First on the Block

First on the Block
Ann Arbor’s First LEED Platinum and LEED Gold Homes

These fine homes are two of the first eight LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Homes in Michigan. At the highest tiers, Gold and Platinum, they are among the most energy efficient and healthy in the nation.

We design homes that take into account a multitude of factors: harmony with the surrounding elements, interplay between different areas for quality over quantity, and a strong sense of composition. Our custom-made cabinetry is world-class, designed for your space and built into place. Proven methods in advanced building techniques and alternative energy strategies combine to make a house that can use one tenth the energy of a comparable home of standard construction. As experts in advanced building techniques, we craft our homes to exacting standards. As designers, we combine these techniques and skills to create the elements that make a great home.

What Makes These Homes Green?

Green Feels Good.

The amenities alone make these comfortable and luxurious homes to live in. Adding to these is one feature you can’t see – the regulation of temperature. ICF exterior walls create exceedingly quiet interiors and even, consistent heat without drafts or temperature swings. We use advanced software in designing our ventilation systems to ensure the proper distribution of heating and cooling through the home. Having a little elbow room feels good, too. By taking advantage of attic, basement and loft spaces, we added 1,950 square feet of living space in each home without more energy input or an increased footprint.

Green = Green?

Being green makes economical sense. The exceedingly tight envelope of this building combined with geothermal systems heats and cools each home for an estimated $39 per month average. Ultra low-flow water systems save money and lots of water without sacrificing performance. 50-year roofs and 6-inch driveway slabs are examples of the many components that will last longer than standard building materials. Locally produced resources can cost less and better our economy. As energy costs rise, stable operational costs become an increasingly valuable investment. These homes can be upgraded with solar panes to produce enough energy to run the house (and plug in your car).

Here’s to your Health.

Many building materials and methods can contribute to a higher concentration of allergens and chemicals within your home. Buildings are tighter and we spend more time indoors. The EPA recently stated that the average American home has worse overall air quality than major American cities.

The materials and finishes in this home have been selected in part for the low – Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content. An Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) actively exchanges stale interior air with fresh outdoor air while saving the heat and water content of the air during the exchange process. HEPA filtration is incorporated into the ventilation system for even greater air purity. And of course the building envelope does contain wood studs that permit water vapor movement through the walls and encourages microbial growth.

High Performance, Low H.E.R.S. Index.

These homes have achieved elite LEED Platinum and LEED Gold certification. This makes them the two highest rated homes in Ann Arbor, two of only eight with these designations in the state of Michigan, and in the top 100 nationally. It has a Five Star Plus Energy Star rating and very good HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index score of 42. A HERS index score of zero equals a zero net-energy home, while a score of 150 would represent a typical existing home. This building will save the equivalent of 3252 gallons of gasoline in heating and cooling annually, and over 19 tons of CO2 emissions.

Green Location?

That’s correct. The location and siting of these homes is just as important as how it was built. The homes are designed for maximum solar energy harvesting capability. This site had been previously built on, so no farmland or other sensitive areas were developed to make these homes. The close proximity of parks and natural areas contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Just a few blocks from downtown and a short walk from local markets, restaurants, and all that Ann Arbor has to offer, this location greatly reduces dependence on automobiles.
First on the Block
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“Too green?” — Erin Yuen
First on the Block
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“width” — katequenville
First on the Block
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“backsplash tiles” — Abigail Smukler
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