WI Platinum 2.5k Square foot Home averages $30 energy bills

Thanks to Jetson Green for sharing this awesome post! (Article written by Christine Walsh on Nov. 28, 2013)


Architect Virge Temme of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin recently received the LEED Platinum for Homes certification for a private residence she designed near Gills Rock. The home was built by Bay Lakes Builders, and the plans were based on the collaboration of all members of the construction and design team so as to ensure proper integration of all systems. The electric and fuel bills for this 2,600-square-foot house were less than $30 per month on average during its first year. This is only the seventh home in Wisconsin to receive the LEED Platinum certification.

The building process started with the excavation of the meadow where the house stands, while the top soil was stockpiled and used for final grading later. Once the foundation was complete, the foundation forms were stripped and the below-slab plumbing and electrical runs installed. The builders continued with laying thermal tarp to protect the home from freezing rains. This was followed by the installing of under-slab insulation. All the joints were staggered and sealed in this process to prevent air movement between layers. Furthermore, all the penetrations through insulation were foam sealed, which protects against cold seepage and potential Radon gasses.

The roof was then installed, using 16″ I-joists to reduce thermal transmission and to provide additional insulation depth. The I-joists were placed directly over the studs below and the framed walls with studs at 24″ on center to reduce redundant top plate, which also reduced the overall framing materials need. The rafters were then screwed and strapped to studs to provide additional protection from wind. All the intersections were then foam-sealed.

To provide a continuous envelope 3/8″ OSB was added to the under side of rafters. Double 2-4 plates were screwed below the rafters to provide an electrical chase, eliminating the need for roof penetrations. The builders also used ladder framing, which greatly reduced the amount of redundant materials at wall-to-wall connections. Double-wall construction also eliminated thermal bridging and provided space for additional insulation.



The house has insulation values of R-45 for walls, R-60 for the roof, and R-30 for ground insulation. Together with passive solar orientation and specially-coated windows to introduce solar warming, and which also feature overhangs to protect from summer over-heating, there is no need for a furnace or a boiler for space heating.

Other sustainable features of the home include:

– Sustainably-harvested framing materials
– Recycled/recyclable metal siding, roofing and insulation
– Drought-tolerant plants replanted around the home
– Rain gardens for roof runoff
– Only low- or no-VOC paints, adhesives and insulation were used to ensure better air quality
– Floors are made of concrete and sustainably harvested bamboo
– Only highly efficient appliances, lighting fixtures, and plumbing were installed
– The building process resulted in almost no construction waste

View LEED project Profile Here 





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Glenn Retreat

Glenn Retreat LEED Home has Innovative Blackwater Design Feature

The “Glenn Retreat” project exemplifies water use reduction both outdoor and indoor, with a 72% reduction in irrigation due in part by
photothe AdvanTex(R) Wastewater Treatment Systems manufactured by Orenco (R) that is a environmentally sustainable wastewater treatment technology that treats blackwater and greywater so well that the treated effluent can be re-used for subsurface irrigation (We achieved a additional LEED innovation point with this system). Along with Infiltrating Rain Gardens, Edible Forest Gardens, Extensive use of Native Drought Tolerant Plants and Eco Turf Grass on the outside and with low flow WaterSense certified toilet and fixture on the inside this project achieved almost every point under Water Efficiency in the LEED for Homes checklist. Our approach to handling waste water and storm water turned a negative attribute into a positive one; and created a drought tolerant and low maintenance landscape.

glenn label

The site’s soil composition has high clay content, and coupled with a high water table makes for a less desirable building site. Fill dirt and sand were added to the center of the site to elevate the house a few feet above grade. Drain tiles and French drains were installed around the house to channel water into swales and rain gardens which we developed along the north, east and west property lines. This watering system has proven sufficient to support the wide variety of plant life added to the property. Our system eliminated the painstaking task of cleaning rain gutters too because we didn’t need to install any. The high water table also presented a challenge for the septic system. We selected an advanced system  that uses a smaller drain field, and generates effluent certified by NSF International for subsurface irrigation. A native wildflower and prairie grass landscape is being developed on the septic drain field. Key Features Fabral Metal Roof (Energy Star) Exterior Construction is Advanced Framing @ 24″ o.c. 8″ of Agri based Open Cell Foam Insulation in attic. (R40) 4″ Ridged Foam Insulation under the Slab. (R-20) 3″ of Agri based Open Cell Foam Insulation on interior crawl space foundation walls. Exterior walls are Air Sealed with 5″ Cellulose Insulation (R-22) with 1″ Dow Styrofoam SIS Sheathing (R-5.5). (stops Thermal Bridging) James Hardie cement board siding. (with recycled content) MiraTec trim. (formaldehyde free, SCS Certified) 93% of Construction waste was diverted fro the landfills.

Watch a two part video series where we go into the homes and interview the homeowner and architect. 

See more pictures & details on Houzz

PDF project profile 

Sketch up drawings 



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

QAP_Energy Star Homes _ HVAC Know How Graphic Brett

Energy Star V3 Homes – HVAC Lessons Learned – Recorded Webinar CEUs

In this webinar, Ryan Miller, Program Manager of Advanced Energy’s Quality-Assured Professional (QAP) for HVAC program, one of two national HVAC Contractor credentialing programs for the ENERGY STAR® Certified New Homes program v3.0, will present lessons learned from the HVAC Contractor owner/operators the program has worked with during its first year in operation.QAP_Energy Star Homes _ HVAC Know How Graphic Brett

Topics include:

1.    The changing role of HVAC Contractors working in the ENERGY STAR® program.  What HVAC Contractors are required to do and should be doing.

2.    How to save time, money, and increase customer satisfaction by performing quality ENERGY STAR® work.  Tips for developing internal quality control plans and procedures will be provided.

3.    Training crews on performing ENERGY STAR® jobs.  What they need to know, how you can train them, and resources available to them that can decrease their time and cost on jobs while increasing quality.

4.    Marketing your company as a (ENERGY STAR® v3.0 required) credentialed HVAC Contractor.  Tips for setting your company apart from others in the market.

5.    How to evolve your role with Builders and Raters from receiving design plans to having significant input in the upfront design process.  How acting as an HVAC design advisor on ENERGY STAR® jobs, not just an installer, can yield across the board savings for all parties involved and reduce comfort issues.

Target Audience: HVAC Contractor owner/operators currently working in or interested in working in the ENERGY STAR® Certified New Homes program.  Prior experience in the ENERGY STAR® program is not necessary

Recording can be viewed here 

Please take a min to fill out this survey after viewing. Thank  you! 

Ryan Miller PICInstructor

Ryan Miller: Project Manager II and Quality-Assured Professional (QAP) Program Manager, Advanced Energy Corporation

Ryan Miller joined Advanced Energy in 2011 to manage residential new construction projects for utility and other clients from across the country.  As a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Six Sigma Black Belt, Miller brings significant project management and business process improvement experience to the organization and its customers.

In 2012, Miller managed the development and launch of the first nationwide residential energy efficiency program in Advanced Energy’s 30-plus year history with the Quality-Assured Professional (QAP) program.  As Program Manager, Miller is responsible for the managing the strategic direction of the program as well as the day-to-day administration of the staff and program participants.

Prior to joining Advanced Energy, Miller was the Operations Manager for a home performance contractor in Durham, NC, where he learned energy efficiency improvements and HVAC contracting from the ground-up.  Managing the office and warehouse functions of the company, Miller made significant operational and financial improvements to the organization.  Prior to this experience, Miller served as Business Process Manager for Texas Electric Cooperatives (TEC) in Austin, TX.  In this position, Miller again tackled business and system improvement projects throughout the state, working closely with the statewide electric cooperatives and other utilities to lower costs, improve efficiencies, and lead training initiatives. 

AIA & GBCI CEUs In order for CEUs to be processed we will need a  small donation based on what value you found on the course. As a 501(c)3 charitable organization (view our details), we deliver green building education courses throughout the Midwest at minimal cost and at no profit. Please support us to help keep these going. Your donation to the Green Home Institute may be tax-deductible. Please check with your accountant or tax attorney for details.


Quality Assured HVAC Training – ESV3 – High Performance Professional

QAD HVAC ESV3 AE has Partnered with Advanced Energy To help  HVAC contractors Qualify as High Performance Home leaders. Those installing systems in ENERGY STAR qualified homes are need to ensure are properly trained and qualified to perform HVAC QI services, EPA is requiring that contractors:

  1. Document that they possess the knowledge, skills, abilities, and tools (e.g., through training, work experience, and/or company policies) to effectively deliver the services required in the ENERGY STAR HVAC QI checklist; and
  2. Be credentialed and subject to oversight/quality assurance by an independent, third-party organization.

 Cost: $100 – $350 depending on location*

Other Fees (1/2 – 1/3 the cost of ACCAs program)

  • $199 Application Fee
  • $299 per year renewal fee
  • $35 per job up to 50 jobs
  • less for more than 50 jobs

Why Become Qualified High Performance Energy Star Version 3 Contractor


  • Scalability – whether you are working on one house or 5,000, our program offers scalability to fit your needs.  The primary fee associated with our program is a per-unit quality assurance review process, meaning that you only pay for what you use.
  • Technical assistance – if you find yourself struggling while out on an install or designing a duct system, Advanced Energy is here to help you.  As a participating contractor, you have easy access to the technical resources you need to ensure quality work on your ENERGY STAR installations.
  • Contractor development – our program is more than just a certification, we strive to make you better. If you think your business could use some additional help, or if the program’s standards are not being met, hands-on training and consulting will be provided by program staff to get you up to speed. We can also help you put the policies and procedures into place to ensure quality installation to help you continue working on ENERGY STAR jobs.
  • Streamlined ENERGY STAR quality assurance process – we have automated the reporting process making it quick and easy to track your progress and view all of your ENERGY STAR jobs in one place.
  • Click here to view or download our Program Brief for HVAC Contractors.

HVAC Quality Installation Oversight Organizations (H-QUITOs) are the EPA-recognized independent, third-party oversight organizations that establish the required credentialing programs and provide oversight/QA activities for HVAC contractors who install systems in Version 3 ENERGY STAR qualified homes.


Event Title / Location

Mon, Apr 29, 2013
8:15 AM – 5:15 PM
Quality Assured HVAC Training – ESV3 – High Performance Professional 
WARM Training Center
Detroit MI
Tue, Apr 30, 2013
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Energy Star Version 3 for HVAC Contractors – Get Credentialed 
Jackson Systems
Indianapolis IN
Tue, Apr 30, 2013
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Quality Assured HVAC Training – ESV3 – High Performance Professional 
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC)
Madison Wisconsin

What the H-QUITO Does

As an H-QUITO, Advanced Energy is required to:

  • Develop and maintain a credentialing program for qualified contractors;
  • Provide general orientation training for contractors on the ENERGY STAR Version 3 guidelines;
  • Maintain a database and a publicly-available, online list of credentialed participating contractors;
  • Conduct periodic quality assurance of participating contractors;  and
  • Develop and maintain a participating contractor dispute resolution process that includes procedures for investigation of complaints, contractor probation, dismissal, and appeals.

More From the GBA Blogs – The 7 Biggest Opportunities for HVAC Contractors

Sumac Grove

Greenest Home in West Michigan Certifies LEED Platinum

LEED Snapshot Main Photo

1 Hour Recorded Webinar Available Now – 1 AIA/GBCI

” In the 5 years I have been involved with and Regional Green Building Certified Homes, I think I can finally throw my 2 cents in the ring and call this the Greenest Home in West Michigan” – Brett Little, Executive Director

What make’s it the Greenest? For starters, Michael Holcomb – President/CEO and owner of Home Inspector General has called this “the tightest home I have ever tested.” It comes in at 0.44 ACH @50PA (for all you energy geeks). Michael has test 1,000’s of homes and buildings in the Midwest in his 20 years of experience so that is saying something.

Next, this project almost achieved passive house standards! Sam worked an experienced PHIUS rater “John Semmelhack” to use the advanced modeling software to design his house. The house tested below the air change requirements of Passive House but only made 7.20 KBTu’s as opposed to the required 4.75 ( Energy Geek Talk)  Sam’s reasoning’s  “The primary driver of that cost was the building geometry.  Since a primary objective was to build a barrier free home, we designed it all to be on one level.  This meant that the ratio of exterior wall and roof area to the floor area was not optimal for thermal design (of Passive House).  It was more important to us to have the barrier free design that to meet the PH requirements, though we came very close.  The only changes we made from the original PH design was to reduce the thickness of the perimeter walls from 22” to 19”, and specify a window that was not quite as high performing as the one that would attain the PH rating.” Sam told me that there was 99 year back on the window required to meet the standard (at that time).

3rd, First Zero Energy Home in West Michigan (if anyone wants to dispute that let us know!). Obviously we can’t officially call it Zero Energy without a year’s worth of data but we will keep you all up to date to see it makes it. The HERS score is not 0 but it is 18 which  is the lowest in West Michigan with A home in Stanwood and hour north getting a 12. There is a lot of mis-information out there stating that  a HERS of zero is required to be “Zero Energy” but in practice we see homes scoring HERS of 35 and  achieving Zero Energy.

LEED Label for Sumac Grove Sam Pobst LEED certified PlatinumLast, LEED for Homes Platinum Certification has been achieved. This
requires 3rd party onsite verification that proves you the home is green through actual testing.

But, but… This project is in Lowell outside of an Urban Area and lacks community resources and connectivity. It’s true, the one place that this house poorly scores is in location efficiency. You can find data to support that reliance on automobiles is more costly and has more CO2 emissions than very well insulated home. Currently Sam is using the home as his office as well  as his living space and so he does not have to drive to an office in a far away location. He can grow alot of food on the site as well and eventually add more solar and purchase an electric car to power it with all Solar.

This must have cost millions right? 

“We spent $167.00/Square Feet, but if you add in O+P, Design fees, and my sweat equity, I estimate about a $200/ SF cost to construct.”

•         Gross SF                                            2010

•         Basement SF                                    851

•         Conditioned SF                               2547

•         Garage / Workshop                      621

•         $167/SF  Hard cost

•         $200/ SF Buildable cost

  1. + Overhead and Profit
  2. + Design fees
  3. + Sweat Equity

 PDF Project Profile Details 

Further Resources 

Read back on Sam’s progress documented on his Blog and stay informed as he monitors the home’s energy use, durability, comfort, indoor air quality and water use.

  • Contact with Questions Sam Pobst, BO+M, BD+C, Homes and ID+C, a USGBC LEED Faculty™
    ecometrics llc
    P. 616.897.4967 C. 616.648.7493


Cottage Home LEED for Homes Lakefront

Cottage Home Sets New Standard for Sustainable Lakefront Living

Using his home building expertise, Brian Bosgraaf started Cottage Home in 2000 specializing in building custom homes along Lake Michigan. Cottage Home has designed and built more than 70 custom homes along the West Michigan shoreline, including 13 LEED certified homes. In an interview with Brian, he expressed his passion for LEED certification and sustainable construction practices.

When Brian and Jeremy vanEyk (Vice President) were asked about their commitment to building LEED, they responded that Cottage Home is committed to utilizing healthy, affordable, efficient, and durable construction practices that are already above code, energy star and even LEED at times. Brian says he considers LEED only one of the many tools in his toolbox. Other such tools include creative design, customer service, careful selection of materials, and creating a sense of place. In order to make it simple for the customer, Cottage Home uses a fixed price prior to starting construction which already includes LEED qualifications. This allows some of the cost of LEED certification to be absorbed by both the customer and through the Cottage Homes marketing budget.  Brian believes this method works due to his design and construction teams working together throughout the construction process, which creates a feedback loop that fosters constant improvement.  Including LEED certification into the final cost helps facilitate more sales than presenting each option with separate pricing.

Since many homeowners today are educated and concerned about sustainability and environmental issues,  many take time to study the details of LEED on the website of Cottage Home and take comfort in knowing LEED is a third party certification. Clients are aware of LEED’s achievements and credibility, and often wonder about how changes to the house affect the LEED certification level. Much of Cottage Home’s customer base is from the Chicago area where LEED is prevalent in their office buildings, and a result, many clients have experienced the advantages offered by LEED construction firsthand. These clients have often already invested in commercial LEED projects and are now ready to transition these same high standards to their personal lives. Jeremy decided to experience the benefits of LEED firsthand and chose to have his own house in Zeeland, certified LEED Platinum.

Building on the lake front comes with complications such as extreme wind loads, humid changes, temperature fluctuation, and other variables. To overcome these challenges, Cottage Home uses high performance home measures to control the entire process though design, build, and some maintenance which allows more control of green features. Cottage Home designs and builds what is right for each particular home which may result in homes varying in different HVAC, insulation, passive solar heating, and various climate control systems.  One particular feature that is commonly used in these homes, including Jeremys, is an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator).   An ERV automatically exhausts stale air from the inside of the house and replaces it with fresh air from the outside.  Another key feature used in many of the homes is a geothermal system.  There are a few different types used, but all contribute to the energy efficiency of the homes in some way.  Several techniques are used to increase water efficiency in the homes, such as tankless water heaters, which only heat water when necessary, water collection systems to help with sprinking and irrigation, and faucets and showerheads that work with less water than traditional ones.  Insulation, as well as materials such as flooring, home furnishings and walls are all aspects that need to be carefully considered when building these homes.

As leaders in the industry we asked Brian and Jeremy what they saw in the future of design and construction. Jeremy believes that being able to evaluate the effectiveness of high performance systems and insulation through energy bills is important. Along with water collection systems to reduce storm water runoff and help irrigate the lawn.  Brian agrees that we should have a system to allow clients to ensure they are getting the most effective homes. He foresees homes that can be manipulated to meet the client’s needs at any given time. An example of this would be homes with the ability to accommodate a family of four, which can then transition to accommodate sleeping arrangements for twenty. Along with being able to better meet a client’s needs, he would like to see energy loads distributed to only sections of the house in use, as well as the ability for clients to control how energy is used throughout the home (on site and from satellite locations).  Cottage Home sees one challenge to moving forward with these ideas is getting sub-contractors to approach basic air sealing, insulation, proper HVAC sizing, and design aesthetics with an effective mindset. Cottage Home has established themselves as innovators and leaders in the design of luxury LEED lake front homes. They continue to partner quality, design and the environment hand in hand to produce sustainability along our beaches.

Quick Numbers – Average HERS Score 51 Average LEED score 75 

Learn & see more about their LEED projects below.

51 W. Central

Beach House on Monroe Blvd.

Fabun Road Cottage

Green Cottage at Suequehanna

LakeBridge Beach House

LakeBridge One

Monroe Beach House

North Beach Cottage

Northgate Lake Home

Pier Cove Cottage

Summer’s Gate 4 and 8

The Havens Cottage

Waukazoo Woods Residence




2012 IECC

2012 IECC Energy Code vs Green Home Certifications

2012 IECCMany states are in the process of adopting in whole or with modifications the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  This new code raises the bar in construction design for residential and commercial structures, and as a result, architects / engineers / contractors building to the new code will be affordably offer a choice to their clients for pursuing several above-code certifications such as Energy Star and LEED without too much additional effort or cost.

The new national energy code includes mandatory blower-door testing for building air leakage (less than <3.0 ACH at 50 pascals), which will measure how well contractors have sealed up penetrations between the outdoors and indoor conditioned space. This testing will be required for all projects permitted after the new code goes into effect. Some states have made modifications to the adopted code, such as Illinois which has changed the ACH rate to 5.0 ACH @ 50.  View our archived July 12 webinar to learn more about IL Energy Code changes.

Other aspects of the 2012 IECC such as requiring hot water pipe insulation and mechanical ventilation are new items that projects will need to implement.  Learn more on a free webinar held Thursday July 12.

So, how do national IECC 2012 requirements relate to voluntary above-code programs like Energy Star, LEED and Passive House?  Pretty well actually. has assembled a matrix identifying several energy-related items as written in the code and indicated what the impact or requirements would be in one of these above-code third-party green certification programs. Download national comparison matrix as PDF.
(Illinois-specific modifications are shown in the image below)

What does this mean?  Well just by building to the new code, these projects will be very close to meeting the Energy Star for Homes program requirements, and will score very well in programs that require Energy Star version 3 such as LEED or Green Communities. Other green programs that don’t require Energy Star, such as National Green Building Standard or local green home programs will also heavily reward these projects.

LEED for Homes will be requiring Energy Star version 3 beginning at the end of the year, so right now a project can still earn LEED certification by building to Energy Star version 2 requirements which should be easily met on any home that meets IECC 2012.

Take advantage of this sweet spot and earn market recognition by attending a LEED workshop or sign up to earn LEED certification today!

Newenhouse Passive House LEED

Wisconsin Passive House owner says drop on by anytime!

“I want as many people to come into this house as possible. Anyone who reads this can knock on my door and I’ll give them a tour. The whole point is to share and learn from each other, to take ideas from here and do them elsewhere.” – Sonya Newenhouse

With Carly Coulson as the certified Passive House designer. This tiny (968-square-foot) kit house has a treated floor area of 888 square feet (82.5 m²). This project sports local windows and Cardinal triple-pane glass, while the doors are Energate. The NewenHouse is wrapped in a jacket of cellulose – and similarly comes in well under the specific space heating demand.

Carly recently presented the project at the Hannover Passivhaus conference. Here are some of the project specs:

  • Space heating demand: 11.4 kWh/m²a (3.61 kBTU/ft²a)
  • Primary energy demand: 104 kWh/m²a (32.9 kBTU/ft²a)
  • Blower door: 0.51 ach50
  • Wall U-factor: 0.09 W/m²K (R-63)
  • Slab U-factor: 0.10 W/m²K (R-57)
  • Roof U-factor: 0.06 W/m²K (R-94)
  • (7,795 HDDs)

The project is also rocking a solar domestic hot water system (Velux) that is expected to provide nearly two-thirds of the domestic hot water needs, and a PV system for site net zeroenergy.

The project went through BRE in Watford, UK, for Passivhaus certification, is Energy Starcertified, and is expected to hit LEED for Homes Platinum after Landscape verification by the Green Rater Laura Paprocki.

Total cost for NewenHouse – including solar DHW, PV, and accessory structures – is a whopping $173/sf. If there was a LEED Titanium, this über-tiny Passivhaus in an “extreme” environment would surely qualify.

Newenhouse, who aptly describes herself as an eco-entrepreneur, is also founder and president of Community Car LLC in Madison, and just sold the Madison Environmental Group, a business she founded 13 years ago, to an employee. In the next year, she plans to launch a business selling three house designs — a 500-square-foot one-bedroom, an 800-square-foot two-bedroom, and a 1,000-square-foot three-bedroom. An option for a detached stuga, Swedish for “cabin,” includes storage space, a root cellar, sleeping loft, sitting area and wood stove. With her business, Newenhouse says she is trying to bring together three movements: the green building movement, the small house movement and the sustainable- or simple-living movement.

A brief overview of her kit house can be found at

You can contact Newenhouse at 608-220-8029 or A link to her blog is on the a at Or if you’re planning to drop in, which she says she welcomes, she lives at 422 Hickory St. in Viroqua WI.

Want to learn more about Passive House features & LEED?   is hosting a free webinar of another Homeowner’s journey in Michigan who attempted passive house & is on track for LEED Platinum. Missed it? It will be recorded and a 2 hour video series on it’s construction & post occupancy living will be out by Fall.

This article is a mash up between Joe Orso of the Lacrosse Tribune and Mike Eliason of Green Building Advisor. Their stories can be found here


LEED for Home for Sale Michigan

Michigan LEED Gold Home for Sale featuring $87.38/month utility bills.

This home designed by the architect Eric Hughes, Image Design is located east of Kingsley Michigan approximately 20 minutes from central Traverse City. Built in 2009 this home was the Renewable Energy Tour Home for the 2009 Michigan Energy Fair and was awarded the 2009/10 Insulating Concrete Form Association National Gold Award for Small Residential Construction. This home is located on a quiet dirt road with easy access to M113, Traverse City, and Cadillac. State forest and public lands are within easy walking distance. Countryside views abound and it doesn’t get much quieter. In addition to a LEED Gold rating the home received a 5+ Energy Star certification and a HERS score of 48. The links below provide detailed information on the energy saving features of the home. This is not a short sale.

Primary Features:

* 3 bedrooms including master suite on main floor.

* 2.5 baths * Main floor laundry (washer and dryer included).

* 2010 and 2011 total utility bills averaged $1048 annually or $87.38/month.

* Buildblock insulated concrete form walls.

* Anderson 400 windows.

* Soytherm spray foam insulation.

* Toto dual flush ADA compliant toilets.

* Cement fiberboard siding.

* Premium Kasselwood metal roof shingles.

* No mechanical HVAC, a Tulikivi masonry stove provides soothing radiant heat with backup electric baseboards. (, model TTU2700 with bake oven)

* The entire house has been heated by roughly 7-10 face cords of hardwood firewood per winter. Wood was cut from the property (ash and sugar maple), purchased commercially this would be roughly $425.

* One fire a day is sufficient for 95% of the heating season. No constant stoking required.

* Energy star ceiling fans provide all the “AC” you ever need.

* Window overhangs allow in winter sun but block summer sun.

* Maple, tile, and polished concrete flooring throughout.

* Solar hot water system with 85 gallon insulated Marathon electric water heater.

* No-VOC paints, floor treatments, and caulks.

* Energy Star refrigerator (included) and washer.

* Soapstone countertops.

* 80% efficiency whole house Heat Recovery Ventilator (filters included).

* Pre-wired for future wind turbine installation. Fantastic wind generator site with no obstructions.

* External plug and wiring ready for a full size home generator.

* Home architectural plans available upon request.


* Built summer 2011.

* Detached 3 stall garage with a 12′ x 12′ basement and adjacent 12′ x 12′ stone floored ventilated root cellar.

* 24′ x 24′ loft over the middle two stalls designed to be finished for guest quarters or home office.

* North stall could be used for storage, tractor, or third vehicle. South stall could easily be finished as a workshop.

* Cement fiberboard siding and standing seam metal roof.

* Large double doors facing the garden for easy entry/exit with garden equipment.

* Plans available for enclosed walkway between garage and house mudroom.

Additional Features:

* Organic garden, fruit trees, nut trees, raspberries, and asparagus planted

* Built in entertainment center and kitchen seating/storage

* Programmable in floor radiant electric heat in all bathrooms

* Automatic dog door

* Fantastic birding site with nesting eastern meadowlarks, bobolinks, upland sandpipers, northern harriers, American woodcock, and others commonly seen from the back windows.

* Additional acreage available includes 25 acres of northern hardwoods managed for sustainable timber production and wildlife habitat. 7 acres of native warm season grasses were planted in 2011. Deer and turkeys are harvested every year from this property. Owner is a wildlife habitat biologist.

* Great neighbors and countryside views.

More information and pictures of the home can be found at the following links. All pictures were taken prior to additional improvements and construction of the detached garage and root cellar. Cut and paste links into your browser.

LEED Certification score sheet and description

Northern Express article on the home.

2009 Michigan Energy Fair Renewable Energy Home Tour:

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