Monday, December 31, 2007

To go along with our Prairie Style theme this month I wanted to show you some of the other design capabilities of Image Design. Besides designing homes we enjoy designing many other facet of the home including Stained Glass or Art Glass as some call it. Shown here is a example Frank Lloyd Wright inspired stained glass we designed for the Prairie Style home featured below. Locally we prefer to work with Tom Blackburn of Pristine Glass Company there are one of the leading studios in the Great Lakes area. I have worked with him on numerous window and door projects over the years and their work has been flawless. Please visit there web-site. If you would like to find out more about our stained glass designs please contact us.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This month we will feature a example of Prairie Style Architecture. Those of you that know me, know that I am a big fan of this style. This award winning home was influenced by the prairie-style architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, evident in the roofline as well as in the materials and organic building form. With a shallow pitched hip roofs with large overhangs these home are perfect for Passive Solar heating and cooling, the large overhangs shade the home's in the summer from direct sunlight and in the winter they let the sun light in to warm the home; large casement windows and a clear story in the middle of the house provide plenty of daylight for a comfortable interior. At 2,890 square feet, the house is not small, but the experience of being in it feels quite intimate. There’s extraordinary focus on detail and quality craftsmanship throughout, creating an incomparable home of both remarkable comfort and timeless character. As with most of our prairie style homes we used custom stained glass thru-out the home. If you would like to find out more about this project or other plans we have in this style please contact us.

Monday, December 10, 2007

In October and November we polled our blog reader on "What are the most important design features they were looking for in a new home". And the following were the results of our poll.

  • Lifetime Design 43%
  • Sustainable (Green) Design 58%
  • Not So Big House Design 49%
  • Passive Solar Design 45%
  • None of the above 6%

I want to thank everyone that took part in the poll we had over 100 responses, it will help us in our marketing research. I believe that all of the features above should be standard on all new homes! If you would like to find out more about any of the above features please email me or call. Also please check out the new poll on "What your favorite home style".

This Saturday Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes (TM) and I went down to Ann Arbor for the annual GLREA (Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association) membership meeting. Where Team Hybrid won the GLREA 2007 Exemplary Project Award for the Onekama Hybrid Show House!

The GLREA handed us 17 plaques for each of the Team Hybrid Members who were vital to the project's success. It is important to remember, that there were several projects nominated from the Great Lakes Region.

The award reads:
"In recognition of the Onekama Hybrid Home, demonstrating the most innovative and practical use of renewable energy technologies and methods"

We are more than thrilled to win this award as a Team!

The members recognized were:

Hybrid Homes, LLC
Image Design, LLC
The Homeowners
Bauer Power
Sky Stream (wind generator)
Schucco (Solar Hot Water System)
Galaxy Electric
H and H plumbing and heating
Andersen Windows
Shaw Flooring

CertainTeed (Cement Board Siding)
R-Value Concrete Structures
Team Elmers
(Concrete Supplier)
Onekama Building Supply
Standale Lumber

Alliance for Environmental Sustainability
Wall Tech Products (ICF Supplier)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This week NBC is featuring "Green Week," NBC will be "entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to live greener lives," with these Special Episodes of your favorite shows check it out and see what you can learn. I don't know how green NBC really is but I guess its a step in the right direction. Also if you get a chance the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) GreenBuild show is this week on the 7th-9th in Chicago. I know many builders and supplier that will be going to the show. I unfortunately am unable to attend the show. So if any of you see any interesting products or literature that you think I might like please pick-up a extra one for me. You might have noticed green is every where you look and with gas pricing predicted to be above $4.00 per gallon by next summer. I feel confident that my prediction that the future of building will be green is correct. See this latest article from Ecogeek that confirms my predictions at . Now is a great time to have your green home designed with interests rates and lumber prices at a all time low. Give us a call and let us show you how a green home can enhance your families lives.

Friday, November 02, 2007

This month we will feature a example of Arts & craft style Architecture. This 5 bedroom 3,676 sq. ft. Craftsman style homes has many timeless features such as stained glass windows, numerous built-ins, window seats, ceiling details and book shelves through out the three levels of the house. You'll feel comfortable with the warm interior and exterior colors of this home. The exterior is of stone and cement board siding and shake with the walls insulated with soy based foam insulation. If you would like to find out more about this project or other plans we have in this style please contact us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This month we will feature a example of Cottage Style Architecture. This 1,400 sq. ft. cottage in Harbor Springs was design to reflect the timeless cottage architecture and the Not So Big House principles.
The material of the exterior are cement board shingles (with fly ash mix). The stone chimney and foundation add to the authintic "Shingle Style" nature of the project. If you would like to find out more about this project or other plans we have in this style please contact us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It seem like summer went bye very fast, I hope you all enjoyed the summer and are enjoying the fall colors. We have be fortunate to be staying busy in this ever changing economy. I believe this is do to the current demand for green building here in Michigan. I strongly believe green building will be the future of building here in Michigan. I just wanted to give you a update on whats been going on here since August. Our project in Lamont Farms in Coopersville has been put on hold unfortunately. But on the brighter side the projects in Paw Paw and here in Grand Rapids have approved the preliminary designs and are in the pricing phase with Hybrid Homes (TM). The Onekama project with Hybrid Homes (TM) is nearing completion (Check-out the updated photos on there web-site) and is getting ready for final third party testing for LEED for Homes certification thru AES (Alliance for Environment sustainability). Our Dix Farms project with Scott Bronkema Builders is under construction now and we are anxious to see it go up. We have also been working with some new builders on several potential projects here in west Michigan. And we also have been interviewing for several more job all over the state and even one in a different country.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

We have been asked by you to show some more examples of our work. So every month I'll show a different example of a different style of residential architecture. This month will feature Old World Style, this house combines stone and cement board siding with a stucco and board and batton look with gable peaks and arched windows for a stunning European facade. If you would like to find out more about this project or other plans we have in this style please contact us.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I hope you all had a good Labor Day! To give you and update for the month of August we are progressing along on the preliminary designs for the prairie style project which will be going in Lamont Farms in Cooperville. We have been commissioned for two new project, both of them will be sustainable, ICF and Passive solar, lifetime designed homes that will be built by Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes (TM). The first one will be in Paw Paw Michigan (pictured above). This project will be built next to a vinyard of concord grapes and will include wind generation, solar hot water, radiant heat, photovoltaic and maybe even geothermal. The second project will be here in Grand Rapids and will be a 1,400 sq. ft. home with solar hot water, radiant heat and pre-wired for future photovoltaic.
I have been nominated the chair for the West Michigan Chapter of the USGBC LEED for Homes Committee. This committee will be working on educating the public about LEED for Homes program and its benefit over other green building programs here in Michigan. If you or you builder would like to find out more on this program please give me a call.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This is an article by a friend of mine that I thought you all would be interested in. Mike Holcomb the author of this article owns the Home Insepector General. Mike is also the director of the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES) which has been selected to participate in the LEED for Homes pilot program as a provider for the Midwest.

Insulation 101

I've been an insulation auditor for 15 years working with contractors that wanted to be certified installers. As a field auditor I've seen it all, the good, bad and indifferent. The industry's dirty little secret is that 70% of all insulation jobs are under insulated. The cheating by the insulation industry is rampant. The FTC has issued special rules and fines (up to $10,000 per incident) for general contractors not meeting the contract requirements. There are three reason why insulation is shorted. Operator error caused by a lack of training or equipment failures, mislabeled packaging my manufacturing and fraud (selling low bid and shorting the material to make up for it. Loose fill insulation, like fiberglass, can be fluffed up like whipping cream, giving the illlusion of adequate R-value (based on depth). But insulation depth is only an indicator of R-value if the density is adequate. Increasing your insulation from R-13 to R-19 may not improve the thermal performance of your home. Heat moves three ways:

  1. Radiation.

  2. Conduction.

  3. Convection.

Radiation is heat movement through space. The sun heats the earth by radiation. Houses can be impacted by radiated heat that enters through window assemblies or through the roof.
Conduction is heat movement through a solid object. Heat transfers one adjacent molecule at a time. Convection is heat movement through a liquid. Air is a liquid. Forced air HVAC systems transmit heat convectively as do convective ovens. Most of our heat loss in our buildings is convective in nature. Fiberglass blanket is not effective at stopping air movement so it is not effective at stopping heat loss. Even when installed in a wall cavity fiberglass insulation is by-passed by convective air movement in the cavity through convective loops. Convective loops form when the air inside a wall cavity begins to move because it is cooled (and drops) along the outside wall and rises (as it is warmed along the inside wall. The warm air will rise until it get to the top and cools again as it hits the top of the outside wall, and drops. Pretty soon the cold air is pulled right through the insulation, in effect by-passing it. When selecting insulation it is best to pay attention to density. Generally the denser the insulation material the more effective the insulation. Each insulation in the list below will out perform the insulation above it:

  • Fiberglass blanket (or batts).

  • Dense-packed fiberglass (BIBS system).

  • Cellulose (wet spray).

  • Cellulose (dry packed).

  • Closed-cell, spray foam.

  • Open-cell, spray foam.
I prefer open-cell to closed-cell because hard foams can separate from the wood framing if the framing moves at all (wind loads, snow loads, humidity changes, etc.) Most insulation materials have an R-value of about 1 per inch. Would you rather have 1-inch of fiberglass (your furnace filter) or 1-inch of Styrofoam protecting you from the cold? Since most of the heat loss in a building is convective through the ceiling you should consider installing a material that can seal the attic against air movement. If you can't afford open-cell foam you should consider air sealing the attic before installing cellulose. Fiberglass should not be used in an attic with high temperature differences between indoors and outdoors. In no case should you upgrade your thermal envelop without investing in an energy audit by a qualified energy auditor. You can locate a rater in your location by going to Experienced raters can inspect your house to determine what system(s) in the house are wasting energy. Chances are that you will not be able to address all the problems but can cherry pick recommendations based on investment and benefit. I recently removed R-60 cellulose insulation from my attic and replaced it with R-24, soy-based, spray-foam. I reduced energy usage by 50%. The cost, $4,300 was recovered in 3 years.

By Mike Holcomb

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We are proud to announce that our 2007 Michigan Energy Fair show house built by Hybrid Homes (TM) will also be featured on this tour. So if you did get a chance to see the home then, please come see it on October 6th from 10 am till 4 pm on the 2007 Michigan Sustainable Homes and Businesses Tour (formerly Michigan Solar Tour) it is part of the ASES National Solar Tour. The solar tour is free and self-guided. You can visit as many sites as you would like, in any order that you would like. This tour offers a first-hand look at the successful uses of renewable energy and energy efficiency in buildings, both private and public, across the state. These homes and building will incorporating solar applications such as solar hot water heating, passive solar design, and solar photovoltaic electricity. Much more than solar energy will be on display, however. Buildings and home which make use of other forms of alternative energy such as wind or geothermal heating and cooling will also be included. Energy efficient and sustainable building practices will also be featured on the tour. We hope to see you there!

Tours will be held in the following areas this year:

  • Greater Lansing Area
  • Metro Detroit Area
  • Greater Ann Arbor Area
  • Southwest Michigan Area
  • Greater Traverse City Area
  • Greater Grand Rapids Area
  • Northwest Michigan Area (Hybrid Home Tour)

Monday, July 30, 2007

We just finished the designs for Scott Bronkema Builders 2008 Spring Parade Home which will be in Dix Farm development. This will be a lifetime designed Arts & Craft style with lots of built-ins and details sure to be another award winning home for Scott. We are also starting a new project that Scott will be building in Lamont Farms in Coopersville, the project will be a lifetime designed Prairie style home with strong Frank LLoyd Wright influences through-out the home. Looks like our award winning 2006 Fall Parade of Homes with Scott Bronkema Builders in Howard City will be published in the October 2007 issue of Grand Rapids Cosmopolitan Homes magazine.

The 2007 Michigan Energy Fair show homes is getting closer to completion check-out the updated photo on Hybrid Homes (TM) website. This home is also slated to be published in the Traverse Northern Home & Cottage magazine in May 2008. We are also starting another Sustainable (Green) home in Paw Paw this home is looking at having wind generation, photovoltaic, solar hot water, passive solar and lifetime designs.

One of our commercial project in Ludington is also nearing completion Michigan Trucking & Equipment Sales (see the photo above). If you want to see the picture larger just double click it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I know this has nothing to do with design, but if your up north around the Lake Charlevoix area and get a chance, stop by Jordan Valley Trout Pond its just 3 1/2 miles south of East Jordan on highway M-66. It was my grandfathers original trout farm. It has been brought back to the way I remember it when my grandfather was alive. It is now owned and operated by my uncle and aunt. Its a beautiful place to visit and you are sure to catch all the trout you would like. It is an exciting adventure for children, teenagers and adults alike. We'll be visiting the farm on our vacation next week. Listed below are some of the features you'll find there.
  • Rainbow Trout.
  • Family Fishing.
  • Fishing Poles, Fly Rods, Bait, and Tackle provided at no charge.
  • No License Required.
  • Fish cleaned and iced or
  • Catch & Release.

Have fun and be sure to tell them I sent you! Please let me know what you think of it if you stop bye.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hopefully some of you got a chance to hear us speak this morning on Shelley Irwin's morning radio show for WGVU Radio. If not, we were on her morning show with Mike Holcomb of the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES) and the Home Inspector General, Inc and Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes (TM). We were on the show to talk about the Michigan Energy Fair and to give our perspectives on green building and design. We talked about many interesting thing all which were associate with the LEED for Homes program which we are all passionate about. We believe the LEED for Homes program is the best way for a homeowner, builder or designer to achieve a truly green home. I just want to thank Shelly for having us on her show and hopefully we can do it again sometime.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It started off with the VIP party at our show house which had a great turn out! And the debut of the new Team Hybrid trailer. The Trailer was so cool Adam decided to take it down to his booth at the energy fair. The trailer drew people over to the Hybrid Row which was a row of vendors including myself that were involved with the Hybrid show home. We also were published in the Ludington, Manistee and Traverse City newspapers and mentioned on TV and radio. We meet congressmen, senators, state and local officials along with a lot of great people interested in green building what more could we ask for. Our booths were continuously packed with people interested in the processes of the show house and our individual companies Image Design and Adam Bearup's company Hybrid Homes (TM). Adam and I also gave a seminar on building a Hybrid Home(TM) from start to finish. We were excited to see all 70 seat's full and people standing at every opening to hear what we were saying. Afterward people kept asking us if or when we were speaking again. And to top that we were invited to speak at several colleges and organizations. I have spent the last few days emailing and calling all the different people and contact's we made during the Energy Fair. What a great event I can't wait until next year. I want to thank Adam Bearup and all of team hybrid for making it a wonderful experience. I also want to give my wife Christy, a special thank you for being there and working so hard to promote our business along with Hybrid Homes (TM), and Team Hybrid (TM).

Monday, June 18, 2007

I hope you all get a chance to visit the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair and our Show House this weekend. We are having a VIP party on Thursday from 6:00 til when ever. Check out the unveiling of the one of a kind design Team Hybrid trailer designed by Casey Handwerk of HP Wraps . Also please stop by Hybrid Row and see all the people involved with the show house we will be at booth 44 right next to Hybrid Homes (TM). And don't forget to take the Hybrid Challenge for a chance to win $2,000 dollars cash, a TOTO dual flush toilet or a Panasonic Whisper Green bath fan. This should be a great weekend. See you there!

Monday, June 11, 2007

After I was hired for the Onekama project and we defined with the builder (Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes ) and the home owners that it was going to a green project and proposed that it would be the show house for the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair. I started researching green building on the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) web-site and found the LEED for Homes (LEED-H) pilot program, I rushed to the phone and called our regional LEED-H administrator, the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES). I was excited to find out it was just 10 minute from our office. I quickly signed up for their LEED for Homes training class with Adam Bearup the builder. With AES help, Image Design and Hybrid Homes (TM) are excited to be at the forefront of this growing movement and believe that elegance in design in design cannot be achieved any other way. Mike Holcomb of AES is in the process of rating our first LEED for Homes project which we are proud to say is projected "Platinum". This would be the first LEED for Home "Platinum" project in Michigan and one of only a handfull in the nation with a LEED "Platinum" status. The LEED rating system has four levels (“shades”) of green: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, with Platinum being the highest level of LEED certification. We are also working on numerous other LEED for Home projects and seeing great interest in the LEED for Homes progam and green building.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Today is the birthday of Frank LLoyd Wright. Widely regarded as America's most influential architect, Frank Lloyd Wright left behind a rich legacy of homes and buildings, and created a distinctly American style of architecture that continues to influence architects to this day. He was born June 8, 1867 and pasted a way in April 9, 1959. His work has influence my life since I was a young teenager. I have been and still am inspire by his work. Some of my favorite works of his are Fallingwater, Meyer May House and all the Prairie Style and Usonian houses . Wright's philosophy in architecture promoted harmony between the building, its inhabitants and nature. His homes became part of their surroundings. He minimized their presence and maximized their practicality. He revolutionized modern architecture with the essentials of ecological design and green building. Also today was the birthday of another organic architect pioneer Bruce Goff who would of been 103rd. Today we should all honor both of these pioneers of the green movement. Other birthday this month are, mine Eric Hughes (June 9Th), My Son Joshua (June 29Th) a future naturalist.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

These pictures are of the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair show house being built. They show how the overhang's were designed to work with the sun's angles to cool the home in the summer (see the shadow lines just below the window openings). And in the winter the sun's angle changes so the windows get full sun light to warm the home, they call this Passive Solar Design. The show house was designed to be elongated on an east-west axis and so the south faces sunlight between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. (sun time) during the heating season. And in the winter the South facing glass lets sun light in and allows thermal mass to absorb, store, and distribute heat. For thermal mass we have included in the design a two-sided fireplace that will be built out of stone or concrete tiles.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

As I talk to people about the Show House for the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair and all the Green Building products in it people seem intreged by the use of Fly Ash in the concrete that is used in all the footings, ICF walls and the Lite-Deck floors. People ask what is it and why we would use it. So I desided to explain it here in my Blog. Fly ash is produced by burning coal at electric power plants fly ash might be destined for disposal in a landfill. But when added to concrete, fly ash makes concrete easier to work, stronger and more durable. Fly ash also enhances the enviromental performace of concrete. Mining and manufacturing of natural raw materials can be reduced along with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, using a ton of fly ash can save almost a ton of CO2 emissions from being introduced into the atmosphere. Inaddition to concrete, fly ash is used in mortors, stuccos, paints, artificial stone, carpets, ceiling tiles, soil cement, pervious concrete and a variety of other building materials. Adam from Hybrid Homes (TM) used some great sub-contractors on the show house. Team Elmer's supplied, delivered and pumped the concrete with a 40% fly ash mix and R-Value Concrete Structures poured all the flat work and ICF walls and the Lite-Deck. To find out more about this product go to any of these web-sites.
Today the rendering was finished for the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair Show House. As you can see this house site on the site as if it belongs there. After talking with Adam of Hybrid Homes (TM) the project is right on schedule they are setting the second floor subfloor and then starting in on setting the second floor ICF's. Having spent two weeks helping build the show house I now wish I was there to see the second floor go on today. Please check out Adam's updated pictures on his web-site. If you would like to see a larger version of the rendering above just doulble-click on it.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Tonight I went to the second class in the Renewable Energy Expert Series on Solar Photovoltaics Electricity from the Sun in Michigan by Grand Rapids Community College. The class was given by our friend Mark Bauer of Bauer Power this was a very informative class on Solar Photovoltaics, we learned about all the different types of system from solar hot water to system that actual track the sun and how they work here in Michigan. There are great tax incentive for these product for home and business please check out the links to Marks web-site. And please check out his his product on the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair Show house and his booth at the fair.
This Sunday there was a great article in the Home & Garden section of the Grand Rapids Press on Radon Gas written by Morgan Jarema. I'll try to condense the article. What is radon gas? Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family's health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims more than 21,000 lives annually. Based on testing in Kent county 1 in 7 homes have elevated radon levels. It is our belief that all new homes should incorporate Radon-Resistant Construction techniques. And we will be adding them to all the home that we design. Here is some estimated cost based of the Press article.

New-home radon removal system: about $400.
Existing-home radon removal system: could set you back a couple thousand bucks -- the authors was about $1,200
Potential extra years with your family: Priceless.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Here is a perspective looking southwest at the show house. This was taken from a 3D model done in SketchUp for the home owners. From this view you are able to see a panoramic view of Portage Lake and a awesome view of Lake Michigan and the Manistee light house. You are looking at the south side of the home it was designed as a passive solar home to take advantage of the sun to heat the home during the cold Michigan winters and to help cool it during the warm summers. Also you can see the solar hot water panel supplied by Bauer Power above the walkout patio area. If you want to see an enlarged view just double-click the picture above.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Last week we had the pleasure of touring Architectural Elements of Michigan a green building supplier in Traverse City. I was really impressed with their facility. They rep and manufacture a sustainable line of cabinetry that uses a variety of no and low voc materials including those made with wheat, sorghum, soy, sunflower seed husks, bamboo and a multitude of other renewable plant based products. most anything they build can be "green" with the right materials. They also have a great line of green counter top including Shetka Stone and Paperstone both use recycled paper and have attractive colors. They have millwork, stair systems, mantles, and doors all out of FSC lumber. This is a must stop place, if you are traveling to Traverse City and are interested in green building. I give them a 5-stars rating.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The last two week I have been working as a laborer for Adam at Hybrid Homes (TM) as the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair show house that we designed goes up. I had the privilege of working with Adam and John (Adams right hand man) and Jake and his crew from R Value Concrete Structures (ICF subcontractor to Hybrid Homes). I consider them the leader in ICF construction in West Michigan. Thanks to both of them I have gained in depth knowledge of ICF construction and new found respect for there trade, which I hope will set Image Design apart from the rest in the sustainable design field. Check out Adams web-site for updated picture of this project. As I left Thursday Adam and Jake guys were getting ready to pour the Lite-Deck floors and setting the main floor ICF walls. Stay tuned for more information.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Today excavation started on the Onekama project which will be the Show House for the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair. This will be the ultimate Hybrid Home(TM) built by Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes, LLC. This home is in the process of get Energy Star and LEED H certification thru AES (Alliance for Environmental Sustainability). Some of the special features of this home include ICF construction, Passive Solar design, Solar hot water, Radiant heat, Wind generation and Lifetime design. You can tour our Custom Hybrid Home(TM) during the Michigan Energy Fair in Onekama June 22nd-24th, 2007. Also we are exhibitor's and will have a booth next to Hybrid Homes booth, we both will be giving a seminar on the Hybrid Homes Philosophies (TM). Please stop by our booths and check out our seminar. Stay tuned for more information.

Monday, March 19, 2007

More and more people both, architects and material suppliers, are jumping onto the “green architecture” bandwagon but how many practices really follow any sort of eco-principles. Just calling something green doesn’t necessarily make it so.
The term “greenwashing” has entered the lexicon to mean giving the appearance of being green without providing substantive environmental benefit. Before you hire a architect or residential designer educate your self
  1. Ask to see example of past green projects they have designed.
  2. Ask if they have designed any Energy Star or LEED H designed homes.
  3. Ask what continuing education they have taken to educate themselves on green building practices .
  4. Ask if they're member of any green or sustainable organization.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I attended the first class in a series from Grand Rapids Community College called Renewable Energy Experts Series. The first class in the series was on Wind Energy in Michigan. Richard VanderVeen III President and Co-founder of Mackinaw Power was the presenter. He spoke about.
  • What is the wind power potential for Michigan?

  • How do wind turbines work and feed power to the grid?

  • What are the Federal and State Policies effecting wind energy?

  • Why is wind energy growing at a 30% annual rate around the globe?

  • What is the economic potential for West Michigan?
I enjoyed the class an learned a lot. The next classes in there series are.

  • Green/LEED/Energy Star - What means what in "Green Building".

  • Solar Power - Electricity from photovoltaic cells.

  • The Electrical Grid - the components, the fuels and how renewables can be apart.

  • Renewable vs. Conservation vs. Efficiency - Potential economic impact from a focus on efficiency.

  • Liquid fuels - petroleum issues and some altenatives.
  • Green Built vs LEED vs Energy Star.

We are looking forward to attending these series. Hope some of you can make it to them. Also our friend Mark Bauer of Bauer Power will be the presenter for the class on Solar Power.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thorntree Commons is a 22.5-acre environmentally sensitive residential community in Suttons Bay, Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula. They know that Green building is smart building, and that energy efficient homes in a protected natural setting can make a difference for our environment and contribute to better modeling for how growth and stewardship can and must go hand in hand. Check us out on their web-site. We would love to work with you designing a sustainable habitat for this development.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I just bought a new book that I thought would be good to share with you. The book Good Green Homes by Jennifer Roberts is an excellent book for home owners, builders, interior designer and architects. Its does a great job of explaining the concepts of green building in a way that anyone can understand. It is fully of great advice and has great example and pictures of green homes. This is a must have book for any green enthusiast.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

This is slide show of a past Image Design projects showing Prairie Style details that we are capable of doing on your projects. Scott Bronkema Builders was craftsman for these projects and is capable of crafting any details we can come up with.

This is slide show of a past Image Design project showing Arts & Craft Style details that we are capable of doing on your projects. Our Builders are highly skilled craftsman and are capable of crafting any details we can come up with. Here at Image Design we don't only design plans we create the total image for your project that your looking for.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Another ICF home goes out of our office this time for Mike Tervoort Custon Homes this will be Mike's first ICF home. This home will be built in the Zeeland area and will be using many other green building products. Mike is using the BuildBlock ICF wall system. This is the first time I have specified this ICF block and am lookig forward to his feed back on it. The block is distributed by Wall Tech Product out of Harbor Springs, Mi.
Today I went thru the Leed H (Leed for Homes) training class with Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes, LLC and 22 other architects and builders from around the United States at The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability . This class was very informative and well put together and I believe with help all that attended set them selves apart from the rest. The person that put on the class is one of the leading experts on the Leed H programs and has spoke all over the world. We are in the process of working with our builders and cleints on getting two of our current projects Leed H certified. We are excited about these projects and will be posting more information about them later. I am also working toward receiving my LEED AP (Accredited Professional) Certification.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Here is a new quote I found that I like and wanted to share with you.

"Green buildings do not poison the air with fumes nor the soul with artificiality. Instead, they create delight when entered, serenity and health when occupied, and regret when departed. They grow organically in and from their place, integrating people within the rest of the natural world." —Natural Capitalism

Saturday, January 06, 2007

As of the first of the year Image Design will be offering Interior Design services. My wife Christy will be joining Image Design now that all three of our children are in school. Her services will include.
  • Interior Selections

  • Color Selections

  • Art Aquisitions

She has help several clients and family members in the past with their projects. And has been told time and time again she should do it full time. She is currently working with two of our latest clients on their interior design needs. So please welcome her aboard and if you need her assistance please give us a call and ask for her.