Thursday, April 30, 2009

You may have noticed we use Andersen Windows on all of our projects whether there are LEED certified or not! As a Residential Designer they have been my window of choice for over 20 years now (Example see the picture in the post below this one). I didn't let my personal preferences sway the choice of windows for our Team Hybrid projects they had to earn that. When Adam Bearup of Hybrid Homes, LLC and Image Design, LLC had the chance to design and build the LEED "Platinum" Onekama project, we wanted to form a project team to be involve with all of our LEED for Homes projects which we call Team Hybrid. This team of companies had to prove to Adam and me that they had a commitment and a passion for sustainability and our environment with their products or services. So when we were looking for a window company to be a part of our team we didn't let either Adam's or my past preference cloud our judgment we looked at Andersen, Marvin, Pella and Jeld-Wen (Don't get me wrong these are all good window manufactures and I have used them all before.) We also looked at some local manufactures of windows. We asked to meet with a local representative from each of these companies. Before these meetings we asked them all the same question before our meetings with them. "What makes your company Green or Sustainable"? Out of these four companies only one set of representatives could answer and show us why their company was green or sustainable; and that was Aric Lavancher and Mike Bottema from the Andersen Corporation. They were able to show us why their company has been green and sustainable by providing documentation, literature and explaining their manufacturing process to us.

On April 28th Adam and I were invited by Aric Lavancher, our Andersen Architectural Representative, to fly out to Bayport Minnesota to tour the Andersen manufacturing facility and to meet with the Andersen Sustainability Team. We were able to see firsthand and behind the scenes of many of Andersen's manufacturing facilities and process. We were given access to several restricted area's that most people have never seen (even many Andersen employees) This access allowed us to see firsthand how Andersen Corporation is committed to environmental stewardship. To put it in perspective for you the Andersen plant is a 2.8 million square foot manufacturing facility that takes up 64 acres along the environmentally sensitive St. Croix River. Below are just a few examples of their commitments.

  • Andersen Corporation strives to utilize a majority of sourced wood from FSC or FSC Certified Controlled Wood in its clad wood products* based on availability and market conditions.”
  • They commissioned in 2007, a Steam Generating Facility at the Andersen plant that uses wood byproducts from manufacturing, and it produces 80% of the plants energy source. (We are one of the few people that has ever tour this facility and it was amazing to see it working).
  • 98.5% of raw materials that come into the Andersen plant are used in the manufacturing of their products. Land-filled solid waste at Andersen's Bayport, Minnesota facilities has been reduced by 83% since 1990.
  • Andersen was the first window company to be Green Seal® certified. Green Seal is an independent non-profit group that labels environmentally responsible products.

I could show you numerous more examples but don't have the room here to do it. So if you would like to find out more about Andersen Windows commitment to Sustainability please visit their web-site by clicking on the underlined Andersen Windows link at the beginning of this post.
To say the very least I was impressed with Andersen Corporations commitment to green and sustainability and give them my endorsement as our window of choice for Image Design, LLC and Team Hybrid.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

March & April were very busy months for us. We now have 16 projects under design in our office with several of them in the pricing stages. Such as the Grand Rapids, West Branch, Glenn, Howard City and Pittsford, Michigan projects. We also have several projects under construction beside the one's mentioned above. Our projected LEED for Homes "Platinum" "Turtle's Hope" project is now under construction. The existing cottage (Which was un-savable) was taken down last week and and recycled. The augers cast pile should be going in next week. Please follow the Turtle's Hope projects web-log. The picture above is a updated photo (South Side or Rear Elevation) of our projected LEED for Homes "Gold " project called "Granite Hill" which is under construction in Kingsley, Michigan (Just outside of Traverse City) they're moving along to have this home ready for the 2009 Michigan Energy Fair this will be the 2009 Michigan Energy Fair Show Home. To find out more about these two projects please read the previous web-log posts on these projects. We also have a non-green project under construction in Forest Hills and a sustainable project near completion in Lake Placid, New York (I'll try to get some up dated picture from the owners of this project to post soon!). We also have the "Watercress" and the "Vineyard" projects now complete and anxiously waiting for their final LEED for Homes rating.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Team Hybrid has done it again. The Vineyard Project is now complete except for the final LEED for Homes certification which is expect to be at least "Gold". This net-zero or Zero Energy Home (ZEH) is sure to be another national award winning home with all of its sustainable features such as being Passive Solar, ICF construction and having Solar Hot Water, Radiant Heat, Geo-thermal, 3.3 kw of Photovoltaic and pre-wired for Wind Generation just to name a few.

If you are interested in seeing all the sustainable green feature inside and outside of this home we will be having an open house in the next few weeks, please let us know if you would like to see this home!

We want to thank the member of Team Hybrid for another project well done. Thanks goes out to Andersen Window Corporation, Bauer Power, BuildBlock, Hybrid Homes LLC, Image Design LLC, and R-Value Concrete Structures LLC for another awesome job! We would also like to thank the Homeowner for allowing us all to be apart of the special project!

Update: Read the post on PrairieMod web-site about this project!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

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. 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."

Last chance for our special Earth Day incentive see the post below!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

To help celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday April 22nd Image Design will be taking $500.00 off our design fee for any new design projects that we are hired for between April 15th and April 22nd 2009. We hope that you all enjoy the different Earth Day events through-out the next week.

Take action this Earth Day, encourage your states law makers to adopt programs that will help support green homes like Michigan House Bill 4193 Call your local State Representative and ask what they are doing to support green homes in your area.