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Wisconsin Passive House owner says drop on by anytime!

“I want as many people to come into this house as possible. Anyone who reads this can knock on my door and I’ll give them a tour. The whole point is to share and learn from each other, to take ideas from here and do them elsewhere.” – Sonya Newenhouse

With Carly Coulson as the certified Passive House designer. This tiny (968-square-foot) kit house has a treated floor area of 888 square feet (82.5 m²). This project sports local windows and Cardinal triple-pane glass, while the doors are Energate. The NewenHouse is wrapped in a jacket of cellulose – and similarly comes in well under the specific space heating demand.

Carly recently presented the project at the Hannover Passivhaus conference. Here are some of the project specs:

  • Space heating demand: 11.4 kWh/m²a (3.61 kBTU/ft²a)
  • Primary energy demand: 104 kWh/m²a (32.9 kBTU/ft²a)
  • Blower door: 0.51 ach50
  • Wall U-factor: 0.09 W/m²K (R-63)
  • Slab U-factor: 0.10 W/m²K (R-57)
  • Roof U-factor: 0.06 W/m²K (R-94)
  • (7,795 HDDs)

The project is also rocking a solar domestic hot water system (Velux) that is expected to provide nearly two-thirds of the domestic hot water needs, and a PV system for site net zero energy.

The project went through BRE in Watford, UK, for Passivhaus certification, is Energy Starcertified, and is expected to hit LEED for Homes Platinum after Landscape verification by the Green Rater Laura Paprocki.

Total cost for NewenHouse – including solar DHW, PV, and accessory structures – is a whopping $173/sf. If there was a LEED Titanium, this über-tiny Passivhaus in an “extreme” environment would surely qualify.

Newenhouse, who aptly describes herself as an eco-entrepreneur, is also founder and president of Community Car LLC in Madison, and just sold the Madison Environmental Group, a business she founded 13 years ago, to an employee. In the next year, she plans to launch a business selling three house designs — a 500-square-foot one-bedroom, an 800-square-foot two-bedroom, and a 1,000-square-foot three-bedroom. An option for a detached stuga, Swedish for “cabin,” includes storage space, a root cellar, sleeping loft, sitting area and wood stove. With her business, Newenhouse says she is trying to bring together three movements: the green building movement, the small house movement and the sustainable- or simple-living movement.

A brief overview of her kit house can be found at http://www.madisonenvironmental.com/documents/NewenHouseHandout_10%2010%2011%20(3).pdf

You can contact Newenhouse at 608-220-8029 or Sonya@madisonenvironmental.com. A link to her blog is on the a at madisonenvironmental.com. Or if you’re planning to drop in, which she says she welcomes, she lives at 422 Hickory St. in Viroqua WI.

Want to learn more about Passive House features & LEED?   is hosting a free webinar of another Homeowner’s journey in Michigan who attempted passive house & is on track for LEED Platinum. Missed it? It will be recorded and a 2 hour video series on it’s construction & post occupancy living will be out by Fall. https://greenhomeinstitute.org/education-and-events/a-journey-to-passive-house-leed-homeowners-tale-free-webinar/

This article is a mash up between Joe Orso of the Lacrosse Tribune and Mike Eliason of Green Building Advisor. Their stories can be found here

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/joe-orso-building-for-the-future/article_b4265ffc-709d-11e1-8457-001871e3ce6c.html

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/guest-blogs/cold-climate-passivhaus-construction-costs?utm_source=email&utm_medium=eletter&utm_term=energy-efficiency&utm_content=20120606-2012-iecc-specs&utm_campaign=green-building-advisor-eletter

 

Top 10 Neighborhood in Nation just got greener with new LEED Home

The home at 1135 North Grove has earned LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding and design. It will be the first residence in Oak Park to receive LEED certification, and this new custom home was built for less than $150 per square foot.

1135 North Grove is one of 40 homes in Chicagoland that have been certified using LEED (view the LEED Project Profile).  The single-family home was built by Wicklow Development Group, renowned for their expertise in green building and historic preservation. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, Wicklow Development Group is helping to keep homeownership affordable. Green homes have substantially lower utility bills[1] and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives.

“As a LEED Platinum home, 1135 North Grove is at the national forefront of green homes, and serves as a model of healthy and efficient living for the entire community,” said Jason La Fleur, Regional Director for the Green Home Institute, who also served as the third-party verifier for the project. “Their example can help us all to live better by reducing our environmental footprint, cutting the costs of our utility bills, and coming home to a healthier place to live.” La Fleur is hosting a free webinar on May 9 for real estate professionals interested in learning more about LEED homes.

Oak Park Solar PV panels
Solar panels on the roof of 1135 Grove

1135 North Grove reduces energy use 66% below the typical new home built to code.  The four bedroom project features low-e argon windows, high efficiency lighting fixtures, detailed attention to preventing air leakage, and blown-in fiberglass insulation.  Other energy efficiency upgrades include a geothermal heating system which also provides most hot water heat, and a rarely-used backup electric water heater. An ultra-efficient electric induction cooktop is used in the kitchen. The roof angle was optimized for solar panels which produce electricity to power the home, without visually disturbing the home’s facade.

Located in one of the “Top 10 Neighborhoods in the Nation” according to the American Planning Association, the home features a very walk-friendly location in the heart of a neighborhood with many historic homes designed by notable architects.

Homeowner Tim Carey says, “Fitting a new construction home into a historic neighborhood creates a challenge for designers and builders. This project demonstrates that you can build a beautiful, traditional looking home, with a green design and features, yet keep with the character of an established community such as Oak Park.”

Electric induction cooktop and high end kitchen finishes


Induction cooktop and high-end kitchen finishes

As a result of incorporating energy saving products and technologies, 1135 North Grove has achieved an impressively low 34 Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score. Additionally, the combination of electric using-and-producing systems at 1135 North Grove has resulted in affordable energy bills for the homeowners who have been living in the home for a full year. The house has had modestly low electricity bills, and as an all-electric home no natural gas is used, so there are no natural gas bills.

A heat recovery ventilator provides fresh air distributed throughout the home to keep it healthy for the homeowners and recovering some of the energy used to condition the air. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and locally sourced materials have been used throughout the house.  Proving building green can be done affordably, 1135 North Grove was built with a total construction cost of $145 per square foot after renewable energy incentives, below the Chicagoland average construction cost for custom new homes.

 

Learn more and see construction photos at the project web site for 1135 North Grove, or view theLEED Project Profile for the home.

About Wicklow Development Group

The Wicklow Development Group LLC are landmark building and restoration professionals, and have been a Chicagoland builder for over 25 years with a passion for historic preservation and green building expertise.   For more information, contact Paul Wicklow 708-351-9683, or visitwww.wicklowdevelopmentgroup.com/greenhome.

Sheltered: Underground & Off the Grid.

Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes, past board member and builder of many of West Michigan’s earlier LEED for Homes projects is presenting a unique northern Michigan project. He will also be debuting is brand new book. More details below or catch the trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7xoMIgEB-Y&feature=youtu.be

Illinois Net-Zero-Energy masterpiece producing 40 percent more energy than it consumes

Starting with an eco-conscious dream for a truly green home transformed owner Michael Yannell’s Chicago residence into a $1.6 million, two-story 2,675-square-foot, four bedroom and two-bath Net-Zero-Energy masterpiece, producing 40 percent more energy than it consumes.

Completed in 2009, it is not only Chicago’s first LEED Platinum-certified home, but it has scored higher than any other LEED-certified project in history. Architect Farr Associates, builder Goldberg General Contracting Inc. and engineering MEP firm dbHMS created this urban infill project to utilize aspects of alternative energies through passive solar, solar grid technology, a greywater system and closed looped geothermal heating and cooling components. According to owner Michael Yannell, the main goal of this project was to create a more energy- and water-efficient, environmentally conscious place to live and to set an example by building a home as sustainable as possible. Incidentally, the green materials generally were no more expensive than conventional alternatives.

This Net-Zero-Energy residence was built using the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED for Homes Pilot Program regulations. In order to earn the coveted LEED Platinum-certification, a project must meet the 100-point requirement, in which the Yannell residence scored 115.5. According to Net-Zero statistics, the Yannell residence generates 18,000 kWh/yr and uses only 12, 689 kWh/yr, earning the Yannell property an approximate $52,000 in tax credits in 2008-2009.

According to Jonathon Boyer, principal and director of architecture for Farr Associates, the permit and design processes were a challenge from the beginning, but thanks to help from a hand-picked team, deadlines were met and the project was a success.

“We put together a team of engineers, contractors, and a landscape architect, and the entire project was a team effort,” Boyer said. “Building Net-Zero-Energy is very difficult, and it requires cooperation between all components and consultants. We believe we’ve broken the sound barrier with this house, especially in the Chicago area.”

This being the first LEED-certified home came with obstacles along the way. According to Boyer, by creating new systems such as the greywater system, which recycles water used from the washing machine for the toilets, it was tricky trying to solidify the permit process. It has opened up new options for Chicago to consider when building more sustainable homes.

“It was a learning process, the city of Chicago was open to it. We didn’t have any hard and clear standards in the city for permitting this kind of system,” Boyer explained. “As a result of this house, the city of Chicago Committee of Standards and Tests is adopting a new state / city code for rainwater / greywater reuse. “We were pioneers and induced the city to think about changing permits to use more sustainable elements into the residential market,” Boyer said.

Other than utilizing alternative energies, the Yannell residence’s modern design integrated into the traditional neighborhood fuses form with function in a dense infill space. The home was built on a recycled lot where the previous building could not be salvaged. Boyer explained that typically energy-efficient homes are bland and lack style, but in this case, the owner and the building team wanted something well-designed and unique.”He [owner, Michael Yannell] wanted

something aesthetically compelling and functional,” Boyer said.

The floor plan is designed as a dual-wing connected by a foyer, which acts as an entry and passageway, both equipped with south-facing windows to utilize natural light and garden views. The positioning of the wings help compete with the Midwestern climate year-round. With temperatures ranging from the high 90s in the summer to blistering zero-below winters, it was crucial to find the most sustainable design possible. Each wing has a uniquely shaped multi-functional V-shaped green-roof designed for stormwater management and for concealing the 48 photovoltaic grids on the home. “The

butterfly pattern roofs are designed to screen the solar panels from view, while providing an ideal angle for the panels to harness the sun’s energy,” Boyer said. Although the Yannell residence has received the highest LEED score, the materials it took to achieve the title are not unattainable for other eco-conscience projects. According to Boyer, “LEED for Homes is less than $3,000 for certification.” In this case, it assisted in the construction process by acting as a detailed guide when installing aspects such as air quality, water systems and when planning the positioning.

Although there is no set specific standard definition for a Net-Zero- Energy home, Boyer said that there are other homes out there that claims to be Net-Zer-Energy, but many have only lowered their energy consumption. Only the Yannell property has the data to back it up. According to Principal of MEP firm dbHMS, Sachin Anand, “It’s [the Yannell residence] the future of housing and power generation where each home is a greenhouse emission-free power plant.”

View LEED for Homes Project Profile 

http://www.elledecor.com/image/tid/5950

Photography By Christopher Barrett. Evan Lancaster is an editorial assistant at Green Homebuilder magazine. He may be contacted at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Built for the Future. The Yannell residence in Ravenswood, Ill., a traditional neighborhood outside of Chicago, breaks barriers of traditional homebuilding by perfecting green practices. From http://www.greenhomebuildermag.com/fall42.php

Saranac McClellan Home goes platinum + zero energy in West Michigan

This 3-bedroom home with an attached 2-bedroom mother-in-law cottage provides living, workshop and home-office space for the homeowners and their mothers. It features barrier-free design throughout with zero-step entry, low thresholds, roll-in showers, grab bars, and knee-space under sinks and cooktops.

Go here to see an interactive website of the home with data on energy use compared to energy captured through PV

The super-insulated shell uses double-stud wall construction with 24,000 pounds of recycled cellulose insulation in the walls and attic, and a 6-inch layer of reclaimed foam insulation under the stained concrete floor. Heat from six flat-plate solar collectors is stored in an insulated 2,500-gallon water tank, which warms the floor and also provides most of the heat for domestic hot water.

High-efficiency wood stoves make up the balance of winter heating needs, and a small electric backup heater maintains temperatures when necessary. The home is designed to produce more electricity than it consumes on an annual basis.

The home has no lawn and is surrounded instead by gardens. The steel roof collects 2,000 gallons per inch of rainwater, which is stored in an 11,000 gallon cistern for garden irrigation and flushing toilets. A root cellar built into the hill behind the house provides zero-energy cold storage of fruits and vegetables.

As of October 2010 the Jay & Liz McClellan home officially earned a LEED Platinum rating, which is the highest of 4 levels of certification offered by the USGBC. They achieved a HERS index of 20, which one of the best in the state of Michigan.

This summarizes our energy production and consumption for calendar year 2011.Ing Label Saranac

Statistics

Solar electricity produced: 6033 kW h (16.5 kW h per day)
Electricity consumed: 6150 kW h (16.8 kW h per day)
Non-heating: 5350 kW h,  heating: 800 kW h
Net electricity deficit: 117 kW h (-2%)

Discussion

“Our first 12-month report started April 1 2010 when we first activated the PV system and went through April 1 2011, but this report covers calendar year 2011 so there are a few months of overlap. For calendar year 2011 we fell just short of our goal to produce more electricity than we consumed, with a net deficit of 117 kW h for the year. Compared to our first 12 months of operation, average daily production dropped by 0.3 kW h but consumption increased 1.8 kW h. Some of that is due to having an additional family member living here since mid-year, and some is due to adding an upright freezer that uses about 1 kW / day.”

“Below is a graph showing the inside (red) and outside (blue) temperatures that we recorded throughout the year. Overall the house was very comfortable, with just a few days in the upper 70s during some hot summer weather when allergies made us reluctant to open up the house at night since our ventilation system filters out pollen from the incoming air.”

“The graph below shows the heat storage tank temperatures over the year. The big gap is when we drained the tank due to a leak, and we were able to get the tank warmed up again in the fall but not to the degree we would have liked.”

Follow their blog at http://brainright.com/

 

Determining Value of Solar Just Got Easier

The additional property value of solar has always been an issue in the industry. Homeowners and professionals both recognize the inherent asset value of solar just as you realize asset value for other home improvements such as a kitchen remodel or bathroom addition.  But quantifying that for real estate appraisers, brokers, and lenders has been an issue – until now.

Consistent appraisals of homes and businesses outfitted with photovoltaic (PV) installations are a real challenge for the nation’s real estate industry, but a new tool developed by Sandia National Laboratories and Solar Power Electric™ and licensed by Sandia addresses that issue. Sandia scientists, in partnership with Jamie Johnson of Solar Power Electric™, have developed PV ValueTM, an electronic form to standardize appraisals. Funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the tool will provide appraisers, real estate agents and mortgage underwriters with more accurate values for PV systems.

“Previous methods for appraising PV installations on new or existing construction have been challenging because they were not using standard appraisal practices,” said Geoff Klise, the Sandia researcher who co-developed the tool. “Typically, appraisers develop the value of a property improvement based on comparable properties with similar improvements as well as prevailing market conditions. If there aren’t PV systems nearby, there is no way to make an improvement comparison. When a PV system is undervalued or not valued at all, it essentially ignores the value of the electricity being produced and the potential savings over the lifetime of the system. By developing a standard methodology for appraisers when comparables are not available, homeowners will have more incentive to install PV systems, even if they consider moving a few years after system installation.”

The tool uses an Excel spreadsheet, tied to real-time lending information and market fluctuations, to determine the worth of a PV system. An appraiser enters such variables as the ZIP code where the system is located, the system size in watts, the derate factor – which takes into account shading and other factors that affect a system’s output – tracking, tilt and azimuth, along with a few other factors, and the spreadsheet returns the value of the system as a function of a pre-determined risk spread. The solar resource calculation in the spreadsheet is based on the PVWattsTM simulator developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which allows the spreadsheet to value a PV system anywhere in the U.S.

“With PV Value™, appraisers can quickly calculate the present value of energy that a PV system can be estimated to produce during its remaining useful lifetime, similar to the appraisal industry’s income approach,” said Johnson. “Additionally, a property owner thinking about installing PV can now estimate the remaining present value of energy for their future PV system and what it could be worth to a purchaser of their property at any point in time in the event a sale of the property takes place before the estimated payback date is reached.”

The tool is being embraced by the Appraisal Institute, which is the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers. “From my perspective as an appraiser, I see that this is a great tool to assist the appraiser in valuations, and it connects to the Appraisal Institute’s recent Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum. It’s an easy, user-friendly spreadsheet that will not bog the appraiser down with a lot of extra time in calculations, and if they fill out the addenda properly, they’ll be able to make the inputs and come up with some numbers fairly quickly,” said Sandy Adomatis, SRA, a real estate appraiser and member of the Appraisal Institute.

Although the tool is licensed for solar PV installations, it could be used for other large green features in a home that generate income, such as wind turbines. The spreadsheet, user manual and webinar explaining the tool are available for download at http://pv.sandia.gov/pvvalue.

Solar Power Electric™ located in Port Charlotte, Fla., is an electrical contracting and solar integration company specializing in the installation of commercial and residential photovoltaic systems.

Lowell MI House Tour – "Tightest Home around?"

Sam Pobst has offered to host a LEED for Homes meeting and tour at his house under construction.

Sam is targeting a LEED Platinum House. He has incorporated many very efficient features. In fact, the recent blower door test came in at “0.26 ACH, the lowest reading the Green Rater, Mike Holcomb has ever had. ”

This house attempted Passive Haus certification but fell short. Many lessons are to be learned as to why it was not achieved.

MARK YOUR CALENDER if you want to see this stellar construction in process:

Date: Friday, February 3, 2012
Time: 10 am – 12 pm
Address & Info:

13691 Beckwith Drive NE

Lowell, MI 49331

616-648-7493

Follow the project here http://sumacgrove.blogspot.com/

Chicago North Shore Home Earns LEED Platinum

Glencoe, IL LEED Platinum exteriorA Glencoe, IL home has just been awarded a Platinum rating by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED for Homes program, the highest level possible. The house is only the second new-construction LEED Platinum home in the State of Illinois and the first LEED Platinum home on the North Shore. View the LEED Project Snapshot

The Washington Avenue home was designed by Nathan Kipnis, AIA of Kipnis Architecture + Planning of Evanston and built by Scott Simpson Builders of Northbrook. Owners Barry and Natalie Slotnick moved into the house in April of 2011 with their two young children.
Glencoe, IL LEED Platinum rooflineThis home is unique in its commitment to staying within the aesthetic of the surrounding community while implementing a wide range of green goals. It’s one of the few LEED homes to take a non-modernist approach to its exterior, as well as being informed by traditional low-impact building philosophies. The home is classic in its style, form and proportions, yet modern in its use of materials, colors and systems. Green features include passive, natural ventilation; passive solar heating and cooling; water-efficient indoor plumbing fixtures including a waterless urinal; low and no-VOC finishes and fixtures; standing seam metal roofing; cement fiberboard siding; and prefabricated framing.

Architect Kipnis states, “The house was built for 40% of the cost of the first LEED Platinum home in Illinois and in a style that appeals to a much wider cross section of the public. While these homes can be thought of as pioneering efforts, if the goal is to engage the public then the design should be contextual to neighborhood and not be aesthetically shocking.  The Slotnick’s home is a perfect example of this.”

Glencoe, IL LEED Platinum interior

LEED for Homes is a voluntary, third-party certification program developed by residential experts and experienced builders. LEED promotes the design and construction of high performance green homes, and encourages the adoption of sustainable practices throughout the building industry.

Download the LEED Project Snapshot

Contacts:
Barry Slotnick – 847-875-4920; bslotnick@varisport.com
Nathan Kipnis – 847-864-9650; nkipnis@kipnisarch.com

Socially & environmentally conscious homeowners certify in SE Michigan

Designed by Young & Young Architects, the contemporary “green” house is constructed of stone, cement plaster, copper, and glass. A bridge connects two sections of the home. The landscaping consists of indigenous, drought-resistant plants and grasses. all the materials used to build an ultra-green home in Bloomfield Township came from within a 500-mile radius, to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements. But the idea for the house took root thousands of miles away.

“We travel to South America a lot, and when we’d fly over the jungle, we’d notice large swaths being clear-cut and burned,” says Art Roffey, who owns the home with his wife, Gail Danto.

“We spent time with the tribal people, and they would talk in terms of being custodians of their land, but they were seeing it disappear,” he says. “That was a big influence for wanting to build our home.”

The couple also noticed the recession of glaciers in the Andes. So, when they decided to build their house on Indian Pond, they were keenly aware of the environment.

The 1950s-era home formerly on the site was deconstructed, and all the materials were recycled and donated to the non-profit Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit.

“We wanted to build a house that was beautiful and elegant and also honor the environment at the same time,” Danto says.

By all accounts, they accomplished that, with the assistance of Bloomfield Hills-based Young & Young Architects (Don Paul Young was the principal architect); LEED consultant Jim Newman, from Newman Consulting Inc. in Bloomfield Hills; Joseph Maiorano, from the Artisans Group in Royal Oak; and interior designer Diane Hancock, of Diane Hancock Designs.

At press time, the house was under review by the U.S. Green Building Council for Platinum certification — the highest level. The design also resulted in five 2011 Detroit Home Design Awards last March.

The home, which Roffey and Danto moved into in January 2010, is green as grass: Heating and cooling is geothermal; electricity is supplemented by 30 solar panels; a graywater system filters and stores water for non-drinkable reuse; the roof is recycled copper; and all appliances are Energy Star compliant.

Sustainability harvested teak was used extensively, as was lyptus wood. “You cut it at the trunk, and it grows a new trunk, which is the ultimate in recycling,” Roffey says.

Some of the furniture was designed by Hancock, who used recycled materials for fabric. Several Hancock-designed pieces were made by local artisans, Danto says.

Wherever possible, recycled or repurposed materials were employed. A circa 1900 leaded-glass window, bought at Materials Unlimited in Ypsilanti, is in the kitchen. Several Art Deco light fixtures and grates were also repurposed.

“We like integrating old and new,” Roffey says, and that sentiment extends to their extensive art collection.

“We have a lot of old Peruvian art,” Danto explains, “but we also have a large art glass collection, which is very contemporary.”

Weavings from Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru mingle with Asian art. Several of the artworks are displayed in lighted niches throughout the

7,500-square-foot house.

One challenge for the architects was the topography.

“A natural swale cuts through the middle of the property and actually bisects it,” Roger Young says. The solution was to create two sections, eastern and western pods, linked by a bridge. Echoing Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic-architecture philosophy of bringing the outdoors in, the architects created the home so that it’s flooded with natural light from copious windows and skylights.

Young also strove for an organic flow, “to create spaces that aren’t rooms. There’s a big difference.” That effect was achieved by fewer walls and doors, which delineate space.

The outdoor property was also designed with an eye toward the environment.

“The whole landscape is indigenous materials, and all the plants are drought-tolerant,” Young says. But, he adds, it was a tough sell to local officials.

“In Bloomfield Township, as in most municipalities, you have to have lawn,” he says. “So we had to convince them that these hedge grasses grow to a certain height and then stop growing. Eventually, they got on board.”

For Young, that victory was sweet, because it’s paying dividends.

“When you walk into the Bloomfield Township building department, there’s a huge LEED wall with testimonials on how others can go green,” he says. “They use this house as a case study.”
More details http://leedforhomesusa.com/drc/roffey.pdf

BY GEORGE BULANDA
http://www.detroithomemag.com/Detroit-Home/Summer-2011/Taking-the-LEED/


 PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN MACONOCHIE