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Understanding LEED For Homes Version 4 (V4) Recorded Webinar Series

LEED for Homes version 4 (V4) will be in full swing October 31st 2016 but it’s important to get started early on understanding the updates from 2008. In anticipation of this we have teamed up with the LEED for Homes lead reviewer and chief rating systems expert  Jay Hall of Jay Hall & LEED4Hversion4-01Associates.

We will cover all 8 sections of the new rating system through 9 online live webinars and review scenarios that explore what happens when 2008 projects update to V4.  The mail focus will be credit by credit interpretations, market acceptance, cost benefit analysis and comparisons to the old rating systems.

Sign up and learn how the system changed and how it applies to single / multi family, low/mid/high rise, new and rehabbed homes and residential buildings, apartments, developments and dorms!


Builders, Designers, Architect, Developers, Remodelers, Researches and Policy Makers who have past LEED for Homes experience and understanding.

Pre Courses to this course recommended 


  1. Overview of V4.0 Changes, IP, LT, and Intro to Process Changes (New Tools)
  2. SS – Sustainable Sites 
  3. WE – Water Efficiency
  4. EA – Prescriptive Energy & Atmosphere Prescriptive Pathway
  5. EA – Performance (New LEED Energy Budget) Pathway
  6. MR – Materials & Resources
  7. IEQ Indoor Environmental Quality
  8. Innovation & Regional Priority

Bonus Course! Application of LH v4.0 to Different Project Types  (i.e., Low Rise, Mid-Rise), and Summary / Next Steps 

LEED V4 is now available to use but you this webinar series is to help you succeed before taking a dive in head first.

Learning Lessons and Outcomes 

  • Know how to migrate your LEED 2008 projects to the new V4 checklist to achieve certification
  • Understand how to use V4 to ensure your next project contributes to the health, safety, welfare and overall sustainability for building residents and the community at large
  • Get up to speed on benefits, draw backs and opportunities with the new HOMES v4 rating system
  • Learn where you can find more resources and expertise for further help in residential green design, construction and rehab opportunities

Don’t get left behind when the rating system changes.  Project teams will no long be able to register homes, multi family or mixed use buildings under the 2008 or 2009 rating systems after 10/31/2016.

Continuing Education  1 AIA LU/HSW, GBCI (LEED Specific), NARI Green* * 9 CEUs for entries series

Presenter & Developer – Jay Hall, Ph.D, LEED APH “Jay has 30 years experience in market transformation, sustainable design of buildings, and energy efficiency. He is an expert in building energy modeling, and green building verification. Jay earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University. In 1989, he began with ICF International as a consultant working on EPA’s

Jay Hall ENERGY STAR market transformation programs. Since 2004, Jay has provided independent consulting services to the US Green Building Council in developing the LEED for Homes program. Jay was Acting Director for LEED for Homes for two years. He is also the lead programmatic and verification consultant for the Green Communities Offset Fund. Jay has served on the Home Depot Foundation Awards of Excellence Selection Committee; the Habitat for Humanity International Partnership for Sustainable Buildings Advisory Committee; and, The Healthy House Institute Advisory Board. Jay is also a LEED Faculty member.  Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, for the past 25 years, Jay and his wife, Kim, have resided with their two sons in Annapolis, Maryland. Jay Hall & Associates.

Before you dive in watch the introduction to LEED for Homes V4 – 1 hour webinar (CEs) – A free course here

Register Now

* Local chapter members of AIA, AIBD, USGBC, HBA, NARI or ILFI get 10% off. Must verify this after payment.

's New Name: GreenHome Institute

GHI Final JPGThe Grand Rapids based non-profit, formerly the Green Home Institute, has changed their name to the GreenHome Institute. 

When it comes to sustainability, health, and energy efficiency in our homes, there are so many different options, choices, and conflicting messages. It can be difficult to know what to do. The GreenHome Institute is taking the guess-work out of green through:

  • online and in-person education and training
  • free resources and tools
  • third-party inspection services

Executive Director Brett Little believes consumers have plenty of options when considering sustainable housing. “We are a non-profit that exists to empower people who seek healthy and sustainable choices in the renovation and construction of the places we live. We are very excited to help people make sense of all the green home information, products, and programs out there.” GHI accomplishes their goal by providing timely, relevant, and accurate resources so that the public can compare options and rule out the possibility of ‘green washing.’ 
Through their LEED for Homes program and GreenStar Certification, the GreenHome Institute has verified over 5,000 new and existing residential buildings that are now certified healthy, durable, energy, and water efficient. Little believes these buildings improve the communities they are in: “A green home should be attainable to anyone, regardless of socio-economic class or race. It should be the norm in all construction and remodeling in the future.”   
As director of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, Dan Schoonmaker says that now is the time for the GreenHome Institute: “The market has evolved significantly over the past 14 years since their inception (as the Green Home Institute) but it’s the next 14 years that I am excited about! McGraw/Hill Construction predicted this year that 30% of the residential market will commit to green activity, equating to nearly a $100 billion industry by 2016. This new name and realigned programming better communicates to the market what the GreenHome Institute is trying to do and how they can help.”
When building and renovating, it can be tough to determine which products or processes lend to a greener project. The GreenHome Institute offers two free online education sessions for both LEED and GreenStar that homeowners, designers, and contractors can use to generate green scopes of work for subcontractors (such as insulators, heating and cooling, electricians, plumber, energy raters, and other professionals). These can be used to prompt design and bidding for light remodels in all areas of a home (including basements, kitchens, or additions) as well as “full gut-rehabs” or even new construction projects. 

The GreenHome Institute serves anyone in the Midwest who lives in a residential building—single-family or multi-family—who seeks design, construction, renovation, or weatherization services. Our mission is to empower people to make healtheir and more sustianable choices in the places we live. 

Partnership with Blue House Energy for Online Training

GreenHome Institute has partnered with the Blue House Energy to deliver to deliver convenient online education that earns you CEUs. This is training is ideal for contractors, remodelers, trades, architects, raters, and more.

Building Science Basics is the ‘fundamentals’ course. It covers heat, air, and moisture flows, indoor air quality, ventilation requirements and air sealing fundamentals. Once you’ve completed Building Science Basics, you can pick and choose from a series of modules that build on the basics. GHI members always get special pricing and great offers on all BHE training that relates to GreenStar program requirements.

Building Science Basics Course 

  • House as a System
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Ventilation and Combustion Spillage
  • Bonus Module – Air Sealing Fundamentals

Continuing Education Units – CEs Available 

  • BPI 4.5
  • GBCI 10
  • AIA (HSW) 10
  • NARI Green 10
  • State contractor / designer may be available*
  • NATE – Pending

Register now!

Member – Registration
Non Member – Registration

Wege Foundation Funds Green Affordable Housing

wegeflogo3In 2015, the GreenHome Institute (GHI) will also be continuing their work with affordable housing developers by replicating a very successful program delivered in partnership with their Chicago office and USGBC Illinois. The Wege Foundation will be supporting the GreenHome Institute’s Green Affordable Housing training with a $20,000 grant. This grant will help thirty to forty affordable housing developer stakeholders become LEED credentialed and trained on how and why to design, build, and rehab multi- and single-family buildings to the new LEED v4 standard, which is due to launch in October of 2016. 

Terri McCarthy, Vice President of Programs at the Wege Foundation says, “We are very excited to continue working with the GreenHome Institute because we are very supportive of LEED in the affordable housing sector in Kent County. This program will help ensure healthier and more energy efficient affordable housing for residents who are most in need, through design and trades training, credentialing along with credible third party inspections and energy testing of these homes.”

feature_v4_mrThe GreenHome Institute is thrilled to continue this partnership with a foundation who has helped them in the past to jump start the LEED for Homes provider-ship with a $36,000 grant. It is clear the foundation wants to see LEED v4 be just as successful as LEED 2008. Without support from the Wege Foundation, it would be near impossible to educate, train, and consult to help overcome the stringency of the new program.

Throughout this project, GHI will be sharing the lessons we learn with the USGBC IL chapter and their programming committee who in the past 3 years attracted nearly 70 participants with roughly 30% going on to become LEED for Homes accredited. Some have even gone forward to develop green- and LEED-registered affordable housing. We believe every USGBC chapter can create partnerships locally to expand Green Affordable Housing in their communities. We hope that what we learn during this process can help reduce the barriers to develop with LEED v4 for Homes.

We plan to start this project in early spring and complete training in the fall of 2015. Stay tuned as we progress!

West MI Home Nears Zero Energy – One Thing Missing

Sumac Grove

Sumac Grove

We reached back out to Sam Pobst to take a look at his LEED Platinum home and he sent us his latest utility bills of energy use vs energy produced. You can review it here.

What we found was that from Aug 13 – Aug 14 he had roughly used about 3,000 KWHe (heating and cooling) of energy over what he produced.

“In our original energy model we had included a solar hot water collector which we never installed.  This would have generated about 10% of our total energy requirements for the home, and put us slightly energy positive.  I hope to install it one day, but it is not in the budget yet,” says Sam.

We also asked Sam to talk a little bit about the ROI versus a conventional home built in Michigan. He says, “The ROI with all of the technology we implemented I estimate at about seven years.  The PV has a payback of three years largely because of the EARP grant, the tax credit, and my labor to install it.  The cost premium for the Serious 925 windows over a standard Energy Star window is less than two years.”

EARP or Experimental Advanced Renewable Program is a program from consumers energy where homeowner’s and business owners can be selected to receive almost double the going rate for the electricity sold to the grid.

“I have somewhere around $20,000 invested in the insulation and sealing of the building envelope.  I can’t say what the payback on this is because I don’t know what the baseline cost would be for code built construction.  This includes all of the insulation, extra framing, and the extra plywood sheathing.  Assuming a code built home with 2×6 construction, a quarter of the insulation, and OSB sheathing, would cost at least half this much, I estimate that the payback is around ten years for this.  This payback continues for the life of the home which I estimate to be around 200 years if well maintained,” remarks Sam.

Sam’s home was a targeted passive house but he never made it. Below he details how he surpassed some areas of the program but not in others.

He says, “While we did not meet the heat demand requirements, we more than met the air infiltration requirements, and we devastated the actual primary energy demand by over half.”

                                                    Required                  Actual

Heat demand                           4.75                             6.47

Pressure result                         0.6 ACH50                0.44 ACH50

Primary Energy Demand    38 kBTU/ft2yr            17.5 kBTU/ft2yr

“Based on these metrics, and what I heard at the last PH conference, a restructuring of the organizing principles of PH to weigh these three critical PH components to arrive at a score make more sense,” says Sam.

Catch a video about Sam’s project from start to finish, review the profile, and stay tuned to learn if Sam goes Net Positive.

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.

Making Sense of GreenHome Certifications and Labels 101

Becomes Homes of Hope Fiscal Sponsor – Helps with Veteran Housing & Living Intentional Community

SUSAN JULIEN LARIMORETUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2013 VIA the Grand Rapids Urban Innovation Exchange uixhomesofhopeb

The goal of newly formed nonprofit Homes of Hope and the dream of its founder, homebuilder Rich Bloem, share roots in community. They aim to bring people together to help others thrive by building new homes and restoring neighborhoods, while offering hope and a blueprint for success in life’s journey.

Fueled by a passion for sustainability and changing lives for the better, Homes of Hope, the Green Home Institute, Matt and Kristin Fowler, and many other community members are partnering to make two projects a reality in Grand Rapids: The Nest and Home for a Hero.

The idea for Homes of Hope emerged in April when Bloem bought a vacant lot on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. Initially, he thought he’d construct a home and make a profit. A few days later, he thought otherwise.

“It’s almost as if I had a vision, maybe from God,” Bloem said. “I decided to do something totally different and not for profit.”

Through research, Bloem discovered Life Remodeled, a Detroit-based company that builds free homes for low income families. He wanted to do something similar, but realized he couldn’t do it alone—and didn’t want to do it alone.

“I wanted to bring builders, architects, electricians, plumbers, and other professionals together to do this,” he said.

Bloem shared his vision with a few friends, including Brett Little, Executive Director of . They shared Bloem’s passion and put plans in place to meet regularly. Word got out fast. There were 23 people at the first Friday meeting. Since then, the ever-expanding group meets weekly at the offices of (920 Cherry Street SE). Volunteers are welcome to attend and join one of over 20 committees on everything from construction to communications.

Through these meetings, Bloem was introduced to Matt and Kristen Fowler. They shared their dream of creating a living building in the Baxter neighborhood. Shortly after Bloem visited the Baxter neighborhood and proposed site for The Nest, Homes of Hope partnered with the to make the Fowlers’ dream a reality.

The Living Building Challenge: The Nest 

The International Living Future Institute defines a living building as “a building designed and constructed to function as elegantly and efficiently as a flower: a building informed by its bioregion’s characteristics, and that generates all of its own energy with renewable resources, captures and treats all of its water, and operates efficiently and for maximum beauty.”

The Living Building Challenge through the ILFI is the world’s most rigorous design and construction standard.

“There are 20 requirements to be met in order to obtain Living Building status,” said Kristen Fowler.

According to the ILFI website, only four buildings in the world to date have achieved living building certification. If the living building proposed for Grand Rapids becomes certified, it will be the first building in Michigan to receive this distinction.

The Fowlers have lived in the Baxter neighborhood for several years and, as Kristin said, “We have fallen in love with the people here. Matt and I recognize people need structured programs and assistance, and it is awesome these programs exist, but sometimes, what’s needed is a relationship-based place to just be; a space where people from all walks of life can feel welcome and safe.”

Passionate about seeing healthy food reach the tables of people in the Baxter neighborhood, the Fowlers created the Treehouse Community Garden in 2012. They raised over $20,000 in labor and materials for the garden space. Today, more than 10 neighborhood families are currently receiving fresh, seasonal produce from this garden.

More recently, the Fowlers began raising funds for a living building next to the community garden. To date, they have collected nearly 58 percent of their goal, but also recognize the need for many skilled professionals and donated materials to pull the project off. The start date for The Nest is dependent on funding and materials.

“We are inspired to do this by the radical, genuine hospitality of Jesus; where there is always room at the table for others,” Kristin said. “This is community at its best.”

In addition to a large kitchen and dining area, the Fowlers envision the floor plan to include a library, arts and crafts room, guest rooms, greenhouse, root cellar, and front porch.

The name, The Nest, was inspired by the Sociable Weaver, a tiny bird in southern Africa that builds a giant nest, housing over 100 different species of birds.

“We think this is a beautiful model of how we can all live and function together,” said Kristin.

Sustainable Building for a Vet: Home for a Hero 

Bloem has spent a great deal of time at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. He had always admired veterans for their service and courage, but when he sat down and heard their war stories, he knew in his heart he wanted to do something more.

“If you look at the statistics about veteran depression, suicide, and post-traumatic stress disorder, you understand support of veterans is needed,” Bloem said.

This spring, Bloem will lead the transformation of the lot at 336 Donald Place SE into a LEED-certified and cost-efficient residence.

“Homes of Hope doesn’t want it to end with the built house, we also want to offer hope and a blueprint for success. It’s part of our vision,” Bloem said. “If someone needs counseling or training to get a job or deal with an addiction, then we want to help people find it.”

Volunteers of America and Wounded Warriors are taking charge of the veteran application process and selection. The plan is to surprise the selected recipient with the news on the July 4, 2014.

Transformative Change through Collaboration

Through the collaborative work of Homes of Hope, the , and the community, positive changes are beginning to take place in neighborhoods and in people’s lives.

“What we’re doing isn’t about any one individual. It’s about bringing people together to help others, make a difference, and lead by example,” Bloem said.

Brent Fisher with Green Property Management and Homes of Hope Board member agreed.

“It’s truly marvelous to see what can come to fruition when people put their mind to good purpose and collaborate,” Fisher said. “I appreciate being on a team that’s a catalyst for positive change in our great city.”

Kristin said she and Matt are humbled by the generosity and support of the community and are, “excited to create a place of light and hope. We are hopeful people will follow our example. We want everyone to ask themselves what they can do in their own neighborhoods to make the world a more beautiful place.”

Homes of Hope’s website is currently in development. To learn more or volunteer, contact homesofhopemi@gmail.com

Susan Julien Larimore is a freelance writer for UIX Grand Rapids

in 2005 was labeled as a Michigan Energy Demonstration Center. In keeping up with our title we are moving forward with innovative and tangible projects that show case sustainable building. One aspect of this partnership is that The Nest will showcase design using Stawclay or a type of cob for the structures thermal envelope. Straw & Clay are both natural, non toxic waste products that are usually burned or landfilled. We will be teaching other builders how to utilize this abundant resource. 
You can help support these projects Below!
Homes of Hope General Fund Donation 

The Nest – Living Building Challenge Registered Home  – thenestgr.com

Home for a Hero Fund 


West Michigan Solar PV – 0 Down in Upfront Costs – Qualification Form

MI Solar Works is collaborative across the state to lower the barriers of financing and funding of  solar PV projects by offer no up front cost loans.

We are shifting the debt from the utility company  to affordable & low cost solar loans.

                               MI SOLAR Post Card

Our Goal: 6,000 solar roofs in Michigan with 1,000 in West Michigan by the end of 2014.

Who can participate?

  • Existing Homeowner’s
  • Existing Business Owner’s
  • Planned building and home renovations & rehabs
  • New Construction of residential, commercial or industrial buildings.

Residential New Construction & Existing Homes 

3 – 5 KW Systems Available – Learn more

Commercial New Construction & Existing Buildings 

5 – 100 KW Systems Available – Coming Soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Financing – MI Saves – 7% unsecured loan available* Learn More

*Other Options for Financing do existing with potentially lower rates, ask your local bank or credit union, refinancing under 203k Loans and/or home equity loans or lines of credit.

Everyone is doing it.  Renea Hesselink, VP Sustainability at Nichols –  5kw Solar Pv Installed in Muskegon

Pyramid Scheme & Meanwhile Bar – Grand Rapids Tami VandenBerg – Grand Rapids

Program in the News. – MIBIZ

Please sign up below for a free assessment to see if you qualify.

If you only attend one conference this year

If you can only attend one conference this year—the Better Buildings: Better Business Conference is the one

The residential, multifamily and small commercial building and remodeling community will come together December 10-11, 2013 at the second annual Illinois Better Buildings: Better Business Conference®. The conference has a new convenient location at the Crowne Plaza near Chicago O’Hare and attendees can expect to get the latest information on building technologies, strategies, techniques, financial incentives, code requirements and more.

Whether you’re looking to obtain continuing education credits (more than seven hours of continuing education for builders, remodelers, contractors, architects, building performance consultants, home inspectors, raters, LEED APs, LEED Green Associates and more are available), stay ahead of the latest trends, increase your technical skills and code knowledge, find new business opportunities or learn new ideas—the Illinois Better Buildings: Better Business Conference is a not-to-be-missed event. The conference will feature 42 sessions and 44 topnotch local and national experts who will share their knowledge in various platforms to fit different learning styles.
You’ll start off the conference in the newly designed expo to experience the general session. This action-packed session will host industry leaders who will make their best predictions about what the future may hold and help to prepare you for what’s to come. Sessions and live, for-credit demonstrations will be in full swing following the general session. You can choose from 12 different tracks and attend an entire track or mix and match the sessions that interest you most. You’ll definitely want to check out the demos at some point. These reality-based learning experience will give you the chance to challenge the technology and talk with those who know their products best. Finally, after taking in all that learning you’ll need some time to unwind. The social highlight of the conference—the reception on Tuesday night—will give you a chance to mingle with exhibitors and catchup with like-minded colleagues. There will even be a chance to participate in a friendly competition. Then, you’ll start it all over on Wednesday morning.

Hope to see you there. Visit betterbuildingsil.org, take a look at the complete session program and register today.


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