10 green building predictions for 2012

Earth Advantage Institute, a fellow nonprofit green building resource and LEED for Homes provider that has certified more than 12,000 homes, announced its annual prediction of 10 green building trends to watch in 2012 in as press release. seconds such predictions and puts in some of our own thoughts. 

The trends from a boom in certified multi-family construction to the advent of consumer friendly home energy technology.

  1. “Urban density. Millennials and boomers alike are choosing to live in the city where they can be closer to cultural activity, mass transit, more sustainable lifestyles, and other like-minded people, and builders must create more living space.  Builders are getting creative in gaining more living space through the construction of accessory dwelling units.”
  2. “Green multifamily homes. Earth Advantage Institute has seen a large spike in Northwest multifamily building certifications this past year, hinting that we might see a rise in certifications in 2012 as well.” has seen large spike in certified green projects for multifamily developments across the Midwest/
  3. “Energy upgrades start to drive home remodels. Builders and remodelers who are plugged into changing consumer preferences (smaller homes, reduced energy bills) have been able to capitalize on energy upgrade work.”
  4. “Deployment and testing of new materials. Although architects and builders are eager to try to new energy-saving materials and systems, these products require significant testing to ensure that the materials and benefits will last the life of the building and to avoid litigation.”
  5. “Consumer friendly home energy tracking devices. The introduction of the Apple-like Nest Learning Thermostat, and Belkin’s Conserve Insight energy use monitor that tracks energy use by appliance, are two of many sensor-based energy and water monitoring products for the home that are easy to use and help save money. Large electronics players like Fujitsu and Intel are also developing products, among others.”
  6. “Energy education for commercial tenants. The growing adoption of commercial building energy disclosure (New York; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; Austin) has building owners/operators and utilities seeking effective ways to educate tenants on saving energy.”
  7. “Transparency in home marketing. Builders, remodelers, and real estate professionals who can clearly educate their clients about the benefits and features of energy efficient, green homes will be those who earn the buyers’ confidence.”
  8. “More accurate appraisals. The ability for sellers and buyers to ask their banks for a green-certified appraiser means that the lending community will be open to the idea of the additional value and ROI offered by new certified homes and remodels.” – This is something or director is facing now. Attempting to get a proper appraisal for a moderate green home retrofit – you can learn more at
  9. “Broader adoption of residential energy ratings (and certifications!) for homes. Energy labeling systems are appearing in many states, offering estimates of a home’s energy consumption for homebuyers and homeowners.”
  10. Smart grid-compatible high-performance homes. Increasing numbers of home appliances are gaining the ability to monitor and report their own usage and to increase or decrease their electricity usage by remote command.

By Mary Beth Nevulis, HousingZone Contributing Editor

January 18, 2012

Free Webinars on LEED Homes. CEUs available!

, a leading LEED for Homes Provider working internationally, has partnered with Eco Achievers and developed an online educational offering available anytime, anywhere for no cost.

  • Introduction to LEED for Homes
  • LEED Multifamily Certification Options

Introduction to LEED for Homes (1 hour)
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has developed the LEED for Homes rating system, which covers major home renovations and new construction of single-family homes, multi- family apartments and condos, and mixed-use residential buildings. In this class, the LEED for Homes rating system will be introduced, and then applied to case studies relevant to the local market. Common myths regarding level of documentation, cost, and credit requirements will be dispelled.

Available as an online course with CEUs – Register Now
The course is $10.00, but you can receive it free using the coupon code: LEED101

Alternatively, if you are interested in the Introduction to LEED for Homes presentation but do not need/want continuing education credits, you can view the recording anytime.

LEED Multi-Family Certification Options (1 hour)
LEED offers a number of options for the certification of multi-family housing. Trends in multi-family housing show an increased interest in high-density green urban living. This discussion will present the various LEED options and help participants choose the most appropriate certification path.

Available as an online course with CEUs – Register Now
The course is $10.00, but you can receive it free using the coupon code: LEED171

Alternatively, if you are interested in the LEED Multifamily Certification Options presentation but do not need/want continuing education credits, you can view the recording anytime.


“River Escape” Home Tour – Pending LEED Platinum

On 11.11.11 come see an affordable home that was built to be 88% more energy efficient than and standard new code built home. This home is a Zero-Energy home that is projected to be a LEED for Homes “Platinum” project. The home is also a finalist for Green Builder Magazines 2011 Home of the Years. 
Pending AIA Approval
Please RSVP with us at.
616.957.LEED (5333) or at
“River Escape” Home Tour

November 11th at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm
7121 River Escape
Stanwood, Mi.
Sponsored by
Eric Hughes of Image Design, LLC
Adam Eerdmans of Turtle Walls
Tim & Dawn Gruss Home Owners

The “River Escape Project”
Resting in Western Michigan’s vacation wonderland, this home is located near the Muskegon River in Stanwood, Michigan with river access, thus the project name. This home is a site specific, 1,267 square foot Passive Solar Contemporary Style home built with BuildBlock ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) from frost protected shallow foundation to the SIP roof. The exterior elevations of the home were designed with deeper roof overhangs, determined by using solar calculations, to both maximize and minimize the sun exposure based on the time of year. The exterior used two of our favorite products James Hardie FiberCement Siding and MiraTec trim. The interior of the home has stained concrete floor on the main level which makes for great thermal mass. The home was also designed with lifetime design principles and has zero step entries.
Part of the passive solar design is to have very few windows on the non-south sides of the home, to keep heat from escaping through them. That is why this homes attention to detail is spent on the Southside of the home, where most of the homes windows face south. The windows in this home are made by North Star (Canadian made) which uses a transparent low-E film between the panes of glass with a foam spacer to get a triple pane effect without the weight or waste of extra glass. The window U-value is .24 with a much higher Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) on the South windows. In the winter, the sun will warm the living space during the day and shine on the concrete floors which will store some of the heat gained, for gradual release. The roof overhang will shade the house from excessive solar heat gain in the summer, and west-facing glass is minimized to reduce cooling needs in the summer. ICF construction was perfect for this project because with ICF’s there are no concerns with noise and wind. It is wonderful to quietly contemplate the winter storms swirling through the open fields and feel pleasantly comfortable. The “River Escape” project is a Zero Energy Home (ZEH) thanks to the Passive Solar Design, 4.1 kW of Photovoltaic, Solar Hot Water and a 98% efficient boiler for the radiant floor heat and hot water backup. The home is also pre-wired for future installation of a Wind Generator. This home only uses about 600 kWh of electricity per month and has been generating a minimum of 20 kWh of electricity per day and net-metering backwards every day since the home was completed in June. The home was built for $142.00 per square foot (before the 30% rebates from the Solar Hot Water, and Photovoltaic systems) making it more affordable for the general public. Besides the LEED for Homes “Platinum” certification (this project scored 32.5 points above “Platinum”) this home received 5+ Energy Star certification and a HERs score of 12. This is the lowest score ever tested in the State of Michigan making it the most energy efficient house in Michigan. This home is 88% more efficient than a conventional code built home. The home is also ZeroStep “Silver” Certified (Lifetime Design or Barrier Free) from Disability Advocates of Kent County Michigan. In addition this homes toilets, faucets and shower heads are super low-flow for superior water efficiency. The home also has low-VOC paints, adhesives and finishes and uses recycled content for the flooring, foundation, exterior walls, trim and siding. Every possible piece of unused material used in construction was recycled.

Key Sustainable/Green Features
• Rain Permeable Gravel Driveway.
• Lifetime Design (Barrier Free)
• Zero step entries.
• Energy Star North Star Triple Pane Windows.
• Energy Star LED & CFL lighting.
• Energy Star Ceiling Fans.
• Energy Star Appliances by Frigidaire.
• SIP Panel Roof
• Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (with R-20 Dow Insulation beneath it.)
• BuildBlock ICF Construction (with 40% Fly-Ash)
• Advanced Framing (Studs @ 24” o.c.)
• James Hardie FiberCement siding (with recycled content)
• MiraTec Trim (formaldehyde free, SCS Certified)
• Central Vacuum System (Greatly reduces in-door air pollutants)
• Concrete Floors through-out main floor. (Colored in the concrete mix)
• FSC certified Bamboo Flooring on second story.
• FSC certified stud interior walls.
• No-VOC Paints and primers.
• Low-VOC caulks and sealants.
• Amish Built Kitchen Cabinets from wood within 5 miles from the project site.
• Dual-Flush toilet by American Standard.
• Low flow shower heads and faucets.
• Pex Plumbing.
• Radon Venting.
• Radiant Heat Through-out Home.
• Life breath HRV (heat recovery ventilator)
• Passive Solar Design.
• Solar Hot Water. (30% Tax Rebate)
• 4.1kW of Photovoltaic (30% Tax Rebate)
• Pellet Stove (Back up Heat System)
• Pre-wired for a future Wind Generator.
• Pre-wired for future battery backup.

By Eric A. Hughes of Image Design, LLC

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.

Free Green Building Educational Offering from

Fall is an exciting time for and high-performance homes.  We will be offering several free LEED for Homes introductory classes that will introduce homeowners, builders, architects, developers, contractors and all interested in learning more about healthy, efficient, durable and affordable construction practices. Perfect for those who are looking to obtain their Green Associates or LEED AP Homes credential!

HOMES 252 – Full Day LEED for Homes Workshop

October 28, 2011 – Indianapolis, IN
Early bird pricing ends soon: Wed 10/19
November, 7th – Detroit, MI
Early bird pricing ends: Mon 10/31
November 11, 2011 – Chicago, IL
Early bird pricing ends: Tue 11/1

LEED 205 – Demystifying LEED for Homes. Free!

East Lansing – Oct 10th

Detroit – Oct 12th

Ann Arbor – Oct 19th

Flint – Oct 27th 

Kalamazoo – Nov 4th – Details TBA

In this 2-hour class, the LEED for Homes rating system will be explained, and then applied to case studies relevant to the local market. Common myths regarding level of documentation, cost, and credit requirements will be dispelled. The session will be followed by a catered networking lunch for attendees.


More details on the class(es) can be found here

USGBC Workshop:  Homes 252 Understanding the LEED for Homes Rating System

November, 7th, Monday 8:30 am – 5 PM. 

 71 Garfield LLC
71 Garfield
Detroit, MI 48210

Lunch will be provided

Faculty: Taught by USGBC-trained faculty with real-world expertise and LEED project knowledge to share.
Sign up today!

Can’t Make Detroit? This full-day workshop will also be offered in Chicago  and Indianapolis.

Midwest LEED for Homes Training Events – Sign up now!

In today’s business, LEED is the language of green. is now offering USGBC curriculum, with the following upcoming courses:

HOMES 252: Understanding the LEED for Homes Rating System
HOMES 301: Implementing the LEED for Homes Rating System

Learn how to apply the LEED for Homes rating system by walking through the phases and key decision points of a typical project. Engage with experienced LEED® Faculty™ and other participants to work hands- on with LEED implementation strategies and rating system tools.

Course Objectives

  • Communicate the unique aspects of LEED for Homes
  • Apply the LEED for Homes assessment and verification tools
  • Communicate the roles and responsibilities of various players in the LEED for Homes process
  • Identify key green decisions throughout the process of earning LEED for Homes certification


Taught by USGBC-trained faculty with real-world expertise and LEED project knowledge to share.


HOMES 301: Implementing LEED for Homes
ctober 21, 2011 – Detroit
8:30 am – 5:00 pm at 71 Garfield LLC

HOMES 301: Implementing LEED for Homes
October 28, 2011 – Indianapolis
8:30 am – 5:00 pm location TBD

HOMES 301: Implementing LEED for Homes
ovember 11, 2011 – Covington, KY
8:30 am – 5:00 pm at TBD

HOMES 301: Implementing LEED for Homes
November 11, 2011 – Chicago
8:30 am – 5:00 pm at Merchandise Mart

Reasonable sponsorship packages available. Inquire with for details.

EARLY BIRD RATE: $199 for registration before October 10.

STANDARD RATE: $249 for registration after October 10.

Pay via PayPal (PayPal account not necessary):

Choose City

Pay by Check:

947 Wealthy St Se
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Pay by phone: 616 – 458 – 6733

Questions? Contact Us.

Download & Share the Flyer

Legal & Business Perspectives on Green Building

Here is an event many LEED for Homes professionals may be interested in. Note: Early bird registration ends on Friday, May 21.

Green/LEED Real Estate Conference – Grand Rapids

Thinking about building green?  Hear from the experts who can help you do it right.  Discuss practical considerations from a business and legal perspective. Read more

Pella ProExpo offers snapshot of local industry

Pella Window and Doors is hosting an industry expo on March 18 called the ProExpo. It should prove to be indicator of the homebuilding industry, bringing together many exhibitors, and educational sessions on topics such as Read more

Nearly Free Seminars: Demystifying LEED for Homes

Before the ground completely thaws and the building season kicks off, Chicago’s local LEED for Homes provider, the Green Home Institute, is launching a series of green building seminars around the Chicagoland area.

The class, titled Demystifying LEED for Homes for Building Professionals, is a comprehensive overview of the LEED for Homes green building rating system. The class will discuss Read more

LEED for Homes Workshop on 11/3

Chicagoland will be bursting at the seams with capacity to build green homes after people attend the LEED for Homes workshop taught by USGBC on Wednesday, November 3 at the Merchandise Mart. Learn from the definitive source – especially if you are considering pursuing the LEEED AP+H designation. Read more