Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We are proud to announce that our "River Escape" project was named GreenBuilder Magazine's 2011 Home of the Year.This is a very prestigious national award from one of the industries most respected green building magazines. This is the second time in the awards four year history that we have won this award you may remember in 2009 we won this award for our "Vineyard" project.

I would like to thank the project team members Vos Energy Concepts, Image Design LLC, BuildBlock ICF Company, and Turtle Wall for a awesome job! We would also like to thank the Homeowner for allowing us all to be apart of the special project! Please checkout the GreenBuilder Media Press Release.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On 11.11.11 come see our "River Escape" project a truly affordable home that was built to be 88% more energy efficient than and standard new code built home. This home is a Zero-Energy home that is projected to be a LEED for Homes “Platinum” project. The home is also a finalist for Green Builder Magazines "2011 Home of the Years". And is ZeroStep “Silver” Certified (Lifetime Design or Barrier Free) from Disability Advocates of Kent County Michigan.

Key Sustainable/Green Features

  • Rain Permeable Gravel Driveway.
  • Lifetime Design (Barrier Free)
  • Zero step entries.
  • Energy Star North Star Triple Pane Windows.
  • Energy Star LED & CFL lighting.
  • Energy Star Ceiling Fans.
  • Energy Star Appliances by Frigidaire.
  • SIP Panel Roof
  • Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (with R-20 Dow Insulation beneath it.)
  • BuildBlock ICF Construction (with 40% Fly-Ash)
  • Advanced Framing (Studs @ 24” o.c.)
  • James Hardie FiberCement siding (with recycled content)
  • MiraTec Trim (formaldehyde free, SCS Certified)
  • Central Vacuum System (Greatly reduces in-door air pollutants)
  • Concrete Floors through-out main floor. (Colored in the concrete mix)
  • FSC certified Bamboo Flooring on second story.
  • FSC certified stud interior walls.
  • No-VOC Paints and primers.
  • Low-VOC caulks and sealants.
  • Amish Built Kitchen Cabinets from wood within 5 miles from the project site.
  • Dual-Flush toilet by American Standard.
  • Low flow shower heads and faucets.
  • Pex Plumbing.
  • Radon Venting.
  • Radiant Heat Through-out Home.
  • Life breath HRV (heat recovery ventilator)
  • Passive Solar Design.
  • Solar Hot Water. (30% Tax Rebate)
  • 4.1kW of Photovoltaic (30% Tax Rebate)
  • Pellet Stove (Back up Heat System)
  • Pre-wired for a future Wind Generator.
  • Pre-wired for future battery backup.

Please RSVP with us at 616.957.LEED (5333) or at ehughes@imagedesignarch.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Exciting news from Arn McIntyre of Ferris State University Energy Center (Our Green rater) and Habitat for Humanity of Kent County our "335 Freyling Place Net-Zero Energy Project" just received a preliminary HERS score of -1. This is possibly the new lowest HERs score in the State of Michigan. It's all preliminary but we'll have firm results this fall upon completion:

  • Area of conditioned space 2904
  • Btu/ sf/ hdd .51
  • Peak heat loss design 11.6 kbtu/h
  • Shell area: 5677
  • ACH 50 4.23
  • Total cfm of blower door 400cfm
  • Date of blower door test 4/8/11
  • Test performed by Arn McIntyre
  • Electrical kwh per year 28.6mmbtu/yr
  • Fossil btu per year 20.2mmbtu/yr
  • Renewable Elec produced per year 33.5mmbtu/yr
  • HERS index -1
See the post below for more information on what a HERs score is.

As I mentioned in the post below, I am a firm believer in Kaizen ( A Japanese philosophy), or continuous improvement. I am continually studying the building science of homes to make improvements to them so they are as energy efficient as possible within their budgets. So even though a HERS rating of -1 is the best we have achieved so far our goal are to continually improve upon that score with the ultimate goal of a HERS score of even a larger negative score.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Exciting news from Mike Holcomb of Energy Auditor General (Our LEED for Homes rater) and Dan Vos of Vos Energy Concept our "River Escape project" just received a HERS score of 12. This is the lowest score Mike Holcomb has every tested as a rater in Michigan and possibly the lowest score in the State of Michigan. This extremely low HERS score means that our "River Escape" project should easily be projected at the "Platinum" Level under the LEED for Homes program. Both Dan and I are very excited about this news.

What is a HERS, or Home Energy Rating System score? Well it is basically a rating of how energy efficient a home is based on a number of things, including a blower door test, the HVAC system, energy usage, and so on. The HERS rating is what is used to qualify a home for the Energy Star Rating. The rating is based off of a standard new home built to code that was rated originally tested and used as the test case with the score of 100. A typical older home has a HERS index of 125-150. Most homes that qualify for Energy Star homes must have a HERS rating of 85. That means that those homes are 15% more energy efficient than the test house. This is really good and a step in the right direction. Most of our homes have been scoring in the 50's, which is where we would expect the to fall. That HERS score would qualifies our homes as 5 star+ in the Energy Star rating system. The "River Escape Project" came in at 12 (lower the better) making it 88% more efficient than a new home built to code.

Based on their Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores, the average home certified under LEED for Homes since its launch in February 2008 is predicted to use an estimated 30-60% less energy than a comparable home built to International Energy Conservation Code. Based on the average HERS ratings for each level of LEED certification, these homes could potentially see energy reductions of:
  • Certified: Up to 30%.

  • Silver: Approximately 30%.

  • Gold: Approximately 48%.

  • Platinum: 50-60%.

As many know, I am a firm believer in Kaizen ( A Japanese philosophy), or continuous improvement. I am continually studying the building science of homes to make improvements to them so they are as energy efficient as possible within their budgets. So even though a HERS rating of 12 is the best we have achieved so far our goal are to continually improve upon that score with the ultimate goal of a HERS score of 0 or a negative score.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yesterday was the Ground Breaking for the "Net Zero" Habitat for Humanity of Kent County project at 335 Freyling Place in Historical Weathy Height district of Grand Rapids. This will be Michigan's first Habitat "Net-Zero" Energy Home and the 300th home for Habitat For Humanity of Kent County.

The project is being used as a "Green Learning Laboratory" for more than 120 students at Grand Rapids Community College's Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC and other departments, and students from Ferris State University Energy Department, will be doing Energy Modeling on the project and collecting data on the house and sharing it with the community, the State of Michigan and the nation through the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The homes is a 1,519 square foot, 5 bedroom , Passive Solar , Super Insulated home. Some of the key features include ICF Construction, SIP Panel Roof, Advance Framing , Solar Hot Water, Solar Photovoltaic, Radiant Floor Heat, Passive Heating and Cooling, High R-Value Serious Windows, Dow Corning Foam product and CertainTeed cement board siding. This home is a projected Leed for Homes "Platinum" project along with Green Built Michigan "Gold, ZeroStep, EPA Indoor AirPlus, Epa WaterSense and Energy Star certifications as well as to adhere to all historic guidelines set in place by the Historic Preservation Commission. You'll all be able to visit this home on the 2011 Spring Parade of Homes tour May 27th - June 11th hope to see you their.

Please check out all of the Habitat Zero Energy projects at www.habitatzero.org

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Since 1983 Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has built 300 homes and 68 of those homes were LEED certified. We are proud to have designed their 300th Home and their most energy efficient home to date. Grand Rapids Community Collage's Building Trades program has partnered again with Habitat for Humanity as they build its 300th home in Kent County. this will be Habitat's first zero-energy home and will be their second  LEED for for Homes "Platinum" project. Please take a minute to watch the video below.