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.