GreenHome Institute Making the places we live healthier and more sustainable 2015-05-13T11:57:09Z http://www.alliancees.org/feed/atom/ WordPress Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[How Much Do Energy Star Appliances Save You?]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6553 2015-04-20T18:33:17Z 2015-04-20T18:33:17Z By Jonathan Dean Energy efficiency is on everyone’s minds right now, and your home is no exception. In fact, having an energy-efficient home is a major selling point and can contribute to the property’s overall value. […]

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By Jonathan Dean

Article

Energy efficiency is on everyone’s minds right now, and your home is no exception. In fact, having an energy-efficient home is a major selling point and can contribute to the property’s overall value. Beyond just your lighting and electronics, appliances that use energy are included in the home efficiency equation, so what kind should you buy? Energy Star certified appliances are guaranteed to run on less energy than similar appliances built 10+ years ago; in turn, these appliances save you money as well as the environment.

Here are a few tips you should consider when searching for Energy Star appliances:

● Energy Star label: If you’re out shopping and you spot the Energy Star label on an appliance, you know you’ve found a winner in terms of energy efficiency
● Check the Energy Guide Label: Pay attention to the Energy Guide label because it can give you a lot of pertinent information when comparing different appliances. This government-sanctioned label gives you basic information like the manufacturer and model of appliance, but also reveals the estimated annual cost of using the appliance as well as the estimated amount of electricity it uses.
● Choose the right size: Depending on your lifestyle, the amount of people in your household, and the kind of home you have will determine the size of the appliances you need. For example, if you live in a large home with a spouse and a few kids, you will probably make good use of a large refrigerator; however, if you live in a small apartment with just one roommate, a smaller model will probably do you just fine and save you more money in the process

What should you expect from each of your major appliances? Build Direct offers a quick look at your savings throughout your home in their infographic. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, here are some good expectations when replaced with Energy Star models:

Refrigerators: save $50-$100 annually on energy bill
● Uses about 20 percent less energy than models built 30-40 years ago
● Buying a refrigerator with its freezer situated on the top or bottom, rather than side-by-side, can save an additional 10-15 percent of power
● If you need extra room, best to buy a larger unit instead of two smaller separate ones

Laundry Washers: save $110-$135 annually on energy bill
● Front-loading models use less water than top-loading models, but both use 50 percent less energy than regular full-sized models
● Energy Star washers use only 18-25 gallons of water per wash compared to about 40 gallons for regular full-sized models
● Choose models that feature multiple water settings to save more water with smaller loads and faster spin cycles to reduce drying time

Dryers: save $30 annually on energy bill
● 32 percent more energy-efficient than standard models
● Models that use natural gas save more money, but can use more energy
● Choose a model with moisture sensors that automatically shut down the drying cycle when clothes are dry to save more energy and limit wear on clothing
● Other great choices are condensing dryers (do not require an external vent), and heat pump dryers (siphons moisture-laden hot air out)

Air Conditioners (Central and Room): save $300 (central) and $23 (room) annually on energy bill
● Uses 20 percent less energy than models 10+ years old
● Has seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 13 or higher as opposed to 6 or 7 from older models
● Consult with an installation professional on what size your unit should be for your home for best efficiency

Water Heaters: save $250 annually on energy bill
● 50 percent more efficient than models 10+ years old
● Natural gas units will save more money than electric, unless it’s a solar unit
● Choose a unit that has an Energy Factor of 0.8 for maximum efficiency

Dishwashers: save $10-$25 annually on energy bill
● 25 percent more efficient than current federal standards
● Choose a unit that features an energy-saving mode that uses less water for washing slightly dirty dishes and uses circulation fans for drying
● No pre-washing needed with newer machines to save more water

Electronics (TV, printer, etc.): save $200 over product life span on energy bill (TV)
● TVs are 25 percent more efficient than regular models
● LCDs and LEDs are more efficient than plasmas
● Ink jet printers are typically more efficient than laser printers
● Save bonus energy and reduce risk of breaker box failure by attaching electronics to powers strips

CFL Light Bulbs: save $220-$750 over product life span on energy bill depending on number of units used
● Typically last 10 to 25 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs
● Use 70-90 percent less energy
● Produce 70-90 percent less heat and can assist with home cooling costs

Ceiling Fans: save $15 annually on energy bill
● Ceiling/light combination is 60 percent more efficient than traditional models
● Blade designs are more aerodynamic and motors run smoother to use less energy
● Use of fans can save A/C energy, but are best suited for cooling individual people rather than an entire room

Furnace: save $36-$100 annually on energy bill depending on northern or southern state models
● Southern state models are 12 percent more efficient than standard gas models
● Northern state models are 16 percent more efficient than standard gas models
● Natural gas units are more efficient than oil burning units

Depending on your state, the local government may offer tax incentives to get Energy Star appliances. The federal government offers tax credits for getting the more energy-efficient models, in addition to installing geothermal heat pumps, residential wind turbines, and solar energy collecting devices. By investing in all Energy Star-certified appliances, one can save over $1000 annually, and all devices will have paid for themselves in 9 years time. If you are considering replacing your old appliances with Energy Star ones, there is no time like the present to save tomorrow!

About the Author: Based in Los Angeles, Jonathan Dean has been writing professionally since 2009. He writes for JustRentToOwn.com and his professional interests include housing trends, personal finance, and new urban development.

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[GreenHome Institute Seeking Board Members]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6549 2015-04-20T13:24:41Z 2015-04-20T13:17:47Z The GreenHome Institute (GHI), a DBA of the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is celebrating it’s 15 year anniversary in 2015. Our mission is to empower people to make healthier and […]

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The GreenHome Institute (GHI), a DBA of the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is celebrating it’s 15 year anniversary in 2015. Our mission is to empower people to make healthier and more sustainable choices in the renovation and construction of the place we live. GHI was started by former President & Founder Michael Holcomb along with local community sustainability leaders; Guy Bazzani, David Thacker and Gayle DeBruyn. The organization has grown beyond West Michigan and servers the Midwest and beyond and seeks leadership outside of the immediate region. With our new name and mission to “empower people to make heal their and more sustainable choices in the renovation and construction of the places we live”, GHI is ready to impact a net positive impact on the region and we need you.

Since our inceptions we have educated over 15,000 professionals across the Midwest on implementing residential green design and construction. We have certified nearly 6,000 green homes which is ensuring 1,000’s of families have more energy and water efficient, healthy, durable and affordable housing.  We are supported through programming fees but also through members, sponsors, grants and direct donations.  We are housed in the Inner City Christian Federation building in East Hills Grand Rapids and are staffed by 2 full time employees. We have a contracted accountant and program facilitators in Chicago, Indianapolis and Minneapolis. We also have 1 – 2 volunteers and interns at any given time.

Current Programming

We accomplish our mission through our programs such as LEED for Homes, Enterprise Green Communities and GreenStar Homes certification. Through these programs we work with our regional facilitators and 20 Green Rater partners to complete professional plan reviews for designers, architects and inspect construction work in field which includes (but not limited to) insulation, air sealing, mechanicals, water efficiency, durability, materials and landscaping. Recently with funding from Andersen Windows we have expanded the GreenStar tool to be an easy to use online checklist that helps contractors and DIY homeowners generate green scopes of work, bids, specification and accountability forms to ensure small home remodels, additions and new builds are done better through measureable and auditable results. In 2013 we rolled out our monthly free webinar education series where we partner with green building educators across the country to host online learning sessions that get attendance from across the world. These sessions also help people gain their professional continuing education under AIA, GBCI, NARI Green, State Licenses, LFA and others. We have also recently launched a designation for the residential design and construction individuals who want to set themselves apart as GreenHome Professionals. These courses include formal on demand training and then require actual implementation of green principals in the field of residential construction projects.

Other program highlights 

  • Provided 50 Home Energy Labels (think MPG) as part of a pilot project in partnership with Holland Michigan. We are helping increase recognition and demand for Home Energy Labels in this city to reduce energy consumption and improve housing stock. Ideally this can be replicated on a larger scale.
  • Received further Wege Foundation funding to train 45 affordable housing staff members in Kent County and spur the further adoption LEED Version 4 residential projects across the county.
  • Partnered with Tree House Community Garden to launch a Living Building home Rehab to help bring inspiration to the Baxter community and show case zero energy, zero water and sustainable materials use that is beyond green. This will lead a pilot study for this kind of home construction to replicate it.
  • Partnered with MI Solar Works Collaborative to expand solar education to drive demand in West MI. Created six new solar PV projects since 2014 on homes and small businesses.

Board of Director Opportunity to Serve

Responsibilities:

Term: Two Years with 3 terms allowed

Vote on pertinent issues

Direct and Collaborate with the Executive Director

Attend bi – monthly meetings (in person or online)

Participate on a program committee and/or task force

Potentially facilitate volunteers or interns on key tasks

Avoid conflicts of interest.

Financial or membership commitments are encouraged by not required.

*Can serve on a committee instead of the board.

The following skills sets are needed to help expand and grow our mission in diverse areas:*

  • Higher Education
  • Marketing / Communications
  • Undergrad or Masters Student
  • IT and/or Web Designer
  • Affordable Housing Developer
  • Commercial Building Construction Trade
  • Skilled home professional trade
  • Healthcare Industry Professional
  • Renewable Energy Expert
  • Municipality Employee or City/State Official
  • Financial Institution / Lender for residential
  • Home Appraiser
  • Home Inspector
  • Materials Specialist
  • Product Manufacture Industry representative
  • Biologist
  • Indoor air quality  and/or EMF specialist

* Not limited to this list.
To learn more contact

Brett Little
Executive Director
616 458 6733 ext 1
Brett.little@greenhomeinstitute.org

To submit an application go to

http://www.alliancees.org/get-involved/join-the-board/

 

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[Paving the way to stormwater management – Webinar]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6537 2015-04-11T01:05:43Z 2015-04-11T01:05:43Z Did you know that parking lots and streets can serve as cost-effective, low maintenance, durable paving as well as an effective low impact stormwater best management practice? In a natural woodland or meadow, very little rainfall […]

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Did you know that parking lots and streets can serve as cost-effective, low maintenance, durable paving as well as an effective low impact stormwater best management practice?Paving the way graphic

In a natural woodland or meadow, very little rainfall runs off. During development, natural vegetation is usually removed and replaced with hard impervious surfaces such as roads, buildings and parking areas. This land surface change decreases infiltration, groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration; increases runoff and carries excess nutrients, sediment and other contaminants into our streams, rivers and lakes. It is imperative that we protect our natural resources and especially our fresh water.

In order to protect citizens, property and natural resources from poorly managed stormwater runoff, state and federal regulatory agencies now require local jurisdictions to better manage both quantity and quality of stormwater runoff from construction sites as well as on a regional or watershed basis.

As a means to comply with these new regulatory mandates, many local jurisdictions are imposing stormwater utility fees based on existing or proposed impervious surface areas of properties. Typically such fees can be reduced or averted if on-site low impact development best management practices are properly implemented.

  • How can property owners minimize long term costs associated with stormwater utility fees?
  • What are the best ways to comply with stormwater runoff QUANTITY and QUALITY regulations?
  • What are the most cost effective and sustainable practices to manage stormwater
  • Generally describes new stormwater regulations and various best management practices (BMP);
  • Shows how to utilize permeable paving to be an extremely effective low impact development BMP;
  • Explains how properties can be developed and maintained sustainable to achieve the triple bottom line.

Who Should Attend:

Facilities Owners/Operators, Civil Engineers, Architects, Project Managers, Landscape Architects, Contractors, Construction Managers, Paving Suppliers/Installers and any persons interested in implementing sustainable stormwater solutions for their construction projects or existing properties.

The benefit to the audience is that they will be able to make informed decisions to better implement low impact development (LID) best management stormwater practices that:

  • minimize or eliminate stormwater utility fees;
  • comply with state quantity and quality control requirements;
  • achieve the sustainable triple bottom line (save money, improve peoples lives and ensure a sustainable future).

Continuing Education 1 Hour – GBCI, AIA (HSW), NARI Green, NGBS and State Contractor/Designer License.

Learning objectives include:

  1. Understand stormwater management requirements and utility fees;
  2. Recognize various BMP types and application;
  3. Identify permeable paving benefits;
  4. Recognize permeable paving design options;
  5. Evaluate stormwater management cost impacts;
  6. How you can achieve the Triple Bottom Line, economically, socially & environmentally that promotes the health, welfare and safety of the community.

Company Presenting: Terrazia PC, located in Roanoke, VA www.terrazia.com

Contact Phone: 540-467-0996

Contact Email: Steve@terrazia.com

 Information about presenter:  

Terrazia President, Steve Sunderman, is a licensed Virginia architect who implements sustainable building strategies that save money, improves Steve Sundermanpeople’s lives and ensures a sustainable future. Terrazia PC is an environmental and energy conservation consultancy that provides comprehensive high performance building design, construction and operations strategies, as well as educational programs on sustainability to its clients as a means to conserve financial and natural resources and create healthy sustainable environments for all current and future stakeholders. Steve’s diversified architectural experience includes extensive design, project management and energy/utility audit consulting for a wide variety of building types throughout the United States and the Middle East. Alternative energy, conservation and equitable environmental design have been his passion since the early 1970’s. In 2012 Steve co-founded Quantum Architects, LLC with Adam Cohen as a means to offer high-performance design services utilizing “Passivhaus” strategies http://www.passiv.de/en/index.php.

Steve’s passion for promoting sustainable environments led him to become deeply involved in the US Green Building Council Southwest Virginia Chapter where he served on the board of directors from 2008 to 2012 and currently serves as an Advisor to the Board. From 2009-Present he has been the Chapter’s Green Schools Committee Chair. In 2011 he was elected to the first national USGBC Center for Green Schools Committee Cabinet and currently serves as National Green Schools Committee Chair for SE United States

Watch the recording here

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[Star Residence Goes GreenStar Silver in Wilmette, IL]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6522 2015-04-10T19:52:16Z 2015-04-02T18:52:28Z The client is an empty nester who sought to build a green home in Wilmette.  Previous homes she had built in the Northeast included green ideas and concepts, but she desired to expand from those restricted […]

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The client is an empty nester who sought to build a green home in Wilmette.  Previous homes she had built in the Northeast included green ideas and concepts, but she desired to expand from those restricted builds and create something for her current lifestyle, while planning ahead for future physical challenges if they were to occur.This was built as a “forever house” for and the first floor is adaptable for a bedroom, and has a shower that can be ADA converted and roll in quite easily.

314 Park includes a passive solar, double wall construction, low E windows and doors, light colored shingles, and a detached garage. The home also features paneling installed by Hardie, sun shades, spray foam insulation, energy star appliances, high efficiency furnaces and water heater, reclaimed finishes, low VOC cabinetry, and clean burning fireplaces. Tremendous amounts of passive solar heating and lighting pulse through double wall construction for a tight home. Reflective color shingles were installed to reduce heat gain, while sun shades were implemented to control the lighting, giving the home a remarkable atmosphere. The home was also pre design and wired to be solar pv ready if the homeowner chooses to add solar. Water efficient fixtures, toilets and valve control kitchen sink were installed to conserve water and energy. Milwork, doors and windows contain FSC certified wood and/or 25% post consumer recycled content and are low emitting.

The home has an impressive Air Changes per Hour at 1.4 with a HERS index rating of 51 making it 49% more energy efficient. Native/drought tolerant landscaping made up about 60% of the added landscape and veggie garden raised beds give the ability to grow local food.

New Home Silver - No State W_Front

GreenStar Homes Points 

  • Energy 170
  • Materials 105
  • Health 106
  • Water 38
  • Place 83
  • Total 502

SIZE: 2,400 square feet

PROJECT TYPE: Single Family- New Construction

DESIGNER/ARCHITECT:

Coda Design + Build
600 Waukegan Rd. Suite 129, Northbrook, IL 60062
847-920-9700
www.codadb.com
Providing the Chicago Metropolitan area unprecedented residential real estate consultation, design services, construction services and home concierge services.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coda-Design-Build/190749694435922
Houzz: http://www.houzz.com/coda-design-build

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[Terra Green(Star) IL Gold Gut Rehab]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6509 2015-04-02T18:32:38Z 2015-04-02T17:39:19Z  This is not your average gut/rehab by a “flipper.” It’s IL’s 2nd GreenStar Homes Gold Certified remodel project seeking to preserve and re use a home instead of building new. This home was featured on the […]

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 This is not your average gut/rehab by a “flipper.” It’s IL’s 2nd GreenStar Homes Gold Certified remodel project seeking to preserve and re use a home instead of building new. This home was featured on the 2014 GreenBuilt Tour in IL. At Terra Green, they follow two basic rules: If they wouldn’t put it in their own home, they won’t put it in yours; and they’ll make the home as affordable and green as possible.  First they started with a team effort that took different skill sets to go around the room and determine the best goals for the project and then after the project held post construction team meetings to discuss issues and lessons learned.  This type of exercise is important to ensure homes meet green targets throughout the process as well determine what can be done better on the next. Tamarisk-front-2
This home focuses on a tight building envelope, energy efficiency and high indoor air quality.  Air changes per hour were 30% better than code at 3.14 ACH through advanced air sealing techniques, a self closing door to the garage prevents exhaust from entering the home. No carpet along with Zero VOC finishes and adhesives, MERV 12 air filters, no formaldehyde cabinetry, GreenGuard certified kitchen countertop, duct cleanings, sealed crawlspace and duct joints and radon tight sump dome with a radon mitigation system also help aid the improved air quality of the home. Other improved health and comfort features include keeping major electrical loads away from bedroom, sealed ducts with mastic and there were fully ridged and located appropriately for air distribution.
The builder highlights many little things that add up to a big improvement: caulked penetrations, Energy Star windows, heavy insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling, ceiling fans, Water Sense certified fixtures and all CFL or LED lighting. The windows were repaired and resealed as opposed to replaced. A 16 SEER HCFC A/C was added for improved comfort, efficiency and reduced global impact.
Tamarisk Master Bedroom 7 Tamarisk Master Bath 6 Tamarisk Living Room 3 560 Tamarisk_South rear elevation_exterior
The site itself features landscaping that helps reduce cooling load and implements sidewalk shading and a roof water drainage system catches 20% of storm water run off. Grading and slopes are used through out the site to protect the home from potential water damage as keep a home dry is the 1 green application you can implement on an existing home.

Terra Green – Tamarisk Lane Crystal Lake, IL 60014 Type 1 Gold - No State

GreenStar Points

150 Energy
64 Materials
107 Health
21 Water
36 Place

Total Points 378

SIZE: 2,324 square feet
PROJECT TYPE: Single Family- Renovation/Remodel

OWNER/DEVELOPER:

Terra Green Incorporated
345 Little Marryat Road, Trout Valley, IL  60013
847-516-8052
terragreen.vpweb.com
Terra Green are green developers, builders and consultants specializing in eco-friendly building at an affordable price.

 

 

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[Intro to LEED for Homes V4 – What is the difference? Webinar]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=4558 2015-03-18T17:26:38Z 2015-03-17T13:01:41Z LEED Building Design and Construction for Homes version 4 (V4) is in many ways different than the previous 2008 version. Come learn about the changes that will take place and be ready for the October 31 […]

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LEED Building Design and Construction for Homes version 4 (V4) is in many ways different than the previous 2008 version. Come learn about the changes LEED4Hversion4-01that will take place and be ready for the October 31 2016 release before it comes. LEED for Homes v4 applies to new construction and major rehabs single family homes, neighborhoods, multifamily low, mid, high rise and mixed use buildings. Learn how you can use the program and now and be ahead of the game before the launch date.  We will discuss what’s new, what stayed the same and answer questions to help you understand V4 better.

Who?

Builders, Designers, Architect, Developers, Remodelers, Researches and Policy Makers who have past LEED for Homes experience and understanding.

Lessons Learned

  • Know  the basics of the new credits or credit changes in V4 vs 2008
  • Understand what credits remained the same
  • Know where to find more resources on LEED v4
  • Know who can help you in your market achieve V4 LEED

Presenter & Developer – Jay Hall, Ph.D, LEED APH “Jay has 30 years experience in market transformation, sustainable design of buildings, and energy efficiency. He is an expert in building energy modeling, and green building verification. Jay earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University. In 1989, he began with ICF International as a consultant working on EPA’s

Jay HallENERGY STAR market transformation programs. Since 2004, Jay has provided independent consulting services to the US Green Building Council in developing the LEED for Homes program. Jay was Acting Director for LEED for Homes for two years. He is also the lead programmatic and verification consultant for the Green Communities Offset Fund. Jay has served on the Home Depot Foundation Awards of Excellence Selection Committee; the Habitat for Humanity International Partnership for Sustainable Buildings Advisory Committee; and, The Healthy House Institute Advisory Board. Jay is also a LEED Faculty member.  Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, for the past 25 years, Jay and his wife, Kim, have resided with their two sons in Annapolis, Maryland. Jay Hall & Associates.

 Steps to access the program and get your completion certificate

1. Download the PPT Slide Handout Guide

2. Watch the recording here.

3. Complete the quiz below

4. Pay the non member ce submittal fee (Members get free submittal) – PAY HERE

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[MI Solar works in Muskegon – Project update]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6423 2015-03-05T01:55:36Z 2015-03-04T20:18:11Z Hesselink Installation – Completed May 19, 2014 – Update January 2015 Why?  Someone has to take a risk and start the ball rolling.  I have always believed in leading by example. Solar does work in Michigan […]

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Hesselink Installation – Completed May 19, 2014 – Update January 2015

Why?  Someone has to take a risk and start the ball rolling.  I have always believed in leading by example. Solar does work in Michigan and I want to provide details that actually demonstrate that solar is affordable for an average home owner, on an existing home and that it does work in Michigan. It is exciting to see that so far we are on track for the projected 80%  of my $55.00 monthly savings– Renae Hesselink

Renea Headshot & Solar Pv

Details

  • Muskegon County, Egelston Township
  • 5 KW System, 18 panels, SolarWorld, Made in USA, Solarworld purchases from businesses in Michigan exceeds $1 million
  • Footprint: Approximately 360 square feet
  • 2012 Electric Usage 12,149 Kwh, $ 1686.39 total  Average of 1012
  • 1470 square feet roof
  • 2012 Electric Usage  12,149 Kwh, $ 1686.39 total  Average of 1012 Kwh/month
  • 2013 Electric Usage 8,663 Kwh $1283.18 total  Average of 721 Kwh/month

 Related Costs:

  • Removal of a tree $500 *
  • Upgrade Electrical Panel to 200 amp $1500 *
  • Consumers Energy Application $100
  • Amount Financed: $14,580 @ 7% 10 years
  • Payments $168.10
  • Expected Payback 10 years
  • Expected Panel Life 25 years warranty, life 25 years +
  • Estimated 30% Federal Tax Credit when file 2014 taxes $4810
  • Bottom line cost after 30% tax credit $9770.00

Things to consider:

  • My house faces east so I will not get the maximum production – south facing is the best
  • Inverter replacement expected around year 15

Results after the first 26 days of production

*Not adding into the cost of the system to figure out my return on investment, as I would have done this anyway

Here is a summary of my journey:

September 2013 – was notified that the Mi Solar program is available on the west side of Michigan now

Completed the online application to Srinergy, sent them 12 months of my electric usage – copies of my

Consumers Energy billsUpdate Solar Usage

  • Srinergy determined that I would be eligible with the removal of a tree in my front yard – proposal received
  • October 6, 2013 – tree removed
  • October 18, 2013 – applied for a loan through Genisys Credit Union (I did not have a relationship with a credit union in Michigan which was a requirement for a loan) – approved at 7% interest rate
  • October 21, 2013 Received and signed contract from Srinergy
  • Late October determined that my electrical panel needed to be upgraded to a 200 amp – this was a slow process as I tried to find someone locally to do this work. Finally received a proposal in early January and work was completed in early March. With the harsh winter we had some of the delay was due to having work to be completed outside.
  • December 20, 2013 – Generator Interconnection Application completed and submitted to Consumers Energy with a check for $100 and a site plan
  • Then the harsh, harsh winter sets in and we waited and waited until the deep snow piles surrounding my house disappeared and it warmed up enough to work outside – a very long winter and spring didn’t appear until May it seems like. During this time we attempted to find a local electrical contractor that was willing to learn the skills to install. I originally tried to get the contractor that I had worked with to be the one and they were very slow to respond. Finally Sirnergy found Belasco Electric of Muskegon to work with and train.
  • Pulling the building permit from my Township took about three weeks. Not sure why so long but it finally came through the week of May 5, 2014.
  • May 19, 2014 – installation begins and is completed by May 21st. Before we could turn on the system it had to be approved by the electrical inspector and building inspector which all occurred by May 23rd.
  • May 23rd at 5:00 p.m. I flipped the switch on.
  • A week or so later I received my online account information for Watch-A-Watt so I could view my energy production over the web.
  • May 31, 2014 – completed my installation documents. Afadavit for the Renewable Energy Credits, and completion of the work.
  • June 5, 2014 – completed my loan paperwork, first payment due mid-July
  • Consumers Energy needed to install a bi-directional smart meter – I had a smart meter that had been installed last year but needed to be change and they did that on June 11, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
  • June 9th received a request that our Township Building Inspector wanted to come on-site to inspect – that was done on June 12th and no issue – received a sign-off

solar2 003

Other things to consider:

Somewhere in that timeline (early on) I also contacted my home insurance company to inquire about extra coverage which was not needed.

Local Fire Department – which I have yet to do as of June 19th – received a document from Srinergy (my request) on how to handle a fire on a structure with rooftop solar. I want to take this and meet with my local fire chief. Training and awareness opportunity.

Things that I will be watching and reporting:  Property Value

Project Team

o  Installer: Srinergy  http://srinergy.com/

o  Electrical Contractor: Belasco Electric http://belascoelectric.com/

Sign up for a free home solar assessment today!

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[Better Buildings. Better Business. B4 Conference – Sign up!]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6343 2015-02-02T02:09:51Z 2015-02-02T02:04:25Z Position yourself as a market leader. The economy is recovering, more people are remodeling or building new homes, technology is evolving rapidly and laws are changing. The Better Buildings: Better Business Conference provides one central hub where […]

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Position yourself as a market leader. The economy is recovering, more people are remodeling or building new homes, technology is evolving rapidly and laws are changing. The Better Buildings: Better Business Conference provides one central hub where builders, suppliers, manufacturers, contractors and the industry can find out what they need to know to stay current and ahead of trends.

Get logistics handled. First things first; you need to decide if you will attend our Illinois conference, Wisconsin conference or both! Secondly, if you’d like to spend the night you’ll need a place to stay. 

 
Get your plan of attack in place. There’s so much to do at the conference you’ll want to make sure you take advantage of every moment. Check out the Illinois agenda and register today!
Don’t forget to come say hi to us!

When: Thurs Feb 26 – Fri Feb 27
Where: Crown Plaza Chicago-Ohare
5440 N River Rd.
Rosemont, IL 60018

More details at www.BetterBuildingsIL.org 

When: March 11th through the 13th
Where: Wisconsin Dells
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“It’s the new reality. Savvy home owners expect more; technologies and materials are advancing; and sophisticated building and business practices are required. This conference will help you prepare for changes and succeed in today’s industry”
– Brandon Weiss, Evolutionary Supply & Solutions, Geneva, IL

 

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[Rural Homes can be Green too!]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6249 2015-01-05T15:02:42Z 2015-01-05T15:02:42Z Sometimes in the Green Building world we look to the urbanization of homes and buildings to improve location efficiency and give the benefit of community connectivity. Often times we may view homes that are suburban or […]

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THE BER

Thanks to our in kind sponsor Building Efficiency Resources to make this possible!

Sometimes in the Green Building world we look to the urbanization of homes and buildings to improve location efficiency and give the benefit of community connectivity. Often times we may view homes that are suburban or rural to not be green because of the dependence on the automobile to access resources that are often times miles apart.  We know of course that when purely looking at energy, a more rural built home still can meet or even surpass an existing urban home by taking a few more extra energy additions to offset the use of vehicle miles. We also know that more energy is used in homes vs the average consumer vehicle and so there are many opportunities to build better and make up for this.

When MI’s first GreenStar Certified Gold Home was completing their certification they found that their site and community impact score was just a few points shy of gold, mostly due the fact their home was located in the middle of the woods in the Manistee National Forest. In contrast we found the energy score of the home to be surpassing gold requirements greatly. The team made a request to see if their energy score that resulted from a HERS 16 and both solar pv / thermal could be a justified trade off for the energy the average family would need to access resources in a more rural area. The GreenStar tech committee and review (Marc Sloot) got to work right away investigating the opportunity.

The goal of the research was to determine what the average family in the average vehicle travels per year in an area identified as rural and then determine what the predicted energy usage of the HERS index is per point and find a way to offset a better HERS index for a trade in SC (Site & Community impact) points.

Researching data on energy used in vehicles for rural families was easy but determining energy usage per HERS index point was not. The HERS index score is not meant to necessarily be something that predicts energy use directly but rather something to compare differently built to code homes. We reached out to Building Efficiency Resources (The BER), one of the leading HERS providers in the country to see if they would help us extrapolate data. This data would includes HERS index, square feet, climate zone, remrate predicted energy usage and number of bedrooms. Eurihea Speciale, founder and principal was gracious enough to provide 550 sets of data for Midwest homes and the Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC) in St Paul MN provided another 50 but was skeptical we would find a correlation between HERS and energy usage.

Marc Sloot and the Tech Committee were able to come up with somewhat of a comfortable number that showed a reasonable energy usage prediction per verified HERS Index point and while there were many outliers it served the purpose we needed. After some deliberation the team was able to determine a good set of rules for more rural projects who achieve advanced energy scores and low HERS ratings.

GreenStar Exchange of HERS index points for SC points:
—> People can exchange 3 HERS index points for every 1 SC point on the GreenStar checklist up to 10 SC
points.
—> SC points gotten in exchange like this plus SC points they already have for measures 1D-3 + 1D-4 + 1D-5
cannot exceed 13.
—> Actual HERS index + HERS index points given in exchange cannot exceed 75.

This request can be submitted any time before certification via the greenstar waiver form on the checklist.

Interestingly enough because of this research the tech committee thought maybe utilizing the HERS index score as their energy performance pathway may not be the best approach. The next goal of the committee is to instead utilize energy (KWHe)/year/square foot/bedroom to determine a more fair score. This would also open up the use of more tools such as REMrate (without HERS), Passive House modeling and the use of existing home tools such as the DOE: Home Energy Score and Cake System Systems – Residential Energy Performance Score.  Thanks to the tech committee for their flexibility and understanding. Anyone using greenstar is open to work with the committee to find something that makes sense because the idea of a greenhome is evolving and should not be a set of rigid and unchanging principals.

Stay tuned in 2015 for more on this research and an update to the energy performance pathway in GreenStar.

 

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Brett Little, LFA, LEED APH http://www.alliancees.org <![CDATA[Chicago’s 1st GreenStar Certified Home]]> http://www.alliancees.org/?p=6261 2015-01-05T14:48:40Z 2015-01-05T14:46:49Z Featured on the 2014 GreenBuilt Home Tour in Chicago this GreenStar Type 1 gold certified remodel features a completely gutted and restored Chicago Bungalow.This newly renovated home was also completed by the States 1st GreenHome Professional, […]

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Featured on the 2014 GreenBuilt Home Tour in Chicago this GreenStar Type 1 gold certified remodel features a completely gutted and restored Chicago Bungalow.This newly renovated home was also completed by the States 1st GreenHome Professional, Ron Cowgill, former NARI  Chicago chapter president. ” To date this home hasn’t even seen 100 gas bills and before the renovation we had seen $500.00 gas bills that likely lead to the foreclosure of this property.” – Ron Cowgill.

 

4550WWellington_print_57-1024x683 4550WWellington_print_8 4550WWellington_print_165 4550WWellington_print_5 Remodel Type 1 Gold Certified 4550 W Wellington Chicago Certificate-SlootSigned

Professional: D/R Services Unlimited 

Rater: Eco Achievers

Square Feet Conditioned: 3691

Project Details 

Living Room

-Insulated fiberglass entry door
-Saved patched wood floors and baseboards
-New energy star windows
-No VOC paint
-Reclaimed light fixtures and fan
-LED lights
-Reused old doors in mantel area
Dining Room

-Saved patched wood floors and baseboards
-New energy star windows
-No VOC paint
-Reclaimed light fixtures
Kitchen
-Saved patched wood floors
-New energy star windows
-No VOC paint
-LED/CFL lights
-Reused old doors in island
-Energy Star appliances
-Water saver faucet
-Saved and restored transom window over insulated fiberglass entry door
-Baseboard made from Sustainable forest products

1st Floor Bathroom
-No VOC paint
-LED/CFL lights -Water saver faucets
-Dual Flush toilet
-Fan vented outside
-Baseboard made from Sustainable forest products

1st Floor Bedroom
-Saved patched wood floors
-New energy star windows
-No VOC paint
-Reclaimed light fixtures and fan
-Baseboard made from Sustainable forest products

2nd Floor Bedrooms
-New energy star windows
-No VOC paint
-Reclaimed light fixtures and fan
-LED recessed lights
-Green Guard carpeting
-Closed cell foam insulation
-Baseboard made from Sustainable forest products

2nd Floor Bathroom
-No VOC paint
-Reclaimed light fixtures and fan
-LED recessed lights
-Closed cell foam insulation
-Water saver faucets
-Dual Flush toilet
-Fan vented outside
-Baseboard made from Sustainable forest products Basement
-Sealed concrete walls and floor
-InSoFast insulation panels on the exterior walls
-No VOC paint
-Green Guard carpeting
-Reclaimed light fixtures in laundry, wine room and furnace room
-LED recessed lights
-Closed cell foam insulation around rim joist
-Water saver faucets
-Reclaimed 1.6 gal flush toilet
-Fan vented outside

Whole House / Outside
Blower door test
Radon test
Air sealed
Restored back porch to a porch (hard to heat and cool)
Removed old deck and salvaged framing and railings to construct new deck
Compost bin
All Debris and left over materials sorted and recycled or donated to the Restore Chicago

-Baseboard made from Sustainable forest products

-Insulated fiberglass entry door
-Reclaimed old back entry door for wine room door
Vented sump pit
-90+ furnace 13 SEER A/C compressor

 

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