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.

  • 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™
    ecometrics llc
    P. 616.897.4967 C. 616.648.7493


Become LEED for Homes Green Rater

Chicago Green Rater Training – AIA/GBCI/Resnet CEUs

USGBC LEED® for Homes™ Green Rater Training

Co-sponsored with Energy Finance Analytics

There are currently over 75,000 registered LEED® for Homes™ projects nationwide, and each project requires third-party on-siteverification and performance testing. If you’re interested in filling this need as part of USGBC’s new LEED for Homes Green Rater program, this training is for you! The two-part LEED for Homes Green Rater Training is designed to prepare qualified participants to provide verification services on LEED for Homes projects. Applicants must meet initial qualifications and complete a two-part training (this two-day workshop and an online course component). Following the training, participants will take a computer-based exam provided by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) and complete a mentorship on real projects before earning the LEED for Homes Green Rater Certificate.

Learning Objectives

Identify responsibilities of a LEED for Homes Green Rater in each phase of a project
Manage and conduct verification activities
Effectively use the project checklist file
Communicate effectively with project teams and LEED for Homes Providers
Apply the sampling protocol on applicable projects
Prepare accurate and complete certification submittal packages
This training is intended for professionals with a minimum of three years’ experience in the residential construction industry and basic residential green building knowledge who are interested in providing verification services on LEED for Homes projects. Those with a background in on-site verification and/or energy rating are particularly qualified. This program is being co-sponsored with Energy Finance Analytics LLC, a RESNET training provider.

Meet LEED for Homes Green Rater Eligibility Qualifications.

Continuing Education
This course, like all USGBC LEED education programs, meets GBCI eligibility requirements for the LEED Green Associate.

RESNET: 14 professional development credits
GBCI CE: 14 hours (LEED Homes Specific)
AIA/CES: 14 HSW/SD Learning Units
BOMI: 14 (CPD)
CoreNet: 14 (CPD)
CSI: 1.6 (CEU)

Regular: $650
Early Bird: $595 (register before 6/8/2012)

Steps to Become a Green Rater

Step 1: Meet LEED for Homes Green Rater Eligibility Qualifications and submit application form to USGBC.
Step 2: Once accepted, complete five self-guided online learning modules prior to participating in the two-day LEED for Homes Green Rater Training.
Step 3: Take and pass LEED for Homes Green Rater exam through GBCI.
Step 4: Complete Green Rater Mentorship with a LEED for Homes provider within 24 months.
Step 5: Receive LEED for Homes Green Rater Certificate.
If you have any questions about Green Rater eligibility or working with a LEED for Homes provider, please contact Brett Little, Administrative Director.

Jason La Fleur, LEED AP+Homes and LEED for Homes Green Rater
Frank Pipal, Certified RESNET Trainer

Discounted lodging is available at a nearby Extended Stay America for $69.00 a night. When calling (630) 226-8966, mention the reservation name “LEED Homes” to receive the discount rate. Hotel Details.

Optional Mentorship Visit
Out of town class participants can sign up for an optional mentorship site visit to occur Thursday evening after class. Contact us for details.

Register here

Registration problems? Contact or (616) 458-6733

Congratulations Jimmie Sparks, Certified Green Rater in MN.

Jimmie Sparks of the neighborhood Energy Connection in St Paul MN has passed his Green Rater exam and is ready to service the state of Minnesota as a LEED for Homes Green Rater and HERS Rater.  If you have a new project or have program questions in that state please contact Jimmie below.


Jimmie Sparks
Residential Energy Program Manager
Neighborhood Energy Connection
624 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55104
651-221-4462 x123

Area served: Whole state of MN and the western edge of WI.
Other Services: HERS Rater


Christin Kappel passes Green Rater Exam

Christin Kappel, the Indiana facilitator has officially passed her Green Rater exam. She covers all of Indiana.  She can now officially begin rating new 2011 projects.

Contact her today to get your project started.

Office: 317-773-2207


Jeremy Truog passes Green Rater Exam

Jeremy Truog has been a Green Rater with the Green Home Institute for some time. He  covers north west and mid Michigan from Traverse City area.  He recently has just passed the Green Rater exam through the USGBC. He now can officially begin rating new 2011 projects.

Contact him today to get your project started.

Sustainable Environmental Services. Traverse City


GreenBuild registration discounted until Sept 7

We’re fortunate this year to have the world’s premiere conference and expo on green building coming to our backyard from November 17-19 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.  Here are some of the residential highlights:

Note: Early bird registration discounts will end Sept 7! Read more