Monday, December 01, 2008

As we are near the end of 2008 we have a lot to look forward to in 2009. We will have a new President with a strong goal to make the next 4 years better than the last 8 years. We have new legislation just passed in Michigan and in the the bail out that benefits renewable energies like wind energy, solar hot water and photovoltaic. If all goes as planned Michigan will become one of the major manufactures of renewable energies. At our home/office we just finished our green bathroom remodel and are close to finishing our kitchen remodel. Our office remodel is starting to progress nicely and this winter we will start a new green bathroom and bedroom project.

We are also excited to have been hired for two new LEED certified projects in Pitsford and Bezonia. Four of our projects are under construction and nearing completion, three project are almost ready to start construction and we have eleven projects in the design phase. Also we interviewing for several new and exciting projects all over the country. The picture above is a Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie Style home we designed that's being built in Lake Placid, New York. I would like to thank the home owners Carlo and Amy for keeping us updated with pictures of their project. I will keep you all updated on this project as I get more updates.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

We are excited to again be part of BuildBlock national Ad campaign. This Ad will be in the October issue of ICF Builder Magazine. You can see the two national awards our project won from the ICFA (Insulating Concrete Form Association) in the ad. BuildBlock is our block of choice when specifying an ICF project. Stay tuned for some more awesome projects being built and in design using there fine product.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

We are excited to see the Watercress (Pictured) and the Vineyard project nearing completion and getting ready for the final LEED for Homes certification process. Congratulation to Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes and his awesome team of craftsmen for all there hard work and dedication for following the LEED for Homes certification process on these two projects. We also are excited to see the interior finishing start on the Watercress project since my wife/business partner Christy worked with the homeowner on all the interior selection for this awesome project we can wait to see all of her hard work payoff. We have several project in the pricing stages now all of the are capable of score very high in the LEED for Homes certification process. We are also excited to have been hired for a new LEED certified project on Long Lake just outside of Traverse City and a green remodel of a 1890 farm house in Howard City. As you may have read below we are please to have won two prestigious national awards from the ICFA. You can read about or awards on my favorite web-log called PrairieMod and the BuildBlock web-site. Also we interviewing for several new and exciting projects all over the country.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Today we found out the Onekama Hybrid Home won two national awards from the ICFA (Insulating Concrete Form Association). The ICFA Excellence Award is the premier industry recognition for the most innovative and noteworthy ICF projects of the year. We are proud that BuildBlock our ICF supplier believed in our project so much that they entered us it these prestigious awards. Buildblock sweep the awards with there projects. We are proud to have won the following two awards.

ICFA Large Residential Project Gold Award: Is awarded to the nations top ICF residential project over 3,000 square feet.

ICFA Sustainability Project Gold Award: Is awarded to the nations top
Residential or Commercial ICF project which maximizes the energy
performance and minimizes the environmental footprint of a building.

Congratulation to the Homeowners and "Team Hybrid" members Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes, LLC (Builder), Dave Russell of Wall Tech Products, LLC (Distributor), ourselves Image Design, LLC (Designer) and BuildBlock (Supplier) for winning these prestigious awards. Also a big thank goes out to all the behind the seen people who worked on this project, we could not of done it without all of you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On December 4th 2008 the West Michigan Chapter of the USGBC will be putting on a LEED for Homes program review class at Alliance for Environmental Sustainability in Grand Rapids Michigan. The class will be taught by Mike Holcomb one of the top green building authorities in the country. I highly recommend this class for anyone interest in green building.

LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system that promotes the design and construction of high performance "green" homes. A green home uses less energy, water, and natural resources; creates less waste; and is healthier and more comfortable for the occupants. Benefits of a LEED home include lower energy and water bills; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and less exposure to mold, mildew and other indoor toxins. LEED certification recognizes and rewards builders for meeting the highest performance standards, and gives homeowners confidence that their home is durable,healthy, and environmentally friendly.

After completing this course, you will be able to:
• Describe how LEED® for Homes can be applied to various residential
building types.
• Define the Rating System credit categories
• Understand the evolution of the LEED for Homes Rating System through the
pilot process
• Communicate to stakeholders specific details of LEED for Homes
• Know where to go for additional resources and support

Industry professionals seeking to increase their understanding of the LEED for Homes Rating System and green building strategies, benefits and resources

  • Builders

  • Designers

  • Consultants

  • Engineers

  • Developers

  • Home Owners

  • Product Supplier

For all workshop inquiries, email or call

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Today we start our green bath remodel with the help from Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes, LLC we will be gutting a 1952 bathroom and remodeling it as green as possible. The first thing we did was to replace all the existing light fixture with energy star fixture. We replace a inadequate bathroom fan with a new energy star Panasonic Whisper Green fan/light. And the electrical switches will be motion activated. All new plumbing fixture will be Grohe WaterCare low flow fixture to conserve water with a Toto WaterSense 1.28 flush comfort height Eco Drake toilet. The sub floor will be James Hardies HardieBacker™ board with exclusive Moldblock™ Technology then and ceramic tile floor that will be grouted with TEC AccuColor XT grout which is formulated to be highly resistant to common stains and mold and mildew. The combined product should deliver us the ultimate in mold resistance for our green bathroom floor. The walls and ceiling will be painted with Sherwin-Williams Harmony zero-VOC's (volatile organic compounds) paints designed with anti-microbial properties and formulated without silica. The Green Bathroom Remodel pictures will be posted on Hybrid Homes web-site.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The DeVos Place convention center at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan will host the state's first Great Lakes Green conference and exhibition. Events on Thursday and Friday are focused on builder topics and those on Saturday are catered to homeowners and consumers interested in green products and services.

If you get a chance to go I'll be there working the LEED for Homes booth on Friday. Also please stop by some of our friends booths like The Home Inspector General booth, Mike Holcomb will also be giving some great seminar and is probable one of the most knowledgeable persons I know on green building. Bauer Power Booth, Mark Bauer's booth will show the latest in wind and solar technologies he also will be giving some great seminars. Vanbeek's Custom Wood Products booth will have a amazing display of sustainable cabinetry such as Kerei board, Sunflower seed board, Bamboo along with FSC certified Lumber. L & H Adhesives booth will showcase the Bonded Logic Ultra Touch natural cotton fiber insulation made from blue jeans. R-Value Concrete Structures booth can answer all your ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) question Jake will also be giving seminars there. There are over 100 booth to visit hope you get a chance to stop by and see us there and some of our friends.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Today we just found out BuildBlock the ICF supplier for the award winning LEED for Homes "Platinum" Onekama project took out a national ad showing our project in the July issue of Environmental Design + Construction magazine. Image Design and Hybrid Homes are proud to have specified BuildBlock ICF's and to be apart of there national ad campaign. The Onekama project is also featured on BuildBlock's website just click on the link adove to read about the project. BuildBlock have a superior product that we are using on serval other LEED for Home certified projects we have under construction including the projected LEED for Homes "Gold" Vineyard project in Paw Paw. We highly recommend there product and here in Michigan you can get it through Wall Tech Products.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Were back from a Disney vacation in Florida and the 2008 Michigan Energy Fair. And were in the middle of a green remodel to our home and office. Our summer has been busy so far and so has our business. My wife Christy has been getting involved with the interior design on several of our projects now and enjoying the challenge. So here is a updated on our project's Hybrid Homes has the Watercress and the Vineyard projects both under construction. The picture you see here is the Projected LEED for Home "Platinum" Watercress project being built on Pentwater Lake. We are excited to have been hired to design two new project that will be going for LEED for Homes certification in the last two weeks one will been in Dorr and the other one will be in LeRoy. The LeRoy project will be a Clay/Straw Home which we are excited about learning this type of construction. Also we are in the design phase on projects to be built in Grand Rapids, Lamont, Glenn, Delton, West Branch, Kingsley, Grandville. We just finished a project in Lake Placid, New York. We are interviewing for several new and exciting projects all over the country.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

We had a great time at the 2008 Michigan Energy Fair. My wife Christy and I meet and talked with a lot of interesting people from all over the country that were interested in the design of green/sustainable homes. I want to thank my wife Christy for all the hard work she did to help and prepare for the Energy Fair. The evening before the energy fair we had a VIP party for all those involved with the Hybrid Show House along with friend, clients and the media it was a great start to the weekend long energy fair. Governor Gramholm was the keynote speaker on the opening day of the energy fair and to our surprise Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes was awarded an award from Governor Jennifer Gramholm for being a leader in using renewable energy in residential construction and also as a leader in Green Building in Michigan. Congratulation Adam! Were also gave seminars along with Hybrid Homes on creating the LEED "Platinum" Hybrid Home.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

We are excited that our 2008 Spring Parade of Homes house with Scott Bronkema Builders has won several awards through the Home & Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids (HBAGGA). We all were excited to win the 2008 Awards of Excellence for a $400,001 - $500,000 Home in the following categories below.

  • Best Site Harmony

  • Best Exterior Design

  • Best Floor Plan

  • Best Owner Suite

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Its time again for the Michigan Energy Fair! Come visit the fair June 27th - 29th and see the latest in green building technolgies. We are proud to have the show home again for this years Energy Fair. Many of you saw the home under construction last year at the Energy Fair. This year you'll get to see it completed. This years key note speaker will be Govenor Jennifer Gramholm. Stop by our booth #8 and see us and get a look at our latest projects.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

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 104rd. 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.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Image Design, LLC and Hybrid Homes, LLC are excited to announce our Paw Paw project (also known as the Vineyard Project) was just register as a projected LEED for Homes "Gold" project. Nestled in South Western Michigan's wine country this project is located next to a vineyard, thus the project name. This home will be a Passive Solar Prairie style home built with BuildBlock ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) from foundation to the roof where we will be using Elk 40 yr. Prestique Cool color dimensional shingles. The exterior will be using two of our favorite products CertainTeed FiberCement Siding (Includes Fly Ash) and Andersen windows. The interior will have stained concrete floor on all floor which will make great thermal mass. The home was also design with lifetime design priciples and has zero step entries.

Update!!! This home will now be close to a net-zero home thanks to the recent addition of 4 kw of Photovaoltaic, Solar Hot Water system , Geo-thermal heating and cooling and the future installation of a Wind Generator. Now were keeping our figures crossed with the new addition of these renewable energies on this house, it will be enough to push it to a LEED for Homes "Platinum" designation.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Image Design, LLC and Hybrid Homes, LLC are excited to announce our Pentwater project (also known as the Watercress Project) was just register as a projected LEED for Homes "Platinum" project. This home has a Logix ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms)foundation with SIP panel (Structural Insulated Panels ) walls and roof from Porter Sips the siding will be hand hewn cedar log siding from Homestead Timbers and of coarse will be using our favorite window from Andersen, the project will be topped of with a burgundy metal standing seam roof. The interior of this project will be using a lot of recycled content including cabinets for the wet bar and laundry, vanity tops for two bathrooms various columns and the mantel will come from tree from there building site. This home will sit on the shores of Pentwater Lake with two spring feed creeks that flow into Pentwater Lake. The creeks are lined with Watercress which is where the project gets its name.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

If you get a chance please stop by our 2008 Spring Parade of Homes house we designed. It was built by Scott Bronkema Builders and is full of custom crafted details which Scott is known for. This home is situated on a beautiful wooded site with views of two different ponds and is one of the last sites to build on in Dix Farm development in Rockford Michigan. The parade of Homes starts May 21st and go through the 31st. This home should be a show stopper.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day everyone! I hope you all take a moment today to really appreciate our earth and maybe do something today to help save it. Try planting a tree or picking up some garbage get your kids involved too. If you really want to help call your senator and tell them that you would like them to support a Renewable Portfolio Standard - or RPS - that will help jump start the growth of alternative energy in Michigan. Please remember one of my favorite Indian quotes today.

"We didn't inherit the Earth from our ancestors: we are borrowing it from our children."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Image Design and Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes are please to announced today that its Hybrid Home project in Onekama Michigan has been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) highest certification through is LEED for Homes program. The Hybrid House received LEED "Platinum" certification. Only 22 other homes in the nation have received this honor. Along with the "Platinum" LEED Certifications and winning the GLREA 2007 Exemplary Project Award, this hybrid home has also been awarded an Energy Star Rating of 5+ Stars. You can also read more about this project in the March issue of Concrete Homes magazine and in the up coming Northern Home & Cottage magazines May issue. If you would like to tour this home it will be the 2008 Michigan Energy Fair Show Home. The Michigan Energy Fair is June 27th - 29th in Onekama Michigan.

Monday, March 03, 2008

After meeting so many people at the Home & Garden show this last weekend and hearing them all telling me about there utility bills being $500 to $1,200 dollars and wanting to know what they can do to make there home more energy efficient. I told them sometimes replacing old, leaky windows with new, energy efficient windows may help, but you need to take a step back and see how your home is really performing before you spend any money on windows, insulation, roofing, etc. My advise to all of you is have Mike Holcomb from the Home Inspector General come test your homes. Mike can perform a “energy audit” to find out how well your home is performing. If your home has leaks, where are they? As part of Mikes energy audits he performs thermal imaging where he takes a picture of your home to see where the heat is leaking in vivid color. Mike can also preform a blower door test where a 15-20 mile per hour wind is simulated in your home to see where air (and heat) is leaking from. Without knowing how your home performs, you could be throwing your money out the window. I recently read a energy audit report Mike did on one of my remodel clients project and I was amazed at how detailed his report was. I believe Energy Audits are worth it and would recommend you get one done before you start any remodeling project.
Thank you for those of you that stop by Team Hybrids booth and the LEED for Homes booth at the West Michigan Home & Garden show at DeVos place this past weekend. I got to meet alot of great people and vendor wanting to know about Sustainable Home Design and LEED for Homes. For those of you that missed us at the Home and Garden show or for those of you that didn't get enough of us we are also going have a booth for Team Hybrid and a booth for LEED for Homes at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute on Saturday, March 15 for the 6th Annual Renewable Energy Conference. Our friend Mark Bauer from Bauer Power will be speaking on solar hot water and our friend John Sarver of the Michigan Energy Office will be give a State of the State Address. Hope to see you all there.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

In December through February we polled our blog reader on "What is your favorite home style". And the following were the results of our poll.

Traditional Style 11%
Arts & Craft Style 23%
Prairie Style 31%

Cottage Style 15%
Old World Style 9%
Modern Style 20%
Other 6%

I want to thank everyone that took part in the poll we had over 105 responses, it will help us in our marketing research. I personally like all these styles but was excited to see the top 3 Styles. If you would like to find out more about any of the above style or if you would like to see examples of these styles please email me or call. Also please check out the new poll on "If you could have any renewable product on your home what would you want".

Saturday, February 09, 2008

This year has started off with a bang! We have been hired to design a green remodel in Sawyer along with three new LEED for Homes certified projects in Glenn, Delton and Tustin. Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes, LLC will soon start construction on two LEED for Homes registered projects we designed in Paw Paw and Grand Rapids these homes will raise the standard for what is green building.

Our Spring Parade of Homes house is coming along great, this will be a must see home built by Scott Bronkema Builders. Also if you get a chance check out the award winning home we design and Scott Bronkema Builders built that's featured in the Early Winter 2008 edition of Cosmopolitan Home Grand Rapids magazine and the award winning Onekama home we designed and Hybrid Homes built will be featured in the March issue of Concrete Homes magazine. Besides the magazine article check out this web article on Concrete Homes web-site about the Onekama project (Click here to read the article).

Last be not least come see us at the Hybrid Homes Booth and the LEED for Homes Booth at the 29th Annual West Michigan Home and Garden Show at DeVos Place February 28th -March 2nd. Hope to see you their!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This month is National Radon Action Month. At Image Design we are alway watching out for you and your loved ones. Did you know that Radon is actually deadlier than carbon monoxide. List below are some interesting fact you might not know.

  • Breathing home indoor radon causes nearly one hundred times more deaths each year than carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

  • Some 20,000 people will die this year due to breathing too much radon without even knowing it.

  • Radon is estimated to be a health risk in as many as one in fifteen homes throughout the country.
  • According to Governor Granholm's Proclamation, one in eight homes in Michigan (EPA's map of Michigan radon zones) have elevated levels of radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, invisible radioactive gas that seeps into homes undetected through cracks or openings in the foundation, floor or walls, and can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors. It travels up from underground sources and uranium in the earth’s crust. And can be found in all the county in the state of Michigan see our Radon Map for our state below.

My goal this month is to raise your awareness of Radon and to teach you how we at Image Design take extra steps in our plans to reduce your risks of Radon.

At Image Design we include all these Radon prevention techniques in our sets of plans:

  1. Gas Permeable Layer. This layer is placed beneath the slab or flooring system to allow the soil gas to move freely underneath the house. In many cases, the material used is a 4-inch layer of clean gravel.

  2. Plastic Sheeting. Plastic sheeting is placed on top of the gas permeable layer and under the slab to help prevent the soil gas from entering the home. In crawlspaces, the sheeting is placed over the crawlspace floor.

  3. Sealing and Caulking. All openings in the concrete foundation floor are sealed to reduce soil gas entry into the home.

  4. Vent Pipe. A 3- or 4-inch gas-tight or PVC pipe (commonly used for plumbing) runs from the gas permeable layer through the house to the roof to safely vent radon and other soil gases above the house this system is called Passive Radon Mitigation. If , after your house is complete, a test determines that levels are still too high, you may have to convert to an Active Radon Mitigation System by installing a fan than runs continuously which creates low pressure under the slab and increases the rate of gas evacuation..

  5. Junction Box. An electrical junction box is installed in case an electric venting fan is needed later.

As our nations builders start moving towards Green Building, builders shouldn’t forget that they can’t truly be green without being safe places for people to live.“It’s remarkably easy to protect our loved ones by testing for radon and building new homes with radon–resistant features that allow everyone to breathe freely and safely.” “It’s simple and cost–effective to build new homes with radon–resistant features“It makes sense to do it right from the start.” The radon threat is preventable with the simple steps above. When building new homes, builders can easily and economically include radon–resistant features during construction. The EPA also recommends that new built homes still be test for radon gas before they move in to make sure the radon–resistant features are working.

For more information please visit these web-sites.