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Abandoned house gets new life in planned LEED renovation

Indianapolis, IN)    GreenPath Homes will renovate a formerly abandoned 110-year old cottage in Fountain Square, Indianapolis, to the US Green Building Council’s rigorous LEED for Homes standard to show how distressed urban properties can be given new life as healthful, efficient homes.

In addition to reaching for the LEED Platinum certification level, GreenPath Homes is leading professional-level green building education and an extensive homeowner and community awareness campaign.  A 10-person project team has been planning the renovation and will document the credits for certification.  Open houses during and after construction will allow the public see inside the walls of a green home, and the project’s blog can be followed at www.takethegreenpath.com.

“This home will be the first LEED Platinum renovation in Indiana, and the second oldest home in the Midwest to receive this standard,” says William Wagnon, principal at GreenPath Homes and a LEED Accredited Professional for homes. “I hope homeowners, developers and even ‘flippers’ will take note of what new life can be possible with the City’s abandoned houses.”

Acquired through Southeast Neighborhood Development’s (SEND) Transfer and Transform Program, the home at 1055 Elm Street was once on a list of properties slated for demolition.  The planned renovation seeks to preserve character and charm of the 960sf, 2-bed 1-bath home, while updating the space use for modern lifestyles.  The home will also receive a deep energy retrofit including insulation, air sealing, high efficiency HVAC and Energy Star appliances. The energy model projects the home could be 40% more efficient than a standard home and 30% more efficient than an Energy Star home.

In committing to the LEED process, the project must also focus particular attention on:

  • Durability measures
  • Indoor air quality
  • Water efficiency strategies and storm water management
  • Environmentally preferable products and finishes

Being located within blocks of the heart of Fountain Square and the Cultural Trail, the home also has excellent access to community resources and public transportation, another component recognized in the LEED for Homes rating system.

The renovation is expected to get underway in December and be completed in just 2 to 3 months.  After work is complete, the home will be offered for sale.

William Wagnon, LEED AP for Homes, has been renovating distressed urban properties in Indianapolis since 2005, and recently organized GreenPath Homes to consult and contract with homeowners and developers for better urban living spaces.  His passion is smartly-designed small residential projects where he can preserve the charm of older homes and update their function for current lifestyles.

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. http://sumacgrove.blogspot.com/2013/01/certified.html

  • Sumac Grove certificateRecorded 1 Hour Webinar on the entire project – 1 AIA/GBCI 
  • Sign up for our mailing list  to stay informed on Spring 2013 Tours. Potential GBCI Credit

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

 

Ann Arbor Rehab, Green Building, Green Business

Ann Arbor Michigan, a hot bed for sustainable home development is at it again

with a LEED for Homes registered gut rehab that is on track to be Platinum Certified as well as net zero site energy. Dubbed the Rancho Deluxe project, this ambitious rehab will feature both the Atomic Zero Home and a new structure and the home offices of Urban Ashes, a small business owned and operated by Paul Hickman. This home will feature geothermal, occupancy sensors, 10 kws of PV, mostly locally sourced or re used products, storm water reduction, native meadow installed and more. The Urban Ashes Studio addition is rumored to be one of Ann Arbor’s first straw bale wall assemblies once approved by the city and the studio it self is an authentic sustainable business with a triple bottom line. The company utilizes otherwise thrown out city trees to build furniture and picture frames while employing transitional/disabled labor. The company was recently featured in a local West Michigan news story based in a made in Michigan edition

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

Real numbers for a LEED for Homes Indiana Success Story

The Gulyas residence in Bloomington, Indiana was one of the first homes in Indiana to receive LEED for Homes Platinum certification.  Through the use of passive house techniques and additional sustainable design strategies this project easily met and surpassed the criteria for LEED. 

A home energy metric measuring energy per square foot calculation and spreadsheet was created by Allison Bailes III, PhD, to help effectively measure electric and gas usage in a house.  used this spreadsheet on this project to help get an idea of how efficient the Gulyas residence is.  The number of kilowatt hours per year for electric (no gas is used) at the Gulyas residence is 6,675, which averages to 556.25 kilowatt hours per month.  The cost per year in 2011 was $960.07, averaging to $80.011 per month for all energy heating, cooling & electricity.  The spreadsheet also contains a helpful key which describes the efficiency of the house in terms of kilowatt hour per square foot per year.  Anything less than 5 is considered “super-efficient” and anything above 20 is considered an “energy hog.”  The Gulyas residence uses 4 kilowatt hours per square foot per year, describing it as super-efficient.  Click here for Gulyas’ actual electric bill for the past two years.

In terms of water use, contacted the City of Bloomington Utilities Department to find out the average water use per household in the city.  Each person uses approximately 2,500 gallons of water per month, which equals 2.5 units (1,000 gallons equals 1 unit).  This means that the average 2-person household uses 5 units of water per month, which is substantially higher than the Gulyas residence, which uses approximately 2 water units per month.  Click here to view the Gulyas residence water bill for the past two years.

The Gulyas house is still a work in progress.  Gulyas prioritized energy conservation technologies in the envelope design of the house, and integrated a separate ducted ERV system for exceptional air quality and energy conservation.  He also plans to install a low voltage cable lighting system throughout the open areas of the house, which will have high output 12v LED mr16s.  The new products have a very high color rendition index (CRI) in a variety of color temperatures, making it realistic to create very high quality lighting design while using a fraction of the energy of halogen (8-9 watts per lamp would be used as opposed to 50 watts).  Gulyas would also like to implement rainwater harvesting system, as well as a photovoltaic and/or solar thermal system. 

In summary, the statistics regarding the Gulyas residence are impressive.  He has implemented a variety of energy saving approaches and is looking toward the future to implement additional technologies to create a home that is even more efficient.  Stay tuned to find out what new developments take place as the Gulyas house progresses.

Read more on the project profile here.

 

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 zero energy.

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 http://www.madisonenvironmental.com/documents/NewenHouseHandout_10%2010%2011%20(3).pdf

You can contact Newenhouse at 608-220-8029 or Sonya@madisonenvironmental.com. A link to her blog is on the a at madisonenvironmental.com. 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. https://greenhomeinstitute.org/education-and-events/a-journey-to-passive-house-leed-homeowners-tale-free-webinar/

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

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/joe-orso-building-for-the-future/article_b4265ffc-709d-11e1-8457-001871e3ce6c.html

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/guest-blogs/cold-climate-passivhaus-construction-costs?utm_source=email&utm_medium=eletter&utm_term=energy-efficiency&utm_content=20120606-2012-iecc-specs&utm_campaign=green-building-advisor-eletter

 

Ravenswood Chicago LEED Gold Home

See project profile:

More project Details & Design Firm: http://www.bbaworld.com/pages/Press/Press-Releases/LEED.html

Top 10 Neighborhood in Nation just got greener with new LEED Home

The home at 1135 North Grove has earned LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding and design. It will be the first residence in Oak Park to receive LEED certification, and this new custom home was built for less than $150 per square foot.

1135 North Grove is one of 40 homes in Chicagoland that have been certified using LEED (view the LEED Project Profile).  The single-family home was built by Wicklow Development Group, renowned for their expertise in green building and historic preservation. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, Wicklow Development Group is helping to keep homeownership affordable. Green homes have substantially lower utility bills[1] and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives.

“As a LEED Platinum home, 1135 North Grove is at the national forefront of green homes, and serves as a model of healthy and efficient living for the entire community,” said Jason La Fleur, Regional Director for the Green Home Institute, who also served as the third-party verifier for the project. “Their example can help us all to live better by reducing our environmental footprint, cutting the costs of our utility bills, and coming home to a healthier place to live.” La Fleur is hosting a free webinar on May 9 for real estate professionals interested in learning more about LEED homes.

Oak Park Solar PV panels
Solar panels on the roof of 1135 Grove

1135 North Grove reduces energy use 66% below the typical new home built to code.  The four bedroom project features low-e argon windows, high efficiency lighting fixtures, detailed attention to preventing air leakage, and blown-in fiberglass insulation.  Other energy efficiency upgrades include a geothermal heating system which also provides most hot water heat, and a rarely-used backup electric water heater. An ultra-efficient electric induction cooktop is used in the kitchen. The roof angle was optimized for solar panels which produce electricity to power the home, without visually disturbing the home’s facade.

Located in one of the “Top 10 Neighborhoods in the Nation” according to the American Planning Association, the home features a very walk-friendly location in the heart of a neighborhood with many historic homes designed by notable architects.

Homeowner Tim Carey says, “Fitting a new construction home into a historic neighborhood creates a challenge for designers and builders. This project demonstrates that you can build a beautiful, traditional looking home, with a green design and features, yet keep with the character of an established community such as Oak Park.”

Electric induction cooktop and high end kitchen finishes


Induction cooktop and high-end kitchen finishes

As a result of incorporating energy saving products and technologies, 1135 North Grove has achieved an impressively low 34 Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score. Additionally, the combination of electric using-and-producing systems at 1135 North Grove has resulted in affordable energy bills for the homeowners who have been living in the home for a full year. The house has had modestly low electricity bills, and as an all-electric home no natural gas is used, so there are no natural gas bills.

A heat recovery ventilator provides fresh air distributed throughout the home to keep it healthy for the homeowners and recovering some of the energy used to condition the air. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and locally sourced materials have been used throughout the house.  Proving building green can be done affordably, 1135 North Grove was built with a total construction cost of $145 per square foot after renewable energy incentives, below the Chicagoland average construction cost for custom new homes.

 

Learn more and see construction photos at the project web site for 1135 North Grove, or view theLEED Project Profile for the home.

About Wicklow Development Group

The Wicklow Development Group LLC are landmark building and restoration professionals, and have been a Chicagoland builder for over 25 years with a passion for historic preservation and green building expertise.   For more information, contact Paul Wicklow 708-351-9683, or visitwww.wicklowdevelopmentgroup.com/greenhome.

High Performance Cottage Home builder, builds his own home LEED

Being a LEED AP Homes and having completed almost a dozen LEED certified homes Jeremy vanEyk, Construction Manager & Vice President of Cottage 

Home, has seen the benefits of what goes into a LEED home, and wanted to experience it first hand. For his family it was important to be close to the places they go the most. With the kids’ school only two blocks up the road and downtown being so close to this location, it just made sense. Working in the lakeshore environment and observing how homes react in some of the most drastic weather conditions also influenced how Jeremy chose to put the house together; choosing to go beyond building code and accepted building practices and striving to reach some of the highest standards in energy efficiency and sustainability. As it was built amongst some of the oldest homes in  the city, the house needed to blend in and age as gracefully as those around it.