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Michigan’s First GreenStar Gold Certified New Home

Marsha Traxler Reeves and John Reeves, Homeowners

During the time when Marsha & John Reeves were in the market for a new home after deciding to move from the Ann Arbor region, they happened upon a green home educational session put on by the SE region’s sustainability design expert, Michael Klement. There were sold from there.

According to my teachers, the two primary guidelines for being a good person in the Anishinaabe world are: 1. Don’t take more than you need, and 2. Don’t waste. Since I am always working to be a good person, it was essential to follow these guidelines in building a house. Green building helps people to avoid taking more than they need and to avoid waste as much as possible. We are blessed in this part of the world to have people with a great deal of knowledge and experience in green building, so the choice to build ‘green’ was easy.” – Marsha Traxler Reeves, Homeowner

It was no surprise that when choosing to move to Newaygo, the Reeves contacted Vos Energy Concepts, a small residential construction company in Rockford that only commits to building green homes. The home the Reeves wanted to build was no ordinary new home. It was to be located in the Manistee National Forest on acreage connected to the beautiful Muskegon River – and the goal was preservation. The project removed neither heritage nor important trees from the site. Dan Vos, a builder from Vos Energy Concepts says: “Small tree logs from the land were split in half, left with bark, and were placed inside between the window frames. Support posts for the patios and entrance roof on the home are logs also from the property.” In addition, rainwater will be captured on site with rain barrels. The water will be used to water the medicinal plants that grow around the house along with the gardens. The gardens are not conventional, rather, they follow the practice of huglekultur. Huglekultur is an alternative type of raised bed garden system that stays fertilized and moist from a decaying log planted underneath it. Any unused rainwater, because it comes off a food-grade metal roof, will not harm the local aquifer as it immediately goes back into the ground.

Stove ReevesInside the house you will get a sense of biophilliac design elements including use of tree branches, natural shapes, and ample interior natural lighting which provides views of the natural world outside. Many of the materials, finishes, trims, and cabinets were locally made using regionally sourced or reused materials. As the Vos Energy Concepts website states, “Old School chalkboards were up-cycled, cut to size, polished, and placed as the window sills. Small tree branches standing up, stripped, and finished placed throughout the home are used for hanging scarves, wet gloves, coats, baskets, towels, and whatever else needs a place. A local artist, Kendra McKimmy, put together a design of a tree from the shore of Lake Superior. Stones collected by the homeowner and artist were used in the making of this beautiful tree that is located on the bathroom curved wall facing the soaking tub.”

Loft view 10:14

View from the Loft

“I believe that there are finite resources for all of mankind. So to be a steward of resources becomes a requirement for all of us. I have 11 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren that are counting on those of us in the decision process today to make responsible choices in the use of our finite resources. Building green is one of those responsible choices. ” – John Reeves, Homeowner

From an energy standpoint, this home rated at a HERS index of 16 which makes it 84% more energy efficient than the standard built-to-code home. The HERS index score comes from local Energy Rater, John Kuyper, who reviewed all of the components and mechanicals of the home to accurately project it’s efficiency. The super tight and efficient concrete foam shell of the home sits on insulated concrete floors which retain the heat of the sun in the winter. Above the home, the attic is insulated and air-sealed with a reflective metal roof to keep down the heat from the sun in the winter. All energy star appliances and LED lightbulbs are installed throughout and a Heat Recovery Ventilator keeps fresh air circulating in the house while avoiding a lot of heat loss during the winter. The home also utilizes a very high efficiency and sealed wood stove for cold winters and radiant floors in junction with a mini split air source heat pump powered by solar PV and hot water to keep the energy costs down and the homeowners comfortable.In addition to the fresh air, the air quality in the home is not diminished because the home only uses low- or no-VOC paints, primers, and sealants, as well as tiled bath surrounds that prevent interior mold growth behind the walls.

The Reeves joined Consumer’s EARP program and started generating electricity in November, 2013, but didn’t get a statement from them that included generating information until June, 2014.  Therefore, they only have information from 5/14/14 to 9/12/14, a third of the year and months with long days:

kWh generated 5/14/14 – 9/12/14:  3923

kWh used         5/14/14 – 9/12/14:   1737

2186  generated above used

They expect to achieve see Net Zero Energy but stay tuned!

The GreenStar process, while being fairly easy to utilize, was made easier by Dan Vos’s experience with building many LEED certified homes. The Reeves’ goals on this project did not align with LEED for Homes, but GreenStar certification made a lot of sense for them. While we approached this home using GreenStar in the middle of the construction period, the reviewers were still able to retain what they needed to verify the home’s completion. “Brett and the GreenHome Institute staff were wonderful to work with! They went far beyond my expectations in assisting us through the application and certification process. Their personal attention to the details of our needs was truly impressive,” said Marsha Traxler Reeves.

You can review all the greenstar details that went into this home here. 

Don’t miss the June 6th 2015 Tour – Continuing Education

Plaque & label

This home was designed and built by Dan Vos, Vos Energy Concepts.

ICF walls & slab work was done by Eldon Howe of Howe Construction

Energy Efficiency and Green Built features include:

-Hers score rating of 16.

-ICF walls-Concrete stained floors.

-Energy Star North star Triple pane windows.

-Solar hot water and Photovoltaic (PV) panels.

-High efficiency wood stove when needed.

-Radiant heat throughout the house.

-HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator)

-Mini Split Heat Pump that heats and cools the air.

-Insulated blinds for all windows, keeping the winter warmth in and coolness in the summer.

-Insulation under concrete floors.

-Energy star appliances.

-Metal roof.

-Stucco walls on outside of home, giving the homeowners little upkeep on outside.

-Energy star lightning LED throughout the entire house.

-Locally milled rough sawn wood planed by builder and used for floors in loft area, ceilings in bedroom area and also for countertops in bathrooms (Oak and Walnut).

-Tiled in bathrooms-backsplash areas, tub surround & walk-in shower.

-Hanging pendants lights, ceiling lights, and ceiling fans with LED bulbs purchased at the Habitat for Humanity Resore.

-Old school house chalkboards up-cycled for window sills.

-Barrier free design.

 

Mission Zero Home: A Greenstar Gold Remodel & CE Webinar

While sitting in his living room, spending the day documenting his home to verify all the measures and requirements for GreenStar, I showed Matt Grocoff the GreenStar checklist tool and manual to give him an idea of what was needed for his project. After looking through it, his immediate response was, “I Certificatewish I would have known about this when I started.”

Back in 2010, Matt began a journey. He purchased a 110 year old home in Ann Arbor, MI that has led him on the international road promoting net-positive homes and buildings. When he bought the home, he reviewed the LEED for Homes program but decided against it. He found it to be too invasive for what he wanted and could afford to do to his existing home. Matt, in partnership with Meadowlark, was a pioneer in the world of Green Home deep energy retrofits in the Midwest and has helped influence what can and should be done to bring an existing home to net zero energy.
Despite lacking a good tool (like LEED or GreenStar), Matt and his family persisted on with the renovation. First they underwent a home energy assessment utilizing the HERS index. The results were off the charts – far above 100. “From there we needed to work backwards. Using the PV watts calculator, we determined we could get roughly 9,000 kwh of solar given size of our roof and available technology. For 9,000 kwh to be sufficient, we realized we needed to improve the home’s HVAC, insulation, air sealing, appliances, lighting and other areas to get us down to that level without sacrificing comfort or a normal lifestyle,” Matt explained. Through the detailed but simple measures listed below, Matt’s home is a proven Net Zero home – even while driving a Chevy Volt and charging it at home! They plan to add a little more PV so that they can update their vehicle to a Tesla and still remain net zero.

America's Oldest Net Zero House color corrected v.2One thing that I learned while sitting down with Matt and discussing the push back to an all-electric home is the claim that it’s a waste because of electric line loss of up to 10% energy. Most utilities and even the HERS score incentivize the use of Natural Gas. Matt enlightened me to a partnership between Google and the Natural Resource Defense Council that is utilizing Google vehicles to show major natural gas leaks in gas lines all over the country. These leaks are not accounted for in line loss of energy, while electric is.

Beyond energy, Matt and his family were inspired by the Living Building Challenge (which they are pursuing) and are now, in partnership with U of M Blue Lab Engineering and a Ford Foundation Grant, exploring Net Zero water. The goal is to be able to design a system that captures 100% of rainwater off the roof, stores the water, and cleans it to potable and non-potable standards. The final step would be attaining approval by the municipality to install the system. One interesting challenge the Grocoffs must overcome is that their asphalt shingle roof has been proven to contaminate runoff water toxins such as lead. These toxins are very expensive to remove. However, the cost to seal the existing shingles or replace the shingles may prove cheaper in the long run than maintaining a clogged water filtration system. Another element that Matt and his family are working on is to prevent 100% of the home’s storm water from getting into the city sewer. This could be done partly by capturing water from the roof, partly by adding rain gardens. The most unique idea is a partnership with the city that would replace the sidewalks in front of the house with a system that will direct rainwater from the sidewalk to his rain gardens. If it works, replacing sidewalks this way could model in Ann Arbor and in other cities around the country how to reduce the expense and pollution caused by run off and storm water.

Why water?

Even though we live near the Great Lakes and have access to more water than we need, it’s no secret that quality and quantity of water is diminishing. “While all the news media was going on about California this year, much of Michigan was experiencing a major drought and lack of underwater aquifers. It’s important that we have deeper conversations about water in our state and how to protect it through simple things we can to do our buildings,” says Matt.

Because of Matt’s diligence during the renovation process, his home was easily back certified to GreenStar standards. He blew the gold standard “out of the water.” explained Brett Little. We also are grateful to work with him to develop recommendations for existing homeowners using the GreenStar tool to achieve our new zero energy certification. We are very excited to award Matt and the Mission Zero Home with the GreenStar Gold Type 1 Remodel Certification and to induct him before anyone else into our Zero Hero Hall of Fame. We will be monitoring Matt’s house and following his case study as he supplies us with Return on Investment, future energy use, water use, indoor air quality testing data, and other interesting aspects as he continues to do more to his home.

Net Zero VerificationLearn more

Free Webinar worth 1 hour of continuing education – GBCI, AIA (HSW), NARI Green & LFA and review utility data. More here.

Ingredients Label Mission Zero

 

 

 

 

 

Project Details

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 2

Living Space: 1300 sq. ft.

2,600 sq. ft. of conditioned space

General Contractor: Matt Grocoff, Thrive Net Zero Consulting

Whole-House Performance Contractor: Meadowlark Energy

Greenstar checklist submittal with full details on the home.

Website: Happy Home How! http://www.happyhome.how/

 

Energy

Attic Insulation/Air Sealing: R-30Demilec Sealection 500

Wall Insulation: R-13 Farmers dense-packed cellulose insulation

Rim Band Joist: Air sealed and insulated

Windows: Trapp low-e storms

Air Tightness: 4.75 ach50

Alternative Energy: SunPower 8.1 kW photovoltaic system

Heating/Cooling: 3-ton Water Furnace Envision

Window Restoration: Wood Window Repair Company

Lighting Controls: Watt stopper motion sensor light switches

Power Strips: Smart Strip Power Strips

Window Treatments: EcoSmart Insulated cellular shades

Water Heater: Geothermal + Air Heat pump

Dryer: Heat pump technology

Appliances: Induction Cooktop

HERS Index: 37

Residential Energy Performance Score: 61 (rated at 9,000 kwh/year)

 

Water Conservation

Toilets: Caroma Dual-Flush

Showerheads: Bricor 1 GPM (HET)

Faucets: Bricor .38 GPM!

Irrigation: Rain barrels (salvaged from St. Jullian’s Winery)

No Garbage Disposal

 

Health

Whole-House Ventilation: Ultimate Air ERV

Furnace Filter: MERV 8

Paints: Zero VOC – Benjamin Moore Aura, AFM Safecoat, Sherwin Williams Harmony

Floor Finish: Bioshield Hard oil #9

Molding Finish: Hock natural shellac

Bedding: NaturePedic mattress

Flooring: Mostly wood through out

Knob & Tube Wiring Removed

 

Materials

Salvaged Doors: Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Picture Frames: Urban Ashes

Salvaged Wood Stock: Urban Wood

Outbuilding: Chicken coop salvaged from neighbor’s playhouse

Carpet: Wool stair runners from G & K Flooring

Retained Existing home through minor remodel!

Perimeter plantings kept up to 24 inches away from the home.

Milwork, countertops, cabinets, trim, floors, and windows all refurbished and reused.

 

Site & Community

Conventional turf grass reduced

Home recycling and compost center

Walk Score – 70 +

Public transportation and biking is good

65% of undeveloped site is permeable

40% native / drought tolerant plantings

Rain gardens to stop storm water run off

*Some of this list was borrowed from Matt’s house being featured on Green Building Advisor.

Watch the on-demand webinar

Continuing Education – 1 CEU

  • GBCI
  • AIA (HSW)
  • Living Future (LFA)
  • NARI Green
  • Local & State Architect & Contractor (MI approved) 120422_LFA Logo

1.Watch the recording here

2.Access ppt slide handout

3. Take quiz below

4. Pay fee

GreenStar Residential Remodeling Certification is Here.

and Minnesota GreenStar (MNGS) have teamed up to deliver the GreenStar remodeling & new homes certification to the Midwest and North East. The program is backed by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry(NARI) as part of their Green Certified Professional (GCP) program and is incorporated into the training.GreenStar CGH&R CMYK-600

Why GreenStar Remodeling ? 

Many looking for authentic 3rd party verification/certification on their home remodels find  local state program within the Midwest & North East can be cost prohibitive, require major guts, are exclusive based on membership and/or are lacking any remodeling components.

Not anymore  – GreenStar can certify without requiring expensive energy modeling for kitchen, bathroom, whole house or landscape remodeling projects that can qualify under the program. Remodeling projects tend to be in phases and so you complete your phases through out the years as you have more revenue and time. From there you can submit documentation to get to certain stages of certification in the program.

Become Qualified to register your project!

Take 1 hour to learn about the program navigation, case studies, requirements, qualification/credentialing, up coming courses and how you can get involved locally to jump start GreenStar in your city or State.

Learning Outcomes 

  1. Basic Knowledge of How to get started with the GreenStar program locally in your state
  2. Introduction to the GreenStar Checklist, Manual and Online Submittal Process
  3. Run through an actual certified Green Retrofit from Start to Finish
  4. Know where to get more knowledge for education, training, membership in your state or how to be a local champion

CEUs  – GBCI – AIA LU/SD – NARI Green and Local Contractor Credits

Up coming Courses & Webinar Schedule 

Green Expo 365 – Introduction to GreenStar Remodeling Free Webinar.

Part 1 of 3 back to back webinar GreenStar Online Qualification Course 12/3 – 12/5 10 am to 12 pm – 2 hour segmants

– Demystifying GreenBuilding Certification Options & State Codes*

– Learn about local / state and regional green building programs and how they compare/contrast

– Understand basics of Green Remodeling Opportunities & Challenges

Pt 2 – 12/4 Understanding GreenStar Remodeling Certification

Pt 3 – 12/5 Navigating the GreenStar Checklist & Documentation Requirements

* This course can be skipped if you are a Green Home Professional (LEED APH, Green Rater/Verifier, GCP, Master Green Builder (NGBS) or comparable accreditation. )

Sign up Today!

Full & Half Day Qualification Courses / Webinars – TBD – Email Info@usgreenstar.org for interest 

GreenStar Full Program Manual! Free!

Get the checklists! IL MI MN OH

Other ways to qualify: In House or Webinar Design Charrette Half Day Meeting – Qualify multiple team members for extra points! Email Brett.Little@allianceES.org for details.

Find Qualified Contractors, Remodelers, Builders, Raters and/or Consultants: MI IL MN 

Founded in 2007, Minnesota GreenStar is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has developed a leading residential building standards and certification program created to promote healthy, durable, high-performance design and construction for both new and existing homes.  An objective, third-party verification system assures consumers that the new home or remodeling project meets the program requirements and is constructed as designed. A whole-systems approach applies the five (5) key concepts of green building programs – Energy Efficiency, Resource Efficiency (including durability), Indoor Environmental Quality, Water Conservation, Site and Community – to the traditional building process.  The MNGS program improves the impact of green building programs on individuals, their families, the community, and the environment.

GreenStar Remodeling Certification Introduction – Free Webinar

and Minnesota GreenStar (MNGS) have teamed up to deliver the GreenStar remodeling certification to the Midwest and US at large. The program is backed by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) as part of their Green Certified Professional (GCP) program and is incorporated into the training.

greenstar logo us

Why GreenStar Remodeling? 

Many looking for authentic 3rd party verification/certification on their remodels find programs such as LEED for Homes, National Green Building Standard, Green Communities as well as any local state program within the Midwest & North East can be cost prohibitive, require major guts, are exclusive based on membership and/or are lacking any remodeling component.

Not anymore  – GreenStar  can certify without requiring expensive energy modeling and kitchen, bathroom, whole house or landscape remodeling projects can qualify under the program.

Take 1 hour to learn about the program navigation, case studies, requirements, qualification/credentialing, up coming courses and how you can get involved locally to jump start GreenStar in your city or State.

Learning Outcomes 

  1. Basic Knowledge of How to get started with the GreenStar program locally in your state
  2. Introduction to the GreenStar Checklist, Manual and Online Submittal Process
  3. Run through an actual certified Green Retrofit from Start to Finish
  4. Know where to get more knowledge for education, training, membership in your state or how to be a local champion

View it Here

Please take a quick Survey Here – When Completed – 1 AIA/GBCI/NARI Green Credit will be given at this time too.

Presenters 

Brett Little, LEED GA, GreenStar Professional

Executive Director, Green Home Institute(). A Graduate of the Aquinas College Sustainable Business Bachelors Program,

Brett Little Image Rapid Growth

Brett has been working with for 5 years now helping homeowners, builders, architects and developers find more sustainable ways  in their processes and verify it through 3rd party over-site through programs like the LEED for Homes rating system. Brett is the Secretary of the Lansing Passive House Alliance, sits on the USGBC West Michigan Board  and a Living Building Ambassador. Living in Grand Rapids and newly married he has invested in a 1920s home in the City and certified it as Michigan’s first GreenStar “Green Moderate Retrofit” which reduced energy use by 50% and improved the indoor air quality significantly. Brett loves supporting the local economy, kayaking, the Harry Potter Series, microbreweries, walking/biking/busing, board games and living the Grand Rapids Dream.

Dan Taddei, Director of Education & Certification @ NARI National

ABOUT MINNESOTA GREENSTAR

Founded in 2007, Minnesota GreenStar is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has developed a leading residential building standards and certification program created to promote healthy, durable, high-performance design and construction for both new and existing homes.  An objective, third-party verification system assures consumers that the new home or remodeling project meets the program requirements and is constructed as designed. A whole-systems approach applies the five (5) key concepts of green building programs – Energy Efficiency, Resource Efficiency (including durability), Indoor Environmental Quality, Water Conservation, Site and Community – to the traditional building process.  The MNGS program improves the impact of green building programs on individuals, their families, the community, and the environment.

Webinar: How I Made a Million Dollars as a Green Remodeler

Let’s face it, if it doesn’t put money in your client’s pockets, or your pockets, it is very likely not going to happen.  Sustainability is just fine as a concept but where the pedal hits the metal is on the accounting ledger. Learn how one remodeler, who refuses to do anything except green remodeling, has built a super successful, industry-leading company, which (even during the down turn) provided ample resources allowing him to take 3 months off each year. How does your vacation schedule look?

Speaker

Michael Anschel, a nationally recognized expert on green design, remodeling and building, writes, trains, and speaks for various publications and events around the nation. He is the owner of Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build–an award winning nationally celebrated design-build firm–and CEO of Verified Green Inc. which consults with local government, product manufacturers, suppliers, builders, and architects on green building. Michael led the effort to develop MN GreenStar, and now serves as Technical Research and Development liaison on the Board of Directors. Called “one of the nation’s most outspoken green building advocates” by MN Business, Michael successfully straddles the building, design, and green worlds by engineering profitability into sustainability.
Learn about you can get involved in a Midwest Pilot launch of the GreenStar remodeling certification program and trainings. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how you can utilize a green remodeling program that is cheaper and more inclusive than LEED for Homes Gut Rehabs and the National Green Building Standard small projects program.

Continuing Education

  • 1 MI Contractor (Code & Green)
  • 1 MI Architect
  • If you need continuing education units for a license in another state, this course may apply. Please consult your state’s requirements.

Watch the webinar for FREE.