A Plan for the Ages

Architectural Resource and Meadowlark Builders teamed with the homeowners to transform an archetype from another era into an icon of future homes. This “deep green” whole house remodel is LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified with the USGBC’s LEED® for Homes program, the third platinum level remodel in Michigan. This home is built to address some key elements of the new era of housing – energy efficiency, low maintenance and durability, healthy indoor air quality, and smaller but better designed homes.

The special thing about this project is the “every man’s home” aspect of its design. Although projected to achieve the lofty level of Platinum certification, it does not present as something extreme. It looks like, lives like, and is experienced like any other home. The difference is what truly makes for a deep green home: what is inside.

Sarah Susanka, in her ground breaking 1998 book The Not So Big House, introduced to the world the concept of building a home that favors the quality of space over the quantity. Since then, due to economic and energy cost pressures, we have actually seen for the first time in recent history a decline in size of new homes being built. More and more people are rethinking soaring atriums and five gables to the street as being what a home has to be. A “rightsizing” of the American Dream perhaps? Many of the Not So Big® design principles are exhibited in this home including rethinking “room”; using the diagonal; the third dimension; indoor/outdoor connection; using light to expand space; shelter around activity; away space; movement toward light; and framed interior views. When we build for how we really live, a house that is inspired by our informal lifestyles and what is important to us, we build a house that is more than just square footage. We build a home.

This home has been made “future ready” with features such as the new geothermal system being designed to provide domestic hot water as well as radiant heat to the pre-piped super insulated floor slab in the sunroom and the master suite; conduits being installed from the roof to the basement for future renewable energy harvesting.

Advanced framing promotes a variety of building methods and engineering approaches that minimize material use and waste in the construction of a wood-framed house. Simply stated, this approach can potentially reduce up to 20%-30% of the wood in a typical wall and replaces it with insulation.

From ultra low-flow fixtures in the bathrooms to an efficient PEX manifold delivery system, this home is constructed to use far less water than the average home. The exterior features complete the picture with rain barrels, rain gardens, and a permeable site plan that keeps and re-uses the water that falls on the site. By installing high quality low-flow fixtures, this home will use approximately 40% less water than a home with standard fixtures with no noticeable decrease in performance.

A direct exchange geothermal system uses the stable year round 52 ° temperature of the earth to provide both heating and cooling. The DX system, utilizing a highly efficient method of heat exchange, allows the system to be installed with less site disruption in a smaller footprint – ideal for urban settings! A direct exchange geothermal system can cost up to 4 times less to operate than conventional heating and cooling systems at present energy prices.

Polyurethane foam is applied directly to the roof deck to complete an airtight building shell. The attic stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter while lowering energy bills by 20% or more.

Designing a green home also must account for future lifestyles at different points in peoples lives. By designing a home that is easy to modify or use in different ways, we build in future savings of resources and effort to change the home.

By considering where the sun shines and the orientation of the building on the site, “free” energy from the sun can be harnessed using site specific window placement, ‘tune’ overhangs to control the sun, and passive collection materials to hold the heat and use it in the home.

ERV’s recover the heat and moisture content of stale interior air to condition incoming fresh air. Large amounts of energy are saved by this exchange, while HEPA filtration further optimizes interior air quality.

Reclaimed materials from the demolition of this project were used to construct a barn for a different client on a different site so much of the older materials were diverted from the land fill.
A Plan for the Ages
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“Lights” — saralj
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“Color” — jaynetalbott
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“Craftsman tile fireplace.” — estee_nj
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“tile fireplace” — tamarablosserwamsley
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“2nd photo of kitchen note backsplash” — dedemcguire
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“paint” — midgetwidget
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“Shelving” — Becky Romenesko Green
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“book cabinet” — anoona
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“nice porch” — alangrudzinski
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“Exterior but would want one more level up” — jeharbaugh
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“The style” — amccommons
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