Recently 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.
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.
Habitat 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.
Cottage 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.
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.
Being the Executive Director at an organization that promotes and trains on residential green building, Brett Little decided to put his money where his mouth was and commit to green remodeling in his first home purchase. Brett and his wife Laura wanted to commit to the up and coming city of Grand Rapids Michigan, which was easy to do with all the past few years of recognition and grow (Most sustainable mid-sized city, beer city USA 12′ and 13′, top ten place to find a job, most LEED building per capital and etc etc. ). The project is a prime of example of how one can use GreenStar on a small remodel / weatherization job without being too invasive to the home.
The 2 story house circa the 1920s was aesthetically in great shape, had a newly remodeled kitchen, intact wood windows and trim, good paint, half finished the basement and very well kept landscaped (turf) yard.
What the house was missing was quickly shown in the inspection and energy audit. They revealed a lack of any decent insulation/air sealing, chuck full of incandescent light bulbs, inefficient water fixtures, noisy bath fan old and oversized heating/cooling systems along with a dinosaur of a water heater and no garden in the perfectly south facing fenced in backyard.
The target was LEED Silver certification through a Gut Rehab, but we quickly had determined that exposing the exterior or interior walls to air seal plus removing the shower and tub surround to add in a non-paper face drywall would go way over our budget. While LEED may fall more in line with a Deep Green Retrofit, we opted to do a Moderate Green Retrofit.
From there it was clear that the once called MNGreenStar program would make the most sense and they used it to document the existing conditions and come up with our goals to make the home better. As you can see in the initial energy audit in which they used was the HERS Model (think an MPG sticker for your house) and came out at 175. You can see a little more on results we got here. This number was on track with the old homeowners energy bills which we acquired during the audit. Their overall order of importance to the home upgrades was Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Water Conservation, Landscaping and then Material Conservation.
They came across a unique financing that allowed them to do a lot of work in the up front while getting a longer return on investment, MI Saves had partnered with their gas company DTE to allow a $2,500 kickback to those who could show a performance plan of gas savings of 30% with an upgrade. Trane/WellsFargo also had a fantastic deal with a 0% 5-year loan that allowed other products outside of their brand to make up 50% of the costs.
Key achievements for GreenStar Certification
- Insulation + air sealing
- New Storm Windows
- New fiberglass energy star door + weather stripping old door
- 96% Efficient, modulating and right sized furnace with ECM
- 90% Efficient Hybrid 20-gallon water heater
- Sealed all exposed ducts and hot water pipes
- Programmable Thermostat
- Mostly LED’s, some CFLs with some Dimmers or Motion sensors
- Air changes per Hour (ACH): 5.1
- Final HERS: 65
- Final Energy Performance Score: 24,000 KWHe
- Home Energy Score: 10
- 181 Points in E.E
- Ultimate Air Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
- New Panasonic Exhaust Fan
- Closed Combustion Furnace & Water Heater
- Vented Hood Range
- No VOC Paint In Basement
- MERV 10 Filter
- Asbestos Removed from heating ducts
- Radon Test (negative)
- Whole House Carbon Water Filtration
- 46 Points in IEQ
- Water Leak Test
- .5 GPM Bathroom Aerator
- 1.6 GPM Water Sense Shower Head
- Niagara Stealth Toilet at .8 Gallons Per Flush (half of a normal toilet!)
- Plan to not water lawn during the day
- Reduced Turf
28 points in water conservation
- Installed Food Garden & Raised Beds
- High Walkscore of 80 out of 100
- Compost and Recycle almost all waste through the city & organic cycle
- 24 points in Site and Community Impact
Because this was a light remodel and weatherization they did not score too many material points. Materials are mainly for extensive work being done and refurbishment in existing homes.
Our blog details 1 years worth of utility date & costs associated with the project. It also features lessons learned. They will be keeping it up to date by monitoring the performance, durability, comfortably and maintenance.
They plan to achieve Silver Certification within 2 years by converting more of the backyard to a food garden and the entire front yard over to a mix of drought tolerant and native plant species along with raised bed food gardens. Adding rain barrels and fixing the gutters. We hope to achieve more points by painting the exterior of the house with carcinogen free no VOC paint.
Other current issues – No return ducts in the 2nd floor and some older ducts still panned in the joist may be causing temp swings in the second floor and higher summer humidity. We have an idea of opening up the kitchen to connect to the living and dining and during that time we could potentially add return ducts and seal the current ducts.
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.
Inside 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.”
“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.
Don’t miss the June 6th 2015 Tour – Continuing Education
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.
-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.
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.
Conditioned Space (126) 988 sq. ft. apartments
Lot Type Previously Developed
Construction Type Affordable
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
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.
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.
A 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.
The “Glenn Retreat” project exemplifies water use reduction both outdoor and indoor, with a 72% reduction in irrigation due in part by
the AdvanTex(R) Wastewater Treatment Systems manufactured by Orenco (R) that is a environmentally sustainable wastewater treatment technology that treats blackwater and greywater so well that the treated effluent can be re-used for subsurface irrigation (We achieved a additional LEED innovation point with this system). Along with Infiltrating Rain Gardens, Edible Forest Gardens, Extensive use of Native Drought Tolerant Plants and Eco Turf Grass on the outside and with low flow WaterSense certified toilet and fixture on the inside this project achieved almost every point under Water Efficiency in the LEED for Homes checklist. Our approach to handling waste water and storm water turned a negative attribute into a positive one; and created a drought tolerant and low maintenance landscape.
The site’s soil composition has high clay content, and coupled with a high water table makes for a less desirable building site. Fill dirt and sand were added to the center of the site to elevate the house a few feet above grade. Drain tiles and French drains were installed around the house to channel water into swales and rain gardens which we developed along the north, east and west property lines. This watering system has proven sufficient to support the wide variety of plant life added to the property. Our system eliminated the painstaking task of cleaning rain gutters too because we didn’t need to install any. The high water table also presented a challenge for the septic system. We selected an advanced system that uses a smaller drain field, and generates effluent certified by NSF International for subsurface irrigation. A native wildflower and prairie grass landscape is being developed on the septic drain field. Key Features Fabral Metal Roof (Energy Star) Exterior Construction is Advanced Framing @ 24″ o.c. 8″ of Agri based Open Cell Foam Insulation in attic. (R40) 4″ Ridged Foam Insulation under the Slab. (R-20) 3″ of Agri based Open Cell Foam Insulation on interior crawl space foundation walls. Exterior walls are Air Sealed with 5″ Cellulose Insulation (R-22) with 1″ Dow Styrofoam SIS Sheathing (R-5.5). (stops Thermal Bridging) James Hardie cement board siding. (with recycled content) MiraTec trim. (formaldehyde free, SCS Certified) 93% of Construction waste was diverted fro the landfills.
Beacon Springs: The Vision
Beacon Springs (Near Ann Arbor) offers hope for life springing from a sustainable dwelling, polyculture gardens amid oak savannah, and a lively gathering place. It is a beacon of hope for a happy, healthy and sustainable future for all.
Our house at Beacon Springs is named Burh Becc, meaning, in Old English, a dwelling by a creek. This is the origin of our family name Burbeck. Several natural springs on the north edge of the land feed a small creek which runs past the house. Wildlife is drawn to this source of water and vegetation, as were we when we first came to the site. Burh Becc has been designed as a “living building” using the Living Building Challenge standards of the International Living Future Institute (visit living-future.org). A living building becomes an alive component in a sustainable ecosystem, integrated with the natural environment in a way that nurtures and sustains that environment. It is because of this living nature of our house that we have given it a name, and we have designed and built it to serve many future generations.
Water. Our living building uses the rain and snow falling on the roof as its only source of water.
Energy. Burh Becc depends on the rays of the sun for most of its energy needs. Heat is provided mainly through passive solar design. Natural ventilation is provided by the wind drawn through the house by the tower design. Heating and cooling are augmented as needed by a photovoltaic-powered geothermal system.
Waste. Our house is designed to reduce waste products that need to be removed from the site and eliminate materials toxic to human or environmental health. 95% of the by-products normally considered waste are integrated back into the site ecosystem, or are recycled, repurposed or reused by the broader community. A 95% materials efficiency standard was also followed during the construction phase of Burh Becc, leaving only 5% for the local landfill.
Farm amid oak savannah
The farm at Beacon Springs produces food for the local community, particularly those with limited access to fresh produce, as well as for our own table. As with the house, the farm has become an integral part of the ecosystem. Following the principles of permaculture, plants, trees and animals work together for abundant and sustainable production of food. These permaculture methods also restore the fields depleted through decades of “factory farming,” they allow the garden farm to fit together with the rejuvenating oak savannah, and they encourage wise management of water for the benefit of the immediate site and neighboring ecosystems.
Our home has become a wonder-filled gathering place for people (and pets, too). The embrace of Beacon Springs – the living building, with its flourishing courtyard and barnyard animals, combined with the surrounding acres of permaculture gardens and oak savannah – is a balm to the lone poet and a catalyst for lively exchange in larger groups. Beacon Springs is a center of education for the community: architecture students learning about sustainable design; residential building crafts(wo)men and trades professionals learning sustainable construction methods; children learning about barnyard animals and bee-keeping; and permaculture enthusiasts participating in onsite workshops. Beacon Springs also provides a gathering spot for community farming. And we regularly welcome family, friends, co-workers and others to our table for good food and dynamic exchange of life.
A special note for our team of designers, engineers, builders and growers, and the extended team members through the International Living Future Institute: We hope that each of you, in joining the community responsible for the creation of Beacon Springs, has also received an extra measure of life springing from your contribution to the project. You are always welcome to come for a visit, enjoying with us the fruits of your labors.
—Tom and Marti Burbeck, Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 2023
Photos and Info taken from http://www.beaconsprings.org/
* correction – This is a new home and not a rehab.
The approach was a LEED certified home that goes beyond most Habitat standards of just LEED silver and Energy Star Version 2. The goal was to get a house to achieve the coveted Energy Star V. 3 certification and Indoor AirPlus certification by achieving higher standards for the HVAC. The biggest hurdle for this house was installing a 95% efficient furnace coupled with an ERV mechanical ventilation system and flexible ducts in order to reduce energy costs and improve air quality throughout the 2-story house. The kitchen is outfitted with low VOC cabinets and a 100 CFM range hood which vents directly outside as opposed to in the attic or re-circulation.
The Indoor airPlus certification contributed largely to the Energy Star V3 Certifcation, as the higher quality HVAC system also covered many of the prerequisites. The biggest hurdle for this home was to find a credentialed HVAC installer who would work with the higher standards required for Indoor airPlus. The water heater and furnace directly vent fumes outside and improve indoor air quality and efficiency of the equipment. The HVAC also has a MERV 10 rated filters and efficiently at 86 CFM, which fully circulates the air in the home approximately every 4 hours. The furnace itself runs on a single speed PSC motor which runs at set intervals and uses the ERV to moderate the temperature. The house also features a Superior Wall Foundation which contributes an R-Value of 5 to NuWool insulation installed on the walls for a total R-Value of 26. To further increase the insulation of the house the rim joists were also insulated and earn an efficient .3 U-factor windows were installed to reduce air leakage.
The home appliances available in this house are Energy Star certified to accompany the Energy Star V3 certification on the house. Outfitted with low formaldehyde pressed wood materials in flooring and cabinets, as well as low VOC paints and finishes on the cabinets and walls. . Plumbing is outfitted using PEX piping as more flexible and reliable alternative to PVC or copper piping.
Habitat for Humanity Kent County is committed to 100% LEED Silver Construction and has saved homeowner’s $1,000 a year in utility costs as well as improved their indoor air quality compared to living situations they were previously in.
The Ferndale home is 45.6% more efficient in its energy use in comparison to an average 2,000 sq. ft. existing Michigan home. The average is 3,948 kWh a month, while the Ferndale house used only 2,195 kWh. The overall cost for the electric use in the Ferndale residence is $74.56 a month, using 603 kWh, which is 34% less than the average, which costs $121 a month and uses 908 kWh. Heating for the Ferndale home uses 5.3 MCF and costs $23.85 a month, while the average uses 10.1 MCF and costs $127.46 a month. Altogether, the operation costs are 32% less than the average household to heat.
*The project team attempted to get actual past utility bills to determine the success of the upgrades. However, they did not know who the previous homeowners were, and since, DTE and Consumers Energy have outdated privacy laws, they do not allow for the retrieval of data without homeowner permission.See full Ferndale Home Energy Report
The purpose of this project was to revitalize an abandoned home in disrepair, and through environmentally-friendly construction practices, to transform it into an energy-efficient home. The house is 95 years old, had gone into foreclosure and had been vandalized while sitting empty, so it required a complete overhaul. Lee Purches, HP3 Group and project Green Rater helped ensure the quality and sustainability success of this home. Lee connected the owner with Herzog Homes, which was willing to pursue LEED certification with some budgetary constraints. The goal of this project was to restore this old house, but also make it better through green building design and LEED certification. The design team followed LEED protocol for local labor and materials, using renewable or sustainable products in aiming for Gold LEED certification.
The result is an efficient, practical, and affordable home that is no longer an eyesore in an established neighborhood. This home is the first of its kind in metro Detroit, setting an example for others to invest in Green Homes and to restore existing homes rather than build new. The home has been enlarged and now has a freestanding garage that also serves to capture water. The house also has its own high-efficiency controlled irrigation system that evenly distributes water in the front and back yards.The backyard contains a 200 square foot vegetable garden, which includes fruit trees. The garden benefits from the irrigation system and passive water collection to yield produce four to six months out of the year. The indoor air quality 10 times better due to the ERV and high efficiency furnace. The furnace is a two stage furnace that only runs at high capacity when necessary, and is 97% efficient.
The house is fully enclosed with open cell spray icynene insulation, from the basement wall all the way up through both floors to and the roof deck. The interior finishes, walls and trim contains almost no VOC other than the drywall glue and paint, which have low VOC ratings below 100. New Jeld-Wen windows were also installed with a U-factor and solar heat gain of 31 for additional energy performance and reduced air leakage.
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Project Type Single Family
Conditioned Space 2,027 sq ft.
Lot Type Infill
Construction Type Gut Rehab
Air Filtration MERV 13
Window U-Value 31
HVAC Efficiency 97%
3.5 Air Leakage Rate in ACH50
Check out the gallery for some before and after pictures of this LEED Platinum home.
Green Home Institute
PO Box 68164
Grand Rapids MI 49516
Tel: (616) 458-6733
Toll Free: (888) 533-3274
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