Monday, December 17, 2012

Checkout the video's of the LEED "Platinum" Glenn Retreat home in Glenn, Michigan produce by the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES) interns from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and Aquinus College. The video explains the design, building science (Part 1) and the biophilia, gray and black water systems (Part 2) behind one of Michigan's most nature friendly LEED certified homes.

Glenn Retreat Video Part 1
Glenn Retreat Video Part 2

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Calling all clients, builders, friends and Image Design, LLC followers! As you may have noticed from an earlier posts here on the blog, we are a part of the community. We hoping to be considered for their 2013 Design Awards, for Best in Remodeling Design from Houzz, but there is a little twist. To be considered for an award, we need to have recommendations as a part of our profile. Will you help us enter these awards by offering a recommendation of our business and design work?

Here are the three quick steps it takes to write the recommendation:

1. Go to our profile on -

2. On the top of the page, click where it says 'Write A Review.

3. Fill out the short form with your recommendation and click submit. Presto! You're done. Now that wasn't so bad!

Thank you, in advance we really appreciate any recommendations you can offer our firm. Without all of you we wouldn't be were we are today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Pineaplle Hearth" Project in Gobles, Michigan
Our projected LEED for Homes "Platinum" "Pineapple Hearth" project is starting to take shape. It will be a Colonial Style Organic Farm on a former 40 acres apple orchard in Gobles, Michigan.  The project name comes from the Colonial symbol of the Pineapple which has served as a symbol of hospitality and warm welcome through the history of the Americas and the project's property have a lot of pine and apple trees on it. The name means "Welcome Home" to my clients.

The home will be built by Kris Herzog of Herzog Homes, LLC an experienced builder of LEED certified homes. Below please find some of the key features going into the home.

Key Features:

  • ICF Basement.
  • SIP Walls & Roof.
  • ZeroStep Certified.  
  • Elevator.
  • Climate Controlled Root Cellar.
  • Garage/Barn Combo.
  • Vermont Castings Fireplace - EPA Phase II certified.
  • Geo-Thermal Heating & Cooling.
  • Energy Star Windows.
Please watch for the projects Web-log coming soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eric A. Hughes of Image Design, LLC has been elected to the Board of Director of the Passive House Alliance Michigan Chapter which is a state chapter of Passive House Alliance United States. Beside offering design assistance for GreenBuilt Michigan, NAHBGreen and LEED for Home certification, Image Design will now be offering design assistance for Passive House certification.

Passive House is the highest certified building energy standard in the world, with the promise of reducing the total energy consumption of buildings by up to 80%, while providing superior comfort and indoor environmental quality. When combined with renewable energy systems such as solar photovoltaic or solar thermal, Passive House puts true zero energy buildings and carbon neutrality within reach.

The name Passive House is derived from the German term “Passiv Haus”, which describes a building with an extremely reduced (passive) heating system, versus conventional buildings with large (active) systems.

Energy Conservation First

Passive House is an “energy conservation first” approach. The basic idea is to radically minimize heat loss through effective heat retention, and maximize passive solar and internal heat gains. In our local climate, the sun can provide up to 50% of the energy needed to heat a Passive House. Internal heat gains provide an additional 15%.

The Passive House building energy standard limits the amount of energy a building can consume per square foot of usable floor space and year. The limit for heating and cooling energy is 4.75kBtu, and the limit for source energy accounted for at the utility is 38kBtu. Air tightness of the structure is limited to 0.6 air changes at 50 Pascal pressure.

Designs are modeled with a scientific energy modeling software called the Passive House Planning Package, and field tested for various parameters during and after construction. Design and field testing are submitted to the Passive House Institute U.S. for certification.

With its low energy consumption—as little as 10% of standard code-compliant buildings—Passive House buildings perform at an estimated 15 on the HERS scale, meet the 2020 requirements for the Architecture 2030 Challenge today, and can meet energy and carbon neutral goals for operation with a modest amount of renewable energy systems.

Watch for some new Passive House project from Image Design coming soon!!!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Onekama Hybrid House"
Image Design, LLC a leader in ICF designed homes has now official designed 26 different ICF home in Michigan and as far away as Lake Placid, New York. Our designs have earned 7 LEED for Homes "Platinum"  and 1 LEED for Homes "Gold" certifications along with 9 national ICF awards (see below) making us a leader in the design of ICF homes in Michigan. We are about to launch our new internet based sustainable house plan company called SEED Studio's, LLC which will be selling many of the award winning ICF house plans.

ICFA Awards
2008 ICFA Sustainability "Gold" Award ("Onekama Hybrid House" ICF Home)
2008 ICFA Large Residential "Gold" Award ("Onekama Hybrid House" ICF Home)
2009/2010 ICFA Large Residential "Gold" Award ("Vineyard Project"  ICF Home)
2009/2010 ICFA Small Residential "Gold" Award  ("Granite Hill Project" ICF Home)
2009/2010 ICFA Sustainability "Silver" Award ("Vineyard Project"  ICF Home)
2009/2010 ICFA Sustainability "Bronze" Award ("Granite Hill Project" ICF Home)

ICF Builder Magazine Awards
2008 Best Large ICF Residence Award ("Onekama Hybrid House" ICF Home)

Green Builder Magazine Awards
Green Builder Magazine 2009 Home of the Year Award ("Vineyard Project"  ICF Home)
Green Builder Magazine 2011 Home of the Year Award ("River Escape Project" ICF Home)

Benefits of a ICF Home
  • 30-70% savings in energy consumption and costs (good for your pocketbook and the environment)
  • Tornado, hurricane and earthquake resistant (keeping your family and belongings safe and sound)
  • 75% reduction in outside air infiltration (less dust and allergens)
  • Three times quieter than a wood-frame home
  • Building with ICFs saves at least 10 trees per home
  • ICFs can be used to build virtually any home plan, using any finish - brick, stucco, siding, and more.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Perma Log Siding being installed
The projected LEED for Homes "Gold" "River's Edge Project"  in Mio , Michigan is ready for the pre-drywall inspection and is almost done being sided with the Perma Log siding. What is Perma Log? Its a 70 year old company based in Mio that produces cement stucco log siding that will last a lifetime. The metal roof is nearing completion too. Soon all the effort will be moving to the interior of the home. The builder Joel Harner of Let Us, Inc. has a custom cabinet shop that is currently working on custom cabinetry for the home. Watch for future updates on this project.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

houzz interior design ideasHave you heard of I hadn't until few weeks ago when one of their reps send me a link and asked if we wanted to be a part of it. After spending a few minutes on their site I knew immediately that I'd been introduced to an incredibly powerful marketing tool for our firm.

So what is Houzz all about? 

Houzz is a site for home design enthusiasts, professionals and home owners. The Houzz site features over 693,957 interior and exterior photos, thousands of articles written by design experts to help with the design process. Design professionals can showcase their portfolios and share their work with a community who are interested in home and landscape design.

Homeowners can collect their favorite photos and make "ideabooks" to assist them in finding out what colors, styles and architecture they like. You can upload photos of your homes and gardens, and swap tips and questions with other members. 600,000+ ideabooks have been created by Houzz members, and new ones are added every minute. This site is a gold mine of high quality photos and inspirational ideas. Even if you're not computer proficient they have made the site very user-friendly and fun to use.

If you're interested in doing any type of project big or small and need a few ideas...check out

You can check out our page by clicking the link below.
Please follow us by clicking on FOLLOW below our Logo.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Checkout the video of the LEED "Platinum" River Escape home in Stanwood, Michigan produce by the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES) intern from Grand Valley State University (GVSU). The video explains the building science and design process behind one of Michigan's most affordable LEED certified homes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

327 Freyling Place SE, Grand Rapids, Mi.
Construction has also started on another Habitat for Humanity of Kent County project at 327 Freyling Place in the Weathy Heights neighborhood. This will be the third new LEED for Homes project we have designed on this street and neighborhood many of you might remember our first project on the street 335 Freyling Place which was the first LEED for Homes "Platinum" home in Grand Rapids and Habitat's 300th home they built. Habitat for Humanity is making a big difference in this part of town they are working with other to make this neighborhood a possible LEED ND project making it one of the first in Michigan. Please watch for more information on these project in up coming post on our web-log.

Simple, Decent, Affordable, Historic, LEED Certified.
319 Freyling Place SE, Grand Rapids, Mi.
Construction has started on Habitat for Humanity of Kent County 100th LEED certified home a first for any habitat organization nationwide to their knowledge. We are proud to have designed the home which will be built at 319 Freyling Place SE in Grand Rapids historical  Wealthy Heights neighborhood these homes were some of the most challenging home I have designed do impart to all of the guidelines that we had to follow. These homes had to meet LEED for Homes, Energy Star, ZeroStep, Habitat for Humanity, MSHDA, HUD NSP1Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and Local Historical Guidelines.

This home is designed to be historically correct for the Wealthy Heights neighborhood of homes built in the 1880's. The exterior blends flawlessly with the existing neighborhood homes while the interior are fresh and current and meet lifetime design principle with ZeroStep Certification. The construction will used the latest in affordable building technologies such as Superior Wall precast concrete wall foundation, Advanced Framing for the exterior walls with 1 1/2" of Dow Blueboard insulation to stop a thermal bridging, Air Sealing, Closed Cell Foam Insulation, Cellulose Insulation, Energy Star Jeld-Wen windows, Fiber Cement Siding and a Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV).

We are hoping to have a Image Design, LLC volunteer day on this project which will give any of you interested in working on a LEED certified home a chance to do so. If you are interested please let us know by emailing us. We will be finalizing the date with Habitat shortly.

Simple, Decent, Affordable, Historic, LEED Certified.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

LEED for Homes "Gold" Project For Sale
Many of you may remember our award winning  LEED for Homes "Gold" "Granite Hill Project" in Kingsley, Michigan. It was the first LEED certified home in Grand Traverse County and now its the first LEED Certified home for sale of the Traverse Area Association of Realtors  (TAAR) Green MLS.  It is list by Andrea Galloup of Century 21 real estate in Traverse City.

The home was the show home for the 2009 Michigan Energy Fair and the winner of the 2009/2010 ICFA Small Residential Gold Award and the 2009/2010 ICFA Sustainability Silver Award. Beside achieving  LEED for Homes "Gold" certification the home achieved 5+ Energy Star certification and a HERs score of 48. The 2010 and 2011 total utility bills averaged $1048 annually $87.38 monthly. This home has no mechanical HVAC, a Tulikivi Masonry Unit Heat provides radiant heat with backup electric baseboard heat. The entire house has been heated by roughly 7-10 face cords of hardwood firewood per winter. Wood was cut from the property (ash and suger maple), if purchased commercially this would has cost roughly $425.00 per winter. Only one fire a day is sufficient for 95% of the heating season. No constant stoking is required with these types of fireplaces. Below please find the key features of this home.

Key Feature of this Home are:
  • 60 acres.
  • 3 bedrooms, master on the main floor.
  • 2 1/2 baths.
  • Main Floor laundry.
  • BuildBlock ICF exterior walls.
  • Tulikivi Masonry Unit Heater (Model TTU2700 with bake oven).
  • Programmable in floor radiant electric heat in all bathrooms.
  • Automatic dog door.
  • Andersen 400 Series Energy Star Windows.
  • Soytherm open cell spray foam insulation.
  • TOTO dual flush ADA complaint toilets. 
  • Cement Board siding.
  • Premium Kasselwood metal roof shingles.
  • Energy Star ceiling fans provide all the "AC" you'll ever need.
  • Passive solar designed.
  • Maple, Tile and Polished concrete flooring throughout home.
  • Solar Hot water system w/85 gallon insulated Marathon electric water heater.
  • No-VOC Paints, floor treatments and caulks use in construction.
  • Energy Star refrigerator and washing machine.
  • Soapstone Countertops.
  • 80% efficiency whole house Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV).
  • Pre-wired for future wind turbine installation.
  • External plug and wiring ready for a full size home generator.
  • Detached 3 stall garage with a 12' x 12' basement and adjacent 12'x 12' stone floored ventilated root cellar.
  • 24' x24' loft over the middle two stalls designed to be finished for guest quarters or home office.
The home is listed for $419,000.00 which is a steal for a home of this magnitude. 

Link to the Northern Express article on the house:
Leeding the way/Green Homes

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Please check out the link to the MiBiz article "Certified or Built to LEED Standards" which we were interviewed for by Chuck Otto.  To me you can't say you build to LEED standards if you have never built a LEED Commercial or LEED for Homes project. To many builder are saying this to get their clients to build with them and so many of them don't even understand the LEED certification process or the building science behind the third party testing. LEED is the most recognized green building standard in the world and one of the best ways to prove you understand green building and you understand the building science behind green building. If you want your home or building built to LEED Standards then make sure you get your building or home certified or you may not get building or home that you wanted.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our projected LEED for Homes "Gold" River's Edge Project is under construction in Mio, Michigan. The home is being built by Joel Harner of Let Us, Inc and the Nudura ICF walls are being constructed by Jake Vierzen of R-Value Concrete Structures. This home will be a Passive Solar home with Geo-Thermal heating and cooling. The home will be using the remarkably advanced H3 windows by Hurd.
Our projected LEED for Homes "Platinum" Peacefield Project in under construction in Niles, Michigan. The home is being built by Joel Harner of Let Us, Inc and the BuildBlock ICF walls are being constructed by Adam Eerdmans of Turtle Wall . This home will be a Passive Solar home with Photovoltaic and Geo-Thermal heating and cooling.

Friday, July 20, 2012

On Monday July 23rd check out our 15 minute interview with Shelly Irwin the host of the WGVU Getting Green Radio Show from 9:00-11:00 am at 88.5/95.3 FM or at . Getting Green is a monthly segment that puts the spotlight on green practices and sustainability, the show is broadcast on the fourth Monday of each month. The interview was about LEED for Homes and what I do as a Green Home Designer. I just want to thank Shelly for having me on her show and hopefully we can do it again sometime.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Check-out the link below to the TV interview of the LEED for Homes "Platinum" Turtle Lake Project and the homeowners. Great interview  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My son Joshua asked me to help him build at composting bin for Earth Day 2012. We decided to build it out of re-claimed lumber that we found in our garage and from old pallets donated to us from our friends at Apex Landscaping. My son has been actively composting everything he can ever since and I don't even have to ask him to mow the lawn anymore. Now he does it for the grass clippings so he can add them to the composting bin.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Check-out the April 2012 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine, they reviews our 335 Freyling Place project built by Habitat for Humanity of Kent County in the Critic's Choice article called "A new, green-living paradigm". It's a nice article written about how a new LEED for Homes "Platinum" project can fit into a traditional historical neighborhood like Wealthy Heights. We have also designed two other new LEED certified homes to be built in the same neighborhood later this year.

We are excited to see Grand Rapids Magazine covering Green and LEED certified home within their April issue and hope to see more of it in issues to come.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We are excite about registering 4 new LEED for Home projects with the USGBC. These projects will be built in Fife Lake, Gobles, Mio and Rennie Lake. The Fife Lake project (Traverse City Area) will be our first Off the Grid home and will be a true Zero-Energy Home. Our project in Gobles will be a Colonial Style Organic Farmstead. The project in Mio will be a retirement home in the woods on the AuSable River. And the the Rennie Lake (Traverse City Area) project will be a lake front vacation home. All of these homes are currently in design within our office. We have also just completed two new home designs for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County that should be registered for LEED for Homes certification soon.
It's official we just received LEED for Homes"Platinum"Certification for the "River Escape" project in Stanwood, Michigan. This is the highest honor you can receive from the USGBC, and this is our 8th LEED for Homes "Platinum" project and our 15th LEED certified home. We want to thank the members of the "River Escape" project team for project well done. Thanks goes out to Sustainable Home Consultants, LLC, Vos Energy Concepts, Turtle Wall and AES (Alliance for Environmental Sustainability) for awesome job! We would also like to thank the Homeowner for allowing us all to be apart of the special project!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

If you get a chance please read our interview in Michigan Blue Magazine Green Issue called "Driving the Green Evolution". We were very excited to be interviewed by one of our favorite Magazines. It is great to see them dedicating part of their issue to Green Building and LEED for Homes projects. They asked us some interesting questions (See the questions below)

How did your own green philosophy evolve?

What impact have homeowners had on the green evolution within the home-building industry?

What different kinds of concerns and priorities inspire a homeowners lean toward being green?

What is the return on investing in green products or building processes?

What are the most important aspects to consider when building green?

What do you see for the future of green building?

If you want to know the answer to these question please pickup the spring 2012 issue of Michigan Blue magazine at your local newsstand, better yet get a subscription.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's official we just received LEED for Homes "Platinum"Certification for the "Turtle Lake" (Terrapin Station) project in Beulah, Michigan. This is the highest honor you can receive from the USGBC , and this is our 7th LEED for Homes "Platinum" project and our 14th LEED certified home. We want to thank the members of the "Turtle Lake" project team for project well done. Thanks goes out to Sustainable Home Consultants, LLC, Let Us, Inc., Turtle Wall and AES (Alliance for Environmental Sustainability) for awesome job! We would also like to thank the Homeowner for allowing us all to be apart of the special project!
It's official we just received LEED for Homes "Platinum" Certification for the "Glenn Retreat" project in Glenn, Michigan. This is the highest honor you can receive from the USGBC , and this is our 6th LEED for Homes "Platinum" project and our 13th LEED certified home. We want to thank the members of the "Glenn Retreat" project team for project well done. Thanks goes out to Sustainable Home Consultants, LLC, Lake Homes Builder's, Landscape Design Services, Inc. and AES (Alliance for Environmental Sustainability) for awesome job! We would also like to thank the Homeowner for allowing us all to be apart of the special project!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's official our Habitat for Humanity of Kent County project at "335 Freyling Place SE" in Grand Rapids achieved LEED for Homes "Platinum" certification. This was Habitat's 300th home built in Kent County and most radical and energy efficient project they ever built! The goal was to reduce the amount of energy needed to power the home, then to produce enough energy to heat itself. This small affordable home is was built in partnership with GRCC Tassell M-TEC New Construction students in the revitalized, historic Wealthy Heights neighborhood near the corner of Wealthy and Diamond on the southeast side of the City of Grand Rapids.

Besides the LEED certification the home was GreenBuilt Michigan "Gold" certified and also received ZeroStep certification and was featured on the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Tour and in World Habitat Day 2011. Some of the unique feature of this Habitat home are

Super Insulated 18" Thick Exterior Wall.
Logix ICF Exterior walls.
SIP Panel Roof.
Advanced Framing.
Jeld-Wen Energy Star Windows.
Passive Solar Design.
Solar Hot-water.
Pre-Wired for Photovoltaic's
Passive Cooling.
Prison Built Cabinetry.
Pre-Cast Concrete Counter-tops.
CertainTeed Fiber Cement Board Siding.
Radiant Heat Floors.
Whirlpool CEE Tier III Energy Star Washer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's official our Habitat for Humanity of Kent County project at "310 Indiana NW" in Grand Rapids achieved LEED for Homes "Platinum" certification. Although it's their first LEED for Homes "Platinum" project, they have built over 68 LEED certified home in the Grand Rapids area. It was built by student volunteers from Grand Rapids Public School Academy for Design and Construction which offered a tremendous opportunity for the students to learn cutting-edge green building and design. Not many students their age can say they help built a LEED Platinum Home!

Besides the LEED certification the home also received ZeroStep certification and was featured in the 2011 Spring Parade of Homes. Some of the unique feature of this Habitat home are

Logix ICF Foundation.
Advanced Framing.
SIP Panel Roof.
Energy Star Windows.
Cellulose Insulation.
Passive Solar Design.
Passive Cooling.
Prison Built Cabinetry.
Rain Barrels.
Food Garden.