222 Hennepin PIC1

Whole Foods Mixed Use Market Rate Housing Certify LEED Silver in Minneapolis

Ryan Companies and The Excelsior Group collaborated to bring this 579,706-square-foot mixed-use project to downtown Minneapolis. The project – called 222 Hennepin – will contain 286 luxury apartments and will be anchored by the first Whole Foods Market in downtown Minneapolis.

222 Hennepin PIC1

Ryan Companies co-developed the project with The Excelsior Group, specialists in multifamily real estate. Ryan is also the architect-of-record and builder for the project, which will occupy a full city block at the corner of Hennepin and Washington Avenues. The corner is one of the most prominent downtown, and development challenges had kept it vacant for more than five years.

A 40,000 -square-foot Whole Foods Market occupies the ground floor of the project. Luxury apartments, featuring dramatic views of the downtown skyline and Mississippi River, occupy the second through sixth floors. Ryan Design worked with Humphreys & Partners Architects on the conceptual design of the project, which focused on balancing the housing needs of sophisticated, discerning apartment residents with the commercial needs of a top-tier urban grocery store.

222Hennepin PIC INTProject amenities include a fourth-floor terrace with an outdoor pool, bocce ball area, fire pit, dog walk, enclosed party room, cyber cafe and state-of-the-art fitness center. The terrace itself affords spectacular views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The construction of the project prioritizes sustainable building practices by incorporating an existing 300-stall parking structure, effectively wrapping the new project around the existing improvements and re-using them.

In working toward LEED Silver Certification for mid-rise residential, the team

LEED Facts Labelincorporated a variety of sustainable and energy-saving elements into the new building. Some of these features include:

  • The downtown location encourages the use of public transportation as well as bike and foot traffic, which reduces emissions. In addition, the compact, amenity-rich site promotes community living.
  • The existing 300-stall parking structure remained in place, which saved in excess of 20 million pounds of concrete and over 1 million pounds of steel rebar that would have been used to replace it.
  • Saving the existing parking structure drastically reduced the demolition waste that would have been generated.
  • Cleaning up, reinvesting and redeveloping an urban brownfield site of contaminates protects the environment and reduces blight.
  • The building is 100% smoke-free and extra measures have been taken to seal the units to reduce air leakage which will lower the risks of indoor air pollutants.
  • The use of high efficiency water faucets, showers and toilets reduce water demand.
  • The off-site fabrication of the interior roof, walls and floors minimized the waste created on-site. In addition, approximately 65% of the construction waste was diverted from landfills through recycling programs.
  • The use of low maintenance, non-invasive native plants, which will thrive in an urban environment, will reduce irrigation needs.222 Hennepin PIC2

Click here to learn more about Ryan’s sustainability efforts.

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Warren rd. PIC1(2)

South east MI home scores LEED silver and is a top energy performer

This newly constructed LEED Silver Home is located on the north side of Ann Arbor, on a 5 acre lot.  The home is 4,500 square feet with 6 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, and has a walk-out basement.

Warren rd. PIC1(2) The project team wanted to build a very energy efficient, comfortable home for the family to raise their children in.  Throughout the project, the team emphasized purchasing sustainable materials including adhesives and sealants with zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) to attain a higher air quality. They worked with a HERS rater to hone in on their energy efficiency strategies. Northern Michigan Oak hardwood flooring was used throughout the first floor of the home because of its close proximity to the project.  All carpeting and underlayment were Green Label Plus certified by the GreenGuard Certification Institute. Blown-in cellulose insulation, which is made up of 100% recycled newspaper fiber, was used instead of fiberglass.  The fitness room boasts a 100% recycled rubber flooring and the TREX deck had a high percentage of recycled materials as well. A drought resistant turf grass mix limited irrigation requirements, as well as a wildflower mix on the perimeter of the turfed-in area.  Additionally, only native species of bushes and trees were installed.  The system is controlled by a RainBird Sensor that automatically adjusts the irrigation schedules if it senses rainfall.

LEED Nutrition LabelA Home Energy Rating Standard (HERS) Score of 44 was achieved for this house, which makes it in the top 10% of MI homes.  The score means that the home is 56% more efficient than a conventionally built new home, and 42% more efficient than Energy Star’s standard for homes.  To give you an understanding of what this equates to, the energy bill for this 4,500 sq. ft home during the month of July, was $110 for both electric and gas. The project team chose to focus on the Energy & Atmosphere and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) credit areas to compensate for the sacrifice of Location & Linkages credits due to the projects distance from an urban setting. The high rating of LEED Silver was achieved by taking a whole systems design approach to building, and eliminating any weak points in the house.

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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.

Duvernoy Residence LEED Silver

This home dramatically reduces it’s HVAC energy requirements by using airtight building principles. This home utilized geothermal forced air cooling and geothermal hydronic heating to further reduce HVAC consumption.
-Whole house HEPA filtration system
-Heat Recovery Ventilation System
-Energy Star Lighting and Appliances
-Advanced Building Envelope Techniques
-Sustainable Building Materials

“We achieved exemplary performance in landscape design by
greatly reducing irrigation needs. We used all drought tolerant
species and grasses and installed a rainwater harvesting system.”

David Eifrid of Greenlife Building LLC,
acted as LEED AP and Team Captain on
this project. Alexandar V Bogaerts and
Associates, P.C were the Architects,
Dave Moran of Michigan Heat LLC was
the Green Rater. Steve Pozzi was the
superintendent with Trowbridge
Homes. Michigan Energy services were
the HVAC installers and David
Czesewski assisted with the submittals.

View/Download and Share complete project profile here

Habitat for Humanity Kent County LEED Certified Home

Habitat for Humanity commits to LEED and Reduces Homeowner Utilities

Habitat for Humanity Kent County Chapter has been a leader and pioneer in the field when it comes to affordable and sustainable housing.  In 2006,  they built the nation’s first affordable LEED certified home under the LEED for Homes pilot project. Due the success of the first home, Habitat for Humanity Kent Co made an innovative commitment in 2007 – that future families would live in homes built to minimum LEED Silver Certification. Currently, they have surpassed the Silver level and have progressed to LEED Gold Certified Homes as their new standard house.

View/Download Complete project profile with LEED score and checklist here.

The Lee House was deconstructed and rebuilt after a fire had burned down the original home (see below).  Habitat partnered with GRCC Tassell M-TEC students and instructor Duane McIntyre to build this 5-bedroom two story “Gervais” plan. It is “ZeroStep Certified” to be accessible, and also achieved LEED for Homes Gold Certification. Its 52 Home Energy Rating System score makes this one of Habitat Kent County’s most energy efficient home to date.

To date Habitat for Humanity Kent County has achieved great strides with LEED certification. They have built over 300 homes since they started in Kent County and certified 68 of those homes under the LEED rating system. They have registered 83 as of March 31st 2011 (with more to come!).

LEED Gut Rehabs of existing homes:  19
Average HERS score:  62.1
New Construction LEED Homes:  49
Average HERS score:  61.7
Average Square foot of Conditioned floor area:  1,750

This Habitat affiliate has built to the LEED standard in cities such as Sparta, Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Allendale, Cutlerville, Wayland all in Kent County, Michigan.

The latest home was a total gut-rehab project, made possible by the City of Grand Rapids and HUD via the Neighborhood Stabilization Project (NSP). It has achieved the coveted LEED for Homes Gold certification and will offer the hard-working Lee family a very energy efficient home.

A unique post and beam Generations timber frame porch made from reclaimed power poles will grace the front of this home– easily the most challenging rehab project HFHKC has undertaken.

View/Download Complete project profile with LEED score and checklist here.

Due to Habitat for Humanity of Kent Counties 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 Habitat ReStore for a profit to build other homes.

Thirty young construction students were educated in current green building practices and upon graduation, will bring those skills onto the local construction scene.

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.

The future looks bright for Habitat for Humanity and Green Building. They now have LEED Platinum and Zero Energy / Net Zero homes under-construction. They are partnering with over a dozen organizations to continue revitalization efforts in the Wealthy Heights Neighborhood of Grand Rapids. They may be looking towards LEED ND certification for their neighborhood redevelopment plans.

Northbrook's First LEED Home – Permit Rebate

Northbrook LEED homeThis article republished from

As the first planned green home in Northbrook, the 4,500-square-foot, 2-story, 4-bedroom house will take advantage of the land’s orientation and unique flood, solar, and energy conservation characteristics. The home’s owner and general contractor is Ihab Riad, owner of Green Park Construction, a builder of luxury custom homes. As the first LEED-certified home in Northbrook, Mr. Riad expects to receive a rebate for the building permit fee, given Northbrook’s green building incentive program.  Read more

Spicewood Garend Duplexes LEED Silver

Spicewood Gardens is a newly constructed 26 unit senior affordable housing complex located in Sheridan Indian. Every unit includes energy, water and resource efficient features including low flow fixtures, durable local materials, panelized roof and wall systems, native landscaping and energy star windows, doors, lighting, appliances and home certification Local housing authorities have started putting an emphasis on community developers building LEED affordable homes in their areas. This is HAND’s first but certainly not last LEED for Homes project in Hamilton County. It is also the first LEED Silver affordable multi – family project in Indiana.

A CIR was awarded for this project for the alternative method of
reaching awareness and education. In addition to a tenant open
house and walk through training, the builder and architect of the
project was involved in an affordable housing conference.
Exhibiting their LEED projects, and participating in a panel
discussions regarding green design and building in affordable
This project also achieved additional points for reducing urban
heat island effect by using 100% light colored concrete for all
sidewalks, driveways and patios.



Download & View Project Profile PDF.

Tour: Chicago LEED Home built with ICFs

Attention: April Tour

Our april tour information is listed HERE.

February tour:

Ever wonder what goes into making a LEED home? Now is your chance to tour a home going through the LEED for Homes program that is substantially complete, pending final testing and verification. And best of all, the tour is free, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27.

LEED Silver candidate project in Logan Square, Chicago
Illinois LEED for Homes project targeting LEED Silver Read more