126 Apartments LEED Gold Certified in East Lansing

The 126 apartments that were renovated for this project were made possible by the Hometown Housing Partnership (HHP) of East Lansing.  HHP is a nonprofit that has been providing access to affordable housing for over 20 years, and was formerly known as East Lansing Housing and Neighborhood services.  In 2012 HHP became the managing general partner of 126 units of affordable housing at Deerpath Apartments and partnered with Hollander Development to complete renovate the townhomes.

A large amount of materials were reused in rehabbing the home including: exterior framing and siding, foundation, cabinets, counters, roof framing, and the roof, floor, and 2/3 the wall sheathing.  A 800 watt solar photovoltaic collector system is installed on top of the carports, which provides electricity for the lighting of the carports.   All interior and exterior paints used are water based, low VOC, latex paints.    Each apartment is outfitted with Energy Star certified appliances and energy efficient lighting.


LEED Checklist
    Project Details:
Type                               Multifamily
Conditioned Space   (126) 988 sq. ft. apartments
Bedrooms                     2
Bathrooms                   1
Lot Type                       Previously Developed
Construction Type   Affordable
   Key Features:
Air Filtration             MERV 10
Roof Insulation        R50
Wall Insulation         R15
HVAC Efficiency       94% AFUE
800 Watt Solar Panels installed on the carport
Efficient Outdoor LED and Indoor Lighting

Washington Ave PIC

Minneapolis Market Rate Midrise 7west is LEED Certified

Washington Ave PIC

Sustainable architecture is nothing if it’s not deeply rooted in the surrounding community. Whether it’s sculpture by a local artist or an intimate concert at the Cedar Cultural Center, 7west (1800 Washington) celebrates the satisfying connections that come from Seven Corners living. For residents, LEED is a seal of quality, providing peace of mind that they are living in a home designed to deliver fresh air indoors and improved water and energy efficiency.

The 7west building has several green features that its renters find attractive. Each floor has recycling and organic composting available for the tenants. Green roofs and terraces provide relaxing greenspace, while a white membrane roof provides additional energy efficiency.

Washington Ave PIC INT.The building also features a passive solar design and high efficiency lighting. Tenants are encouraged to utilize alternative transportation with convenient onsite bike storage set in an easily walkable community. The apartments are located within a half mile of public transit services which provide at least 60 rides per week day. However, those that do drive vehicles regularly are provided garage space with continuous exhaust to  minimize pollutants that could leak into the residence and affect the indoor air quality. Inside the apartments Low-VOC paints hardwood flooring, and sustainable cabinetry provide for a healthy, natural, and sensible interior environment.

1800 Washington label

The Buildings landscaping was created with 100% drought tolerant plants. Rain barrels provide the irrigation needed to water the green roof and plants. As a former brownfield this lot has come a long way. Additional LEED points were awarded to the project for its density of 100.9 units per acre.

 That’s just the start. Sunny gathering spaces, private study nooks, yoga and fitness studios, and common areas with billiards, fire pits, and entertainment centers recognize that many residents need a respite from the stress of daily life. Innovative Chinese Feng shui design creates a positive atmosphere.  The LEED verification team included Jimmie Sparks, Rick Cobbs, and Jason LaFleur of Eco Achievers.

Download and Share the 1800 Washington Project Profile - PDF


Washington Ave PIC INT Shared


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




Habitat for Humanity Kent County won the 2011 Green Build outstanding program commitment to LEED for Homes


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. 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.

Grosse Pointe Park Summer Pic

South East Michigan LEED Gold Certified Home

‘It’s not that easy being green,” sang Kermit the Frog. While that’s often true when it comes to green building, it is definitely getting easier, say Lynn and Charlie Arnett of Grosse Pointe Park. The Arnetts and their four children, three of whom still live at home, recently moved into one of the Detroit area’s first new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, green-built houses.

The family had been living in a nearby 1950s house and needed more space. They thought seriously about building, but empty lots are hard to find in older, established neighborhoods such as Grosse Pointe, and they weren’t sure they wanted to trade in the frustrations of an older house (asbestos, lead paint, wet basements) for the different but equally challenging issues of newer ones (formaldehyde, medium-density fiberboard).Both have long been interested in environmental issues. Lynn worked in environmental law in Washington, D.C., and Charlie, a teacher, jokes that he recently found a button for the first Earth Day in a box when they moved.

After much thought and plenty of research, they decided to look for a lot where they could build an environmentally conscious new home. Ultimately, that search led them to a 60-by-175-foot corner lot where a condemned 1920s Tudor had been torn down.“We decided we wanted to walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” says Charlie of their decision to build. Doing so had its challenges. Green building has been in the forefront of the news, but mainly in the commercial arena. Green residential building is still fairly uncharted territory, say the Arnetts, especially in Michigan. Still, they were determined to make it happen.

Once they found their lot, they enlisted the help of Joel Peterson of Insignia Homes, a Grand Rapids-based builder whom Lynn had worked with on a former house and who had experience in LEED-certified homes. He led them to Wayne Visbeen, a Grand Rapids-based architect known for designs that successfully blend past and present.

The Arnetts wanted the house to be green but also to blend with the older Tudors and colonials on the block. “It was very important to us that the house fit into the neighborhood,” Charlie says. “We had the architect and builder do a Grosse Pointe field trip before we started.”Priorities included a vintage-style screened porch off the kitchen as well as a large open living space encompassing the kitchen and great room. The house would have six bedrooms and 41/2 baths and the kind of detail — wood trim, glass-knobbed doors, a stucco fireplace, exterior shingles — often found in older homes. Underneath, however, the infrastructure would be green.

LEED-certified houses include things such as geothermal heat, an air recovery system and a long list of environmentally approved materials, including insulation, windows, carpet, even landscaping. “Indoor air quality is very important to us, so we opted for no-VOC paints or finishes, and insulation made of shredded newspapers,” Lynn says. LEED certification is awarded in levels, with points given for each area of compliance. (For more information, visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s website at The Arnetts are waiting to hear if they have achieved platinum status, the highest level given, and have been investigating the idea of installing cutting-edge solar shingles, a product Dow is pioneering.

Lynn spent hours researching materials and contractors. They struggled to find cabinetry for the kitchen that was formaldehyde-free, ending up with an Indiana company. “You really have to ask a lot of questions,” she says. “It was a big education for us, too.”It took less than a year to build the Craftsman-influenced home. Now that the house is done, they’ve been working with Grosse Pointe Park-based interior designer Fatima Beacham and trying to fill it with “green” furniture — another area that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet.

“The problem with a lot of new furniture is that it is built with medium-density fiberboard that contains formaldehyde,” Lynn says. Formaldehyde has been linked to many health ailments. They admit there were times they were tempted to give in and take the easier way. “Staying on track and not letting ourselves be pressured to compromise was challenging,” Charlie says.“There were times I was tempted to cave, but Lynn kept me going.”

While building green is a bit more expensive than standard construction, tax credits and governmental rebates help, and prices should decrease as demand goes up, the Arnetts say. For their family, going green has been the right choice. “Once you get started, you want to do it 100 percent,” Lynn says.“When it comes to residential construction, LEED is still in its beginning stages. We’d love to be a resource for other homeowners. Hopefully our experience will make it easier for the next folks who want to do this. Even choosing a low or no-VOC paint for your next project is a good start.

View complete project profile here

”The Arnetts recommend the following contractors and manufacturers:

Architect: Wayne Visbeen (

Builder: Joel Peterson, Insignia Homes (

Kitchen cabinets: Mutschler Kitchens, Karen Rozanski (

Flooring: Chelsea Plank Flooring (

Carpeting: Mohawk SmartStrand (

Custom cabinetry: Dutch Made Cabinetry (

Paint: Sherwin-Williams no-VOC “Harmony” paint (

Toilets: TOTO Dual Flush Toilets (

Landscaping: James Leamon Landscape Design, (313) 407-8137

Khristi Zimmeth is a Metro Detroit freelance writer and Homestyle’s Trash or Treasure? columnist.

From The Detroit News:













Fietler Residence LEED Gold Home

This home which includes a 700-square-foot garage with radiant heat, uses a 6-zone geothermal radiant heating and
cooling system. Ninety-five percent of the lighting is LED. The insulation is wood-fiber cellulose and recycled materials. There is no carpet; all the floors are hardwoods, ceramic tile and linoleum. Automated clearstory windows for whole-house ventilation All the paints on the walls and adhesives used with the flooring meet LEED’s standards for low volatile organic compound emissions. It just missed being the first single-family home in northeast Indiana for LEED certification.

The exterior of the home was constructed using commercial grade metal siding and standing seam roof. The home was
designed for a 4 kilowatt photovoltaic system to harness year around southern sun exposure. With the use of these
technologies, the home will have the potential to be "off-thegrid" and be able to operate completely independently of all traditional public utility services. Recycled, re used and locally
harvested wood.

“It will stand up to an F4 tornado,” Thornsbury said.

Download / View online Project Profile Here.