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Leff Project – LEED Platinum Single Family

West Michigan Organizations Awarded LEED Homes Power Builders

availalbe-lake-michigan-cottageRecently two West Michigan Organizations were awarded the distinguishing “LEED Homes Power Builders Award by the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council). Through this award and others, the USGBC recognizes projects, architects, developers and home builders who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation in the residential green building marketplace.

The “LEED Homes Power Builders,” was developed by the USGBC to honor an elite group of developers and builders who have exhibited an outstanding commitment to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the green building movement within the residential sector. In order to be considered as a Power Builder, developers and builders must have LEED-certified 90 percent of their homes/unit count built in 2015 at any LEED certification level.

group (1)One of the great benefits of the LEED certification process is that it can apply to very different projects types. As you will see with the two organizations recognized, LEED certification has important benefits to low-income houses in urban settings to higher end homes in remote settings. Both organizations benefit from using the LEED certification process to add validation to their building efforts and to ensure the homeowner is getting a quality built efficient home.

Cottage Home based of out Holland and Habitat for Humanity of Kent County were the two West Michigan recipients honored with the recognition of Power Builders. While they are in different segments of the development and remodeling of homes in West Michigan, both are setting the standard for sustainable building practices.

house_constructionHabitat for Humanity of Kent County  is on their way to completing 150 homes and counting in the Kent County/Grand Rapids area that has achieved some level of LEED Certification.  Corri Sandwick Home Performance Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County stated that the organization started seeking LEED Certifications in 2006 and by 2007 all new homes built were LEED Certified.

Recently, they have been one of the first builders committed to building according to the new and more stringent LEED v4 criteria even before it had been fully finalized. Sandwick said it started in partnership with Grand Rapids Community College Residential Construction Program in celebration of their 100th anniversary. The two organizations decided to try a v4 build. Once they accomplished that build, Habitat Kent decided to build all future homes to the same criteria knowing it would soon be the standard. To date, Habitat Kent has completed 10 LEED v4 certified homes.

Habitat Kent has aggressive goals in the future both related to  LEED but also participates in programs such as Energy Star.  Habitat Kent is also considering the benefits of getting involved in Zero Energy Ready and the EPA’s Water Sense Program. Building homes that are sustainable just make sense for Habitat Kent. It sets homeowners up for success, keeps costs down for homeowners and aligns with Habitat Kent’s partner organizations’ principles. Habitat Kent states that by being wise about green building, they include only what will be most beneficial to families. This creates a healthful environment and drastically reduces energy and water use, saving Habitat Kent homeowners thousands of dollars. For a family of four living on $30,000 a year, reducing their utility bills to an average $105 a month goes a long way in helping them be successful in their home.

beach-house-south-haven-300x199Cottage Home based out of Holland is the other recipient of this prestigious title. According to Jeremy Vaneyk construction manager, they started building based on LEED criteria in 2008 and to date have built 100 sustainable homes along the lakeshore. Vaneyk also said that 31 homes have achieved a LEED certification with 13 of those homes being Platinum certified. Building sustainably is very important to Cottage Home. Both Vaneyk along with Founder Brian Bosgraff both live in LEED Certified homes and can use their experience as builders and homeowners to help their clients. Cottage Home strongly believes it is their responsibility to build with the environment in mind. The LEED certification process provides their clients with a validation that their home is being built to some of the most stringent standards. LEED certification is one of the many tools they use to build focusing on air quality, energy efficiency and site preservation as a core foundation of the build. It is much more than a certification process to Cottage Home but more of a business philosophy.

IMG_2506 (1)Both Cottage Home and Habitat for Humanity of Kent County are equally passionate about green building and both use the LEED Certification process to set the bar for sustainable building in West Michigan. Their business while different in many regards is also very similar in others. They both show a strong desire to build with the environment in mind and factoring in their homeowners wants and needs.

LEED has become the world’s most recognized rating system for green buildings. The LEED for Homes rating system was created as a way for single-family homes and multifamily buildings to achieve LEED certification. LEED for Homes projects undergo a technically rigorous process to become certified, including multiple on-site inspections and diagnostic tests. According to Green Home Builder, more than 230,000 single family and multifamily units are certified or registered. USGBC is working to make the LEED residential program even more accessible and utilized by builders, developers, and architects. LEED v4, the latest version, will be required for new projects certifying after October 2016. USGBC’s recent Green Building Economic Impact Study found that the residential green construction market is expected to grow from $55 million in 2015 to $100.4 million in 2018, representing a year-over-year growth of 24.5 percent.

Get your next LEED for Homes project started or find more educational resources at the greenhomeinstitute.org/leed-for-homes/

LEED for Homes OUTSTANDING PROGRAM COMMITMENT Winner.

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. CJHall@habitatkent.org. 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.

Greenbuild Affordable Homes Tour: 11/20

Affordable and Green: Greenbuild Legacy Home Project
November 20, 2010
8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Early: Member $45/Non-Member $45
Regular: Member $65/Non-Member $65

Organizations like Habitat for Humanity have been successful in providing affordable housing to families they determine can handle the financial and maintenance obligations of the new homes they build. The anticipated energy and maintenance costs of ownership figure prominently in qualifying potential future homeowners. This project is designed to Read more

Greenbuild Early Registration Deadline 9/17

For discounted rates to the Greenbuild 2010 Conference and Expo, you must Register by Sept. 17, and take advantage of the 1-day Residential Summit for just $250 ($300 after Sept. 17).
Greenbuild 2010 Residential Summit

Greenbuild: Residential Summit and More!

The third annual Residential Summit – Thursday, Nov. 18 – headlines Read more

Two Affordable LEED Homes to be Built for Greenbuild

Habitat for Humanity Lake County has teamed up with USGBC and Bank of America to build two LEED Platinum homes side-by-side as part of the Greenbuild 2010. The homes will offer a miniature regional green building case study in occupancy costs down the road for two construction types.

Both homes will have the same floor plan and appearance but will be built using two different construction methods. The Greenbuild Legacy Home project will feature state of the art ICF and panelized construction, while the second home, targeted for 75% competition by Greenbuild, will be built using conventional stick construction as an opportunity for Greenbuild attendees to view its construction process. Currently both homes are aiming to achieve LEED for Homes Platinum certification. Construction cost data and performance will be tracked and published for both homes once both are complete. USGBC’s commitment to affordable green housing extends beyond Greenbuild, as fully 40% of the homes in the LEED for Homes program are affordable.

The Green Home Institute will serve as the LEED for Homes Provider on the project. Learn more about this affordable housing project by viewing the full article at Real Estate Rama.

Wood frame home on left, ICF home on right

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