for a license in another state, this course may apply. Please consult your state’s requirements.

This webinar is free to review. If you are interested in continuing education credits, you must follow the following steps:

1. Watch the webinar presentation by Eunsil Lee, PhD for FREE.

2. Contact to take the quiz and score at least 80% to be approved. Please also post a comment below and help add to the conversation.

3. Pay the fee below to get your certificate and CEUs. You must be an  member to pay the reduced member fee.

Webinar Pricing

Two methodological approaches were used for this study. Qualitative case studies were conducted with 15 LEED-certified Habitat for Humanity residents in Kent County, Michigan through in-depth interviews, observations, and IEQ measurement. 16 % respondents came from LEED-certified Habitat for Humanity homes in Michigan. These residents in particular, were more satisfied with their homes and their quality of life than residents of Non- Habitat homes were, although their satisfaction with their neighborhood and specific aspects of home environment (e.g., space layout, size of space, finishes, visual privacy, view, temperature, humidity) was lower than that of Non-Habitat residents. Residents of the Habitat for Humanity tended to perceive the improvement of their quality of life since moving into their LEED-certified home more strongly than residents of the Non-Habitat home did. They were also more satisfied with energy efficiency of their home than residents of the Non-Habitat home.

2 page graphic summary of Study PDF Here 

Full 96 Page Report on Post Occupancy Study 

Report Recommendations:

Promote sustainability in low-income housing: More programs should be developed that can offer incentives for participation in LEED green building certification programs and increase funding opportunities to cover the initial costs of sustainable home building for low-income families at both state and local levels, because those efforts will produce long-term economic and environmental benefits.

Improve the design of low-income green housing: Architects, designers, engineers, contractors, and facility managers can gain greater understanding of design and the performance of low-income green homes with the findings of this POE project by receiving feedback for the future projects. Although the houses were LEED-certified, some problems in maintaining the green features, building performance, and comfortable home environment were identified. Architects, designers, engineers, green policy makers, and Habitat for Humanity Affiliates should pay attention to the specific needs relevant to these issues to improve the design quality of low-income green home through the process of planning, design, and construction.

Implement Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE): More extensive implementation of POEs is critical. Since LEED certification is based on “as-designed” performance, further implementation of POEs is exceptionally important to verify actual performance and expected performance. In particular, since there is no mandatory post-occupancy evaluation process included in LEED or other green home certifications, there is no empirical data to verify whether these green homes perform satisfactorily in terms of heating, cooling, or indoor environmental quality.

Contribute to the general body of knowledge: Although there is a consensus about the benefits of green homes, few empirical studies about the actual effects of LEED-certified green homes on residents’ health, comfort, and satisfaction have been conducted. The findings from this study therefore increased understanding of the benefits to be gained from LEED-certified low-income homes by applying empirically tested, research -based knowledge.

Promote public awareness: This report will educate the public about the impact of LEED-certified homes on (1) improving the residential environmental quality and energy efficiency, (2) reducing residents’ health risks and (3) enhancing residents’ comfort and satisfaction by disseminating the results of this research at conferences and by publishing articles in scholarly and extension journals.

Make a Policy Recommendation:

1) Incentives for green homes, such as LEED-certified homes, Energy Star Homes, or National Association of Home Builders’ Green certified homes, should be offered to developers, contractors, and homeowners. This will be critical for both new and existing homes located in the cold regions such as Michigan to encourage energy-efficient green home constructions for low-income families in order to offer lower utility bills.

2) Policy makers should collaborate closely with local builders and developers to apply more green home features to new or existing low-income houses. Certain types of incentives for local builders and developers are desired.

3) Post-occupancy evaluations of green certified homes should be encouraged, particularly for low-income housing. Continuous efforts should be made to save energy and keep green homes energy-efficient for these households and homeowners.

4) We suggest conducting POEs of green certified homes in five or ten years to preserve their green features and energy efficiency. Based on the POEs, the homes may or may not be repaired to keep the original functions of green features. In the POEs and repairing process, local home remodeling companies can be involved. Some incentives should be considered for the local companies or businesses to be involved in this green process if they are small or micro businesses. Tax reductions for these types of companies (i.e., energy auditors, window replacement companies) can promote small entrepreneurs working on sustainable housing projects in local communities. This can create more local jobs.

5) We suggest offering regular educational seminars for residents of green certified homes in order to offer precise information about the green features of their homes and educate them how to keep their homes green. On-site seminars can be offered one or two times in the development phase and right before the new owners take occupancy. Once residents move to their new homes, it is recommended to send flyers via mail or email to remind them of the green features of their homes and inform them of how to use and maintain these features. Mailed or emailed flyers will work better than on-site seminars because many residents have full- or part-time jobs.

6) In addition, incentives should be considered for upgrading low-income housing to make it more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Currently there is a 500 dollar maximum tax credit for upgrading any housing features to make them energy-efficient. This maximum should be increased to keep up with the real cost of upgrading energy-consuming HVAC systems to energy-efficient ones. In particular, more aggressive incentives should be offered to households below a certain income level so that homeowners can be more active in upgrading their conventional houses to energy-efficient green ones.

Thanks to the Michigan Applied Public Policy Research (MAPPR) Grant from the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) and  Michigan State University (MSU) who worked with to perform this Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE).

See more details on a similar LEED Pre-Occupancy Report.

Southtown Plans and Drawings

Southtown Affordable Duplex Rentals Greens Up Grand Rapids Inner City

Nine new LEED for Homes registered townhomes in Southeast Grand Rapids are under construction as the first leg of a much larger proposed project by LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. to replace abandoned foreclosed homes with modern, energy efficient townhomes.

The project, Southtown Square, demolished two dilapidated townhouses and a vacant commercial printing business and remediated contaminated soil. Now, nine affordable-rate townhomes are heading for completion, part of a project that could replace some 20 foreclosed properties with 41 modern homes in a neighborhood where many families have struggled to keep their homes, and lost.

The nine two-story townhomes (537 and 539 Hall St. SE; 454 and 456 Umatilla St. SE; 429, 431 and 433 Umatilla St. SE; and 428 and 430 Woodlawn St. SE) will run 800 to 1,150 square feet. Most offer three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, says Stephanie Gingeritch, LINC real estate development director. All of them will have full appliance packages and in-home laundry. One home will have a handicap accessible main floor bathroom and bedroom.

LINC purchased the properties from the Michigan Land Bank, Gingeritch says. Work on another two-building townhouse project near Hall and Madison Avenue SE begins in September.

“This is part of a larger redevelopment project where we will be purchasing additional foreclosed townhouses from the State of Michigan and redeveloping those as affordable units,” Gingeritch says. “We recently submitted an application for tax credit financing for an additional 41 units of housing (five additional sites, 20 buildings) on Umatilla and Gilbert. We’ll hear in March 2013 if that is awarded.

“We’re glad we can bring this quality development to the neighborhood where there are already families who are established and don’t have to move out of the neighborhood to have this,” Gingeritch says.

The project is part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 to stabilize neighborhoods damaged by the economic effects of properties that have been foreclosed upon and abandoned.

Architect: Isaac V. Norris & Associates, P.C.
Construction: Orion II Construction Inc.

Source: Stephanie Gingeritch, LINC Community Revitalization, Inc.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

Habitat for Humanity Research Home

A Green Future in the past – Habitat Registers 100th LEED Home in Grand Rapids

After dozens of new and gut-rehab LEED projects, the Grand Rapids, Michigan Habitat for Humanity affiliate is ready to begin a new era. That happens to be a really old era too.  

With LEED for Homes-registered project #100, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County will start work on their ambitious “Wealthy Heights” neighborhood effort to rebuild homes built in the 1880’s as affordable, workforce housing. After building one new LEED platinum home (Grand Rapid’s 1st!) and preserving a single-family home and a two-unit in Wealthy Heights over the last couple years, Habitat is ready to start seven more projects this fall. It will also coincide with major road and infrastructure improvements by the City of Grand Rapids. Neighbors in Wealthy Heights get ready for construction season!

The neighbors and business owners who have led the revitalization effort in this neighborhood over the last three decades made it possible for Habitat to step into the mix. Being historic has been a challenge and a blessing but now become a really desirable location for our home buyer partner families,” said Habitat’s Chris Hall.

As Director of Strategic Initiatives, Hall has been part of this project since 2009 when it was first brought to Habitat. With a history of results, Habitat Kent was in the right place at the right time. “It all happened as we were starting to look at ways to become more effective in transforming entire neighborhoods through our work.”

Since then, Habitat has completed the three home projects but also built a community garden and hosted an AmeriCorps Signature Service Project which offered basic exterior repairs, landscaping and a fresh coat of paint for home owners on Donald Place SE.

“We’ve seen residents show up at hearings in support, out working on site, and they have embraced our new families as part of the neighborhood. For-profit builders are doing work in the neighborhood too. This week I heard from folks as far away as New York City regarding a possible LEED-ND certification. Considering we haven’t even begun the major work yet you’d have to say it’s already been an amazing success story.”

After committing to 100% LEED for Homes certification in 2007, Habitat Kent has gone one to become recognized internationally as a leader in affordable, sustainable design and construction. In fact, they were awarded for “Outstanding Program Commitment” to LEED for Homes at the 2011 Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Toronto.

While the positive energy surrounding this project is building, Hall says there is still opportunity for you to help, “We are always looking for partners—either through financial contributions, donations of materials or professional services, as volunteers on site and even as home buyers.” Anyone can visit to find out more. “Someone can even gain LEED project experience to use toward a LEED AP credential through Habitat! Anyone interested sustainable design will find something cool about this project.”

Future posts will feature a profile of the 100th registered home at 327 Freyling Place SE as well as the other upcoming and completed projects.

Research is being done by MSU and FSU students and faculty with support from Dow and Habitat. They begin with the lowest cost and simplest forms of energy efficiency including cans of spray foam at joints and in gaps, spray foam in rim joists, and other air sealing measures. From there they will test other wall insulation and mechanical system combinations. At each step the homes are tested and analyzed.

Habitat Director of Strategic Initiatives Chris Hall enjoys seeing young people included in the project, “The Michigan State and Ferris State students have really been on the frontline the whole way and they’re getting their hands dirty—in a good way. What they’re learning will directly be applied to what they do in their careers in architecture, engineering, construction management or beyond. And that their work on these homes specifically will benefit a low-income family is especially cool.”

More details on the research project

 Want to learn more about affordable Green/LEED major rehabs to existing homes? Free recorded webinar on Habitat’s success here  Need CEUs for watching this? Email us

Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) MSHDA LEED & Green Verification

can serve Michigan based affordable developers looking to secure funding for Single and Mult – family projects through out the state. MSHDA now has Low Income Housing Tax Credits (“LIHTC”) for developments that are promoting safe, decent, affordable housing. Integral to this effort are specific policies within the QAP that pertain to healthy, green, and sustainable building practices.

can consult, provide technical assistance and third party verification for those seeking to complete the MSHDA Affordable Green Standard criteria, Green Communities Certification and/or LEED for Homes Certification. will help project teams meet criteria, obtain tax credits and ensure a healthy, affordable, durable and efficient living situation for Michigan citizens.

Please contact us today and to learn more about this initiative or see MSHDA’s Green Policy  or Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) Details.

enterprise-logo-Green Communities

is now an Enterprise Green Communities Technical Assistance Provider

is a leader in affordable multifamily and single family Green Home consulting and verification. We have certified over 300 LEED for Homes projects and are consulting on over 500 more Green Building projects. Half of our projects are affordable multi – family developments and as such we have been selected as an Enterprise Green Communities Technical Adviser to assist in the Midwest Region. 

will guide your project teams from the pre design phase of a project to ensure Healthy, Affordable, Efficient and Durable construction practices are met along with Green Communities certification requirements. We have serve in the areas of

  • Integrated Design
  • Green Design Review
  • Energy Services
  • Construction Review
Green Communities Third Party Verification 
  1. Desktop ReviewIn this initial stage, reviews all Criteria that can be documented and verified prior to site visits.  We use information submitted in Step 1 of the Certification process as well as additional information from the team, including the specifications book, construction schedule, project drawings, and HVAC sizing summary.
  2. Pre-drywall site visitDuring the first site visit, conducts a pre-drywall inspection and documents the results in a related checklist.  If the development team is working with an ENERGY STAR rater, will not duplicate the rater’s scope of work.
  3. Post-construction site visitDuring this site visit, conducts a series of energy and water performance testing procedures appropriate for the building and construction type of the development and documents the results in a related checklist.

If the desktop review or site visits reveal deficiencies, will notify the appropriate team member, and provide recommendations and guidelines on how to correct the issue(s).  Development teams will be required to fix accordingly.

Following completion of verification review, submits a brief report to Enterprise and the development team describing the development’s compliance with the Criteria, any recommendations made to the team for improvement, and performance testing results.  The information gathered by informs Enterprise of how to best assist development teams seeking certification.

Register or get an estimate for your project today here

Design Charrettes

Pre-planning is critically important when designing and constructing a green building. encourages projects to use integrated design, bringing key members of the project team together often in the schematic design phase to discuss the project, set goals and accountability, and solve potential problems up front rather than during construction when its often more costly.  Contact  for a quote on this service.

Grants are available for Charrettes! 

About Enterprise Green Communities

The Enterprise Green Communities Criteria contains detailed information that addresses aspects of design, development and operations. The Criteria are grouped into the following eight categories:

  • Integrative Design
  • Location and Neighborhood Fabric
  • Site Improvements
  • Water Conservation
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Materials Beneficial to the Environment
  • Healthy Living Environment
  • Operations and Maintenance

Learn about Enterprise Green Communities Certification
To achieve Enterprise Green Communities Certification, all projects must achieve compliance with the Criteria mandatory measures applicable to that construction type. Additionally, New Construction projects must achieve 35 optional points, Substantial Rehab projects must achieve 30 optional points, and Moderate Rehab projects also must achieve 30 optional points.

Download the 2011 Criteria

  • Building Performance Standard 5.1c: Guidelines for Moderate and Substantial Rehab Projects Addendum – Single family and low-rise multifamily brick / masonry buildings built prior to 1980 using the 2011 Criteria have had difficulty achieving a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index of 85, as required by Enterprise Green Communities mandatory criterion 5.1c, without undertaking drastic renovations to the building envelope that are unfeasible under the project scope and budget. In response, Enterprise has developed an alternative compliance pathway for eligible projects. For further details, please download the above addendum.

Download the 2011 Criteria Checklist

Download the 2011 Criteria Overview

Download the 2011 Criteria Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). This resource will be updated and re-posted on a quarterly basis.

What projects are eligible?

  • Certification is open to all entities engaged in the development of affordable housing. (Please note that Enterprise defines affordable housing as projects serving residents at or below 60% AMI for rental projects and at or below 80% AMI for for-sale projects. For NSP-funded projects, this definition extends to 120% AMI).
  • Projects must designate a minimum of 80% of the total number of units for affordable housing (i.e., no more than 20% of the total number of units can be market-rate housing).
  • Projects must designate a minimum of 80% of the total square footage of conditioned space for residential use (i.e., no more than 20% of the total square footage of conditioned space can be commercial / common space).
  • The development team must demonstrate their qualifications to successfully carry out the proposed project.
  • Project teams submitting a request for certification may include, but are not limited to, participants in the Green Communities Carbon Offset Fund and affordable housing providers participating in local, state and/or federal green building programs.

To achieve Enterprise Green Communities Certification, all projects must achieve compliance with the Criteria mandatory measures applicable to that construction type. Additionally, New Construction projects must achieve 35 optional points, Substantial Rehab projects must achieve 30 optional points, and Moderate Rehab projects also must achieve 30 optional points.

Habitat for Humanity Kent County won the 2011 Green Build outstanding program commitment to LEED for Homes


Habitat for Humanity Kent County has won this years Green Build 2011 Award for Outstanding Program Commitment to LEED for Homes.   is proud to have served Habitat for Humanity in Kent County since their commitment in 2007 to Build all LEED for Homes Silver certified projects. Habitat Kent County has been raising the bar and is completing Gold LEED certified projects and they are on their way to complete a platinum.  Currently they have achieved

  • 85 Registered LEED Projects
  • 70 Certified LEED Projects
  • 61 Average HERS Rating
The spotlight project for their award was a  110-year-old single-family home in the historic Wealthy Heights neighborhood in southeast Grand Rapids. This home represents a beautiful example of affordable, sustainable, historic preservation. Along with the typical Habitat for Humanity volunteer labor force, a core team of four recent graduates of the Grand Rapids Public Schools Academy of Design & Construction assisted from start to finish. These young people learned how to rehab an historic home in the context of a challenging LEED for Homes project which achieved LEED Gold.
The 53 HERS score for this home was, at the time, the most energy efficient home built by Habitat Kent. This is noteworthy since the home is over a century old and was originally built to “breathe” so achieving such air-tightness wasn’t easy. This success is even more impressive considering the untrained, inexperienced labor-force of volunteers who rehabbed the home. Simply being located in a historic district also invited numerous challenges including usingwood windows (which are notoriously inefficient). Despite these challenges, the project team hit a home run with this home. Their recent dedication to be restorative to the Wealthy Heights Community  has lead to several projects that involved painting, remodeling, gut rehabbing, as well as building several new homes and creating community gardens. Habitat is completely revitalizing the area. Their highest achievement here is their commitment to constructing a net zero or near zero (currently) 5 bedroom home. This home features, ICF and SIP panel construction and has a solar hot water heater attached to the house. The homes HERS score tested out to be 35, one of the lowest in Michigan. They are still missing the Solar PV making a perfect promotion opportunity for any company willing to supply solar to this project.  Please contact Chris Hall if you are interested. Due to Habitat for Humanity of Kent Countie’s commitment to LEED certification, they have been able to attract many more sponsors, donors and volunteers. They have also been able to achieve some great accomplishments. Deconstruction of homes literally saves tons of usable materials and items from heading to the landfill. These materials are re-sold at the HabitatReStore for a profit to build other homes. Habitat discovered that it costs approximately $8000 more to incorporate green building and zero-step entry into a Habitat home building per house, and that the long-term benefits to the family and the environment easily justify the expense. It is estimated (based on their earliest LEED Homes) that annual savings costs for electric, water, and heating will be at least $1,000 per home per year.  The extra money available every month eases the hard decision “food or heat?” for families who live close to the poverty line. Over the life of each homebuyer’s 25 year mortgage, the savings equates to $25,000 at minimum – money a family is able to invest into strengthening their future.Looking to start a LEED for Homes or a Green Building project within your Habitat Affiliate? Please contact today. We work with over 20 other Habitat Affiliates including Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

Numbers, Know-how and navigating LEED in affordable housing

Join USGBC for a free 3-part webinar series exploring the green affordable housing movement.

– Examine market examples to discover factors driving green affordable housing, as well strategies for success and the benefits to going green when tackling affordable housing projects.
– Explore the synergies between keeping design and construction costs down and building in a responsible, sustainable fashion.
– Identify tools and strategies to finance retrofits of existing multifamily developments while taking an in-depth look at affordable housing and LEED.

All sessions will be held from 1:00 to 2:30 PM EDT.

Oct. 20, 2011

Driving Smart Decisions in Green Affordable Housing

Nov. 3, 2011

Financing Green Multifamily Retrofits

Dec. 8, 2011

LEED Certified Affordable Housing: It gets better every time

Register today »

Each session in this series will be registered for 1.5 hours of continuing education with AIA/CES SD/HSW, and GBCI CMP hours for LEED professionals.

How do we ensure a home is Green?

Green living and environmental sustainability is proving to be much more than just a recent fad. More and more people are jumping on the environmental bandwagon, which has created more need for professionals within this field.  Recently, the American National Standards Institute recognized LEED AP Homes as the “most qualified, educated and influential green-building professionals in the marketplace” (ANSI). Because of the accreditation from ANSI, the demand for LEED certified homes and LEED AP professionals is expected to increase.

Building residential homes to LEED certification has become incredibly popular over the past several years.  A 91-unit housing development in Tacoma, Washington was the 10,000 home to be LEED certified.  The development was the first federally funded redevelopment project to reach LEED platinum status (10,000th Home).   On a more local level, the Kent County chapter of Habitat For Humanity has made the commitment to have every home be LEED Gold certified.  This decision is saving the families who reside in these homes an estimated $1000.00 a year on utility bills, making LEED the perfect fit for Habitat For Humanity (HFH LEED Commitment).

For those who are less familiar with LEED certification, they may be left wondering how exactly it benefits themselves, the environment, and their pocketbook.  LEED homes reduce allergens and triggers for diseases such as asthma and other chemical sensitivities.  LEED certified homes are also built with nontoxic materials, which lower exposures to mold and mildew.  LEED homes are environmentally friendly because they use less energy to maintain which reduces pollution from fossil fuel resources.  In fact, in a recent report from the Green Home Institute (), LEED homes in the Midwest use an average of 40 percent less energy than conventional homes ( Report). Building a LEED home can reduce utility bills by up to 51 percent and also increase the property value of the home (Why LEED).

For a resident in Minneapolis, choosing to have her home LEED certified was an easy decision. She gave three reasons as to why it was a no-brainer for her:

            -Easy to follow instructions in the LEED rating systems manual

            -Required green rater visits ensures that the project is meeting the standards of LEED certification                       

            -Utility bills are 65 percent less in the LEED home than in her previous conventional home (LEED Minneapolis).

While it can seem like a daunting task to make sure everything in the home is up to par for LEED certification, the United States Green Building Council is making it a little easier.  They recently launched a LEED Home Scoring Tool on their website which will give people an idea as to how close their project is to reaching LEED certification.  This tool is available free of charge and can be found on the LEED for Homes website (Home Scoring Tool)

Post By:

Katie Alman is a recent summer Intern at . She is completing  her marketing bachelors degree at Grand Valley State University.  She currently has interested in promoting healthy and affordable living and green building practices.