More Beauty

Welcome MN Member More Than A Beautiful Home

More Than A Beautiful Home blends the art of home and the science of better to help you get more from your home without sacrificing beauty.

“Go ahead. Picture your dream home – the bold paint colors, coordinating fabrics, vibrant countertops, polished appliances, and stunning floors.”

They are on a mission to improve the environment by empowering women to create better homes.

“Now, envision a better home. Say good bye to uncomfortably hot or cold rooms, musty smells, drafty windows, ice dams, high utility bills, toxins and chemicals, and wanting to do something better for the environment but not knowing what to do.”

Currently More Than A Beautiful Home sends monthly and relevant, stylish but useful newsletters for homeowner and remodelers with content. You can follow them now or subscribe here. Another unique call to action is the Million Plus 3 Better Home Challenge. Imagine when one million women taking 3 actions each will create better homes and the biggest energy movement the country has ever seen! Take action now!

More than a Beautiful home is ran by Cindy Ojczyk and Christine Bleyhl who are passionate advocates for the marriage of beauty and sustainability. Christine is the former chair of MNGS Technical Committee as of 2013. Cindy, long time voluntary educator for MNGS qualiication training, co-author of GreenStar Certified Green Homes and Remodeling program, owner of Simply Green Design sustainable interior design, and member of the NorthernSTAR Building America team for the U.S. Department of Energy, brings a wealth of experience grounded in research and practical application to her consumer outreach website www.morethanabeautifulhome.com 

Restor the north shore promo

Former NARI Chicago President becomes member and remodels green

Ron Cowgill, Owner of D/Restore the North Shore Services Unlimited, has been in the remodeling business for over 25 years and is a Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler (CKBR), Green Certificate Professional (GCP) and Universal Design Certified Specialist (UDCP) through NARI, EPA Certified in lead safe practices, Past President of the local NARI Chapter in Chicago, Licensed electrical contractor, Licensed general contractor in Chicago, Highland Park and Evanston. Ron has contributed to articles in “Crain’s Chicago Business”, “Remodeling Magazine”, “Qualified Remodeler”, “Chicago Sun Times”, “Chicago Tribune” and wrote a “How To” colum for” Chicago Home Improvement Magazine”. Ron is the host of Mighty House, a homeowner DYI Chicago online radio with national audience
Chicagoland radio shows & HGTV’s before and after segment and New Spaces episode. Ron’s company, D/R Services Unlimited, Inc. has been completing “Green” remodeling projects for many years. Many of these “Green” techniques have been incorporated in to the normal operation of his business.

Ron is thrilled to be participating in Chicagoland’s 2nd annual GreenBuilt Home Tour with the Wellington Ave, Type 1 – whole home remodel featured above. This project is registered and on track to certify at the coveted Gold level. Project features are a: Complete gutted kitchen, first floor bathroom, second floor, basement, all new electrical/plumbing/HVAC, closed cell foam on second floor, basement insulation panels, LED/CFL lighting, Water saver faucets, dual flush toilets, New windows, No VOC paints. Reclaimed floors, light fixtures, interesting use of old doors. A energy and green home 3rd party audit was done before and after remodel to ensure quaity assurance and energy peformance goals are met. The rater on the project is Jason La Fleur of Eco Achievers and AES regional director.

Once certified, Ron will be Chicago’s and IL’s first GreenHome Professional.

Don’t miss the 2nd annual Chicago GreenBuilt Home Tour coming up next week!

The 2014 GreenBuilt Home Tour features 18 exceptional, award-winning, and nationally-recognized Chicago area homes which highlighted attractive, affordable, and sustainable building practices. The tour is coming up on July 26 and 27 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

During the two-day event, attendees learned ways the built environment contributes to a healthier community. The tour included Northern Illinois’ finest builders, designers and homeowners who created healthy, energy saving green homes. Together they send a clear message: to reduce our nation’s need to produce energy we must “make it tight and vent it right.”

All homes on the tour were third-party verified (or pending verification) to ensure they were built (or being built) to national standards, earning certification through programs such as: ENERGY STAR for Homes, LEED for Homes, the National Green Building StandardDOE Challenge HomeIllinois GreenStar, and Passive House.

2 other ILGS homes will be featured too. Plan a trip to Chicago today and sign up now! 

Virge Temme Photo 2

Welcome WI Member Virge Temme

Virge “believes that architecture has the power to change our lives. Our world is undergoing monumental shifts in climate due to natural evolution as well as the impact of human activity. Our firm is committed to the goal of utilizing environmentally sound materials, systems, design, and construction methods in the creation of our built environment, in order to reduce the impact of buildings on our environment.’

Virge just recently completed the ITHACA home, a LEED platinum new construction in Gills Rock, WI that averages $30.00 energy bills and used low and no voc paints for improved indoor air quality. She is now working with WI’s premier rater Thomas Krawczyk on a new registered LEED rebuild in Sturgeon Bay that will target platinum and aim to reuse or locally recycled 100% of the existing home onsite in the new home. Learn more and follow the project.

Virge Temme received her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, and has been a professional residential designer since 1988. Widely recognized as an expert in the field of green architecture and sustainable design, Virge is often a featured speaker, panelist and author on these issues. Virge Temme Architecture, Inc. was founded in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1999.

She is an active member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) the Passive House Alliance and now GreenStar / AES!

Check out all her work and philosphy here at VirgeTemme.com

Image Design LLC

Welcome new member Image Design!

Image Design, LLC, owned by Eric Hughes, is a national award winning
sustainable/organic residential design firm located in East Grand Rapids, Michigan.
They specialize in designing new homes, cottages, remodels, additions and developments and can create a custom home that is suited to the clients individual lifestyle and the unique nature of the choosen site.
Image Design has over 24 years of residential design experience on sustainable construction methods such as Advanced framing, Insulated concrete forms (ICF’s), Superior wall foundations, Structural insulated panels (SIP’s), Earth bermed, Light Clay Straw, near zero energy, renewable ready, Passive and Active solar designed homes. They have designed over 25 Homes that have been certified through the LEED for Homes certification process. Their designs have been published locally and nationally and have been built thru-out Michigan and as far away as New York. We are actively learning new methods of sustainable construction every chance they can, such as Passive House and Living Building Challenge certification and “we are very excited to support the new Michigan green remodeling certification program, GreenStar.”See Image Design’s most recent projects

GreenStar is a leading cold weather climate residential building standards program that provides third-party verification and certification of projects for new and existing homes. GreenStar is a resource providing training, testing, and rating services for homeowners and industry professionals alike. GreenStar is apart of the 501 c3 non profit the Alliance for Environmental Sustianability. 
The New Net Zero

Members enter in a drawing to win! New Net Zero

New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future.

Green Star members enter a chance to win below! Deadline is July 31st

The Comprehensive Guide to Net-Zero Standards and Techniques, Including Construction Details

The new threshold for green building is not just low energy, it’s net-zero energy. In The New Net Zero, sustainable architect Bill Maclay charts the path for designers and builders interested in exploring green design’s new frontier: net-zero-energy structures that produce as much energy as they consume and are carbon neutral.

In a nation where traditional buildings use roughly 40 percent of the total fossil energy, the interest in net-zero building is growing enormously—among both designers interested in addressing climate change and consumers interested in energy efficiency and long-term savings. Maclay, an award-winning net-zero designer whose buildings have achieved high-performance goals at affordable costs, makes the case for a net-zero future; explains net-zero building metrics, integrated design practices, and renewable energy options; and shares his lessons learned on net-zero team building.

Both new-building and renovation projects are covered in detail. The New Net Zero is geared toward professionals exploring net-zero design, but also suitable for nonprofessionals seeking ideas and strategies on net-zero options that are beautiful and renewably powered.

“This book will become a game changer at a pivotal point in history. The New Net Zero is a technical manifesto that brings together engineering, ecology, architecture, energy, the construction industry, transportation, and design into a coherent whole. . . Immensely practical, thorough, and technologically comprehensive: it is a masterful job.”—John Todd, founder, John Todd Ecological Designs

Of The New Net Zero, The New York Times recently wrote: “Books by architectural firms are often vainglorious marketing efforts that keep the content glossy and light. But an ambitious new book … challenges the genre.” Read the full Q&A online.

Enter to win – Didn’t win? The first 50 sign ups get a 35% discount coupon code!

Sign up to win! (If you are not member we can get you signed up asap)

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Meet our new Technical Summer Intern

Maria Finsness is thrilled to have the opportunity for an internship with Greenstar this summer. It fits perfectly with her passion for environmental sustainability that she has had since high school.
Maria is going on to be a senior at the University of Minnesota studying Bioproducts Marketing and Management in the track of Residential Building Science. This unique major provides her an opportunity to be prepared for IMG_4092the growing future in sustainable construction. Along with construction, Maria’s other environmental efforts are put into urban beekeeping and ecology.
Maria will be spending her time updating, cleaning up and helping overall the Greenstar program, manual and checklist. Greenstar expansion is contingent on better user functionality of our checklist and up to date building science information and practices. Maria may be reaching out to YOU at some point for your feedback prior to roll out. I
Besides her Internship Maria also will be 
spending her weekends at her parent’s cabin, get to some yoga classes and drink good beer!

Grand Rapids Green Home Retrofit Type 1 Bronze

GrandRapids Green Home Retrofit

Grand Rapids Green Home Retrofit

Being the Executive Director at an organization that promotes and trains on residential green building, Brett Little decided to put his money where his mouth was and commit to green remodeling in his first house purchase. 

Little House New PicBrett and his wife Laura wanted to commit to the up and coming city of Grand Rapids Michigan, which was easy to do with all the past few years of recognition and grow (Most sustainable mid sized city, beer city usa 12′ and 13′, top ten place to find a job, most LEED building per capital and etc etc. ) The home is circa 1920s and aesthetically was in great shape, had a brand new remodeled kitchen, intact wood windows and trim, good paint, half finished basement and very well kept landscaped (turf) yard.

What the house was missing was quickly shown in the inspection and energy audit. They revealed a lack of any decent insulation/air sealing,  chuck full of incandescent light bulbs, inefficient water fixtures, noisy bath fan old and oversized heating/cooling systems  along with a dinosaur of a water heater and no garden in the perfectly south facing fenced in backyard.

The target was LEED Silver certification through a Gut Rehab but we quickly had determined that exposing the exterior or interior walls to air seal plus removing the shower casing to add in non paper face drywall would go way over our budget. While LEED may fall more in line with a Deep Green Retrofit, we opted to do a Moderate Green Retrofit.

We immediately utilized the Michigan GreenStar program once it became available to document the existing conditions and come up with initiatives at the forefront of our goals for this home. As you can see in the initial energy audit in which we used the HERS Model (think a MPG sticker for your house), we came out at 175. You can see a little more on results we got here.  This number was on track with the old homeowners energy bills which we acquired during the audit.  Our order of importance to the home upgrades were Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Water Conservation, Landscaping and then Material Conservation lastly.

Back deck

We came across a unique financing that allowed us to  do a lot of work in the up front in-which does not existing now. MI Saves had partnered with our gas company DTE to allow a $2,500 kick back to those who could show a performance plan of gas savings of 30% with an upgrade. Trane/WellsFargo also had a fantastic deal with a 0% 5 year loan that allowed other products outside of their brand to make up 50% of the costs.

Key achievements for GreenStar Certification 

  • Insulation of the walls, attic, rim band joist and foundation walls. EE
  • Caulking and Air sealing the windows and trim
  • New Storm Windows
  • New fiberglass energy star door + weather stripping old door
  • 96% Efficient, modulating and right sized furnace with ECM
  • 90% Efficient Hybrid 20 gallon water heater
  • Sealed ducts and hot water pipes
  • Programmable Thermostat
  • Mostly LED’s, some CFLs with some Dimmers or Motion sensorsIEQ
  • Airchanges per Hour (ACH): 5.1
  • Final HERS: 65
  • 181 Points in E.E
  • Ultimate Air Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
  • New Panasonic Exhaust Fan
  • Closed Combustion Furnace & Water Heater
  • Vented Hood RangeWC
  • No VOC Paint In Basement
  • MERV 10 Filter
  • Asbestos Removed from heating ducts
  • Radon Test (negative)
  • Whole House Carbon Water Filtation
  • 46 Points in IEQ
  • Water Leak Test
  • .5 GPM Bathroom Aerator
  • 1.6 GPM Water Sense Shower Head
  • Niagara Stealth Toilet at .8 Gallons Per Flush (half of a normal toilet!)
  • SCPlan to not water lawn during the day
  • Reduced Turf
  • 28 points in water conservation 
  • Installed Food Garden & Raised Beds
  • High Walkscore of 80 out of 100
  • Compost and Recycle almost all waste through the city & organicycle 
  • 24 points in Site and Community Impact

To see the entire completed checklist, go here and download it or view it online 

Our blog details 1 years worth of utility date & costs associated with the project.  It also features lessons learned. We will be keeping it up to date by monitoring the performance, durability, comfortably and maintenance.

We plan to achieve Silver Certification within 2 years by converting more of the backyard to a food garden and the entire front yard over to a mix of drought tolerant and native plant species along with raised bed food gardens. Adding rain barrels and fixing the gutters. We hope to achieve more points by painting the exterior of the house with carcinogen free no VOC paint.

Other current issues – No return ducts in the 2nd floor is causing discomfort in both temperature and air floor. We have an idea of opening up the kitchen to connect to the living and dining and during that time we could potentially add return ducts and seal the current ducts.

Broc

Garden Image  Full

Eco House 2009: New Home Gold

MNGS New Home Gold Logo

Eco House 2009

Minnesota State Fair – Built to MN GreenStar Standards

For the third year in a row SALA Architects was honored to design the ECO House for the Minnesota State Fair’s Eco Experience. The 2009 ECO House is an innovative design solution using sustainable principles for domestic needs. This house’s focus is Net Zero, which we’ve defined as “using only as much energy as it produces on site.” The house features a south facing working facade that incorporates photovoltaic and solar hot water panels into the architecture. Not only does this working facade aide in the production of energy, it is designed to also serve the many other needs of the house such as; summer shading, winter passive solar heating, water collection, and operable thermal blanketing. Our goal is to design a house that not only responds to the demands of today, but also to the future needs of our planet.

By SALA Architects

For more information on this project visit www.salaarc.com.

Wilcon Construction, Inc. – Project 3: New Home Bronze

New Home Bronze

Wilcon Construction

A trifecta of SIPS panels, solar panels and a geothermal system were the heavy-hitters used to achieve a HERS (Home Efficiency Rating System) score of 29 in this new home located in south-central Minnesota. This means that this house is projected to consume 71% less energy than a house built to just meet the 2006 IECC and 41% less energy than a typical MN code home. Actual results have exceeded expectations, and the homeowners are very pleased.

Site impact was an especially important consideration during the building process. The home is located near a lake, one of Minnesota’s most valuable natural resources. The orientation of the home takes full advantage of beautiful views and the benefits of natural daylight.

The Rivers’ home also won a building-excellence-award from SIPA (Structural Insulated Panel Association) based on the following features:

  • 6-inch SIP walls, 10-inch SIP roof
  • Geothermal heating system
  • In-floor radiant heating
  • ENERGY STAR lighting and appliances
  • Onsite solar generation
  • Recycling program implemented during construction
  • All low VOC paints, sealants and finishes

For more information on this project visit wilcon-construction.net.

The Landschute Group: New Home Gold

Landschute Group, LLC

This MN GreenStar (Gold), Minnesota Green Path (Master certification), LEED for Homes (Platinum certification) home designed and built by The Landschute Group embodies all that Don and Barbara Shelby have looked for in their dream home: Barbara’s love of warm, cozy, cottage architecture mixed with Don’s passion for sustainability and cutting-edge construction. For more than thirty years, Landschute has built homes that infuse new construction technology with a warm, rich architecture – but never to this level. In fact, at the time, no other home in the country had earned this triple certification. Landschute was able to effectively respond to key sustainability issues such as water management, insulation, energy reduction, material reuse, and indoor air quality.

With over 165 attributes contributing to make this a sustainable home, there are too many to list here. Some of the project highlights are listed below.

  • Many materials were reused such as wood from the building previously on the site, reclaimed Douglas Fir flooring, recycled roofing (90% recycled plastics and tires), and reclaimed doors and hardware.
  • A water management system includes a 3,000 rainwater collection cistern to irrigate plant beds (made of native, drought-tolerant species), a permeable paver driveway and walkway (providing an additional 3,500 gallons of water storage), and an interior graywater system.
  • Natural temperature control includes using triple-pane windows, spray foam insulation to achieve higher R-values, LED lighting options, ground-source heat pumps, and a 5.5 kW solar array.
  • To improve indoor air quality, materials contained no added urea-formaldehyde (UF) and VOCs were kept to a minimum by using No-VOC finishes. For example, the floor was finished with vegetable oil based floor finish that is a No-VOC product.
Landschute Group, LLC
Landschute Group, LLCLandschute Group, LLC

For more information, please visit http://www.landschute.com.