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West Michigan tours LEED-certified homes
Two nonprofit housing developers in Grand Rapids are playing major roles in the very first regional tour of LEED-certified homes this Saturday.
The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability is hosting the inaugural event, with stops in Grand Rapids, Lowell, Saranac and Fennville.
The tour incorporates all types of housing: from affordable to market-rate rental units, to single-family homes, to multi-family buildings.
But all the homes have one trait in common: each has been LEED-certified by a third party.
Grand Rapids homes
One stop on the tour is a new home at 1831 Willard Ave. SE in Grand Rapids, which was built by Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. The home is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
What's unique about the house is it’s not only LEED Gold certified, but it’s also an Energy Star Version 3 home. Normally, Habitat pursues LEED Silver and Energy Star V. 2 ratings in its new construction.
The key to attaining Energy Star 3 was installing a 95 percent energy-efficient furnace in the two-story home, with an ERV mechanical ventilation system and flexible ducts, according to Habitat for Humanity. The combination reduced energy costs and improved the indoor air quality, which led to the higher ES rating and an Indoor airPlus certification.
Of course, Habitat for Humanity installed Energy Star-rated appliances throughout the house and painted with low-VOC paints.
LINC Community Revitalization has nine of its Southtown Rentals townhomes in the tour.
The LINC homes will be open for the tour from 10 a.m. until noon, and people interested in seeing the units should go to the LINC office, at 1167 Madison Ave. SE.
The nine units are the first of the 1,500 square foot multi-family units LINC plans to build in the Southtown Square neighborhood of Grand Rapids, as the developer is in the process of replacing old, dilapidated houses there with modern, efficient townhomes.
The LINC townhomes are certified LEED Silver, with a 96 percent energy-efficiency rating and filled with Energy Stat appliances, windows and lighting. All have energy recovery ventilation systems that improve indoor air quality.
LINC estimated that residents will save 30 percent on their energy bills and 10 percent on their water payments annually in the townhomes, which have three bedrooms and two baths.
The third home in Grand Rapids is a LEED-rehabilitated house, at 336 Visser Pl. SE. The home is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Outside of Grand Rapids
The tour also features a solar-powered home in Lowell, at 13691 Beckwith Dr. NE and a LEED Platinum-certified home that's 60 percent solar powered in Saranac, at 5475 Darby Rd. The homes are open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
In Fennville, the tour of the Glenn Retreat, at 7136 114th Ave., doesn’t begin until 9 a.m.
The home is certified at the LEED Platinum level, and it features a highly efficient water system that reuses water. The house features a wastewater treatment unit that allows the treated water to be reused as below-ground irrigation, resulting in the creation of a drought tolerant and low-maintenance landscape.
Tour tickets are $10 and available at alliancees.org.