A Green House Effect

March 27, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — VG Development is building a unique townhouse on

James Avenue
Cherry Street
on the city's Southeast Side, and without a doubt, it will be the greenest house in the neighborhood.

What makes this structure so significant is it's a LEED Home Pilot Project that has been funded in part by a state grant, one of only five awarded statewide.

"We've started construction this week. The Bazzani Building Co. recently received an Energy Star Home Grant from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth Energy Office," said Rachel Lee, development associate with Bazzani Associates.

VG Development is a partnership between Vern Ohlman, chairman of architectural firm Design Plus, and Guy Bazzani, owner of development company Bazzani Associates and BazzaniBuilding

The firm has designed an energy-efficient, super-insulated side-by-side duplex that will go up on a vacant lot in the Cherry Hill Historic District. Each home will have 1,450 square feet of space, two bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, a living room, a dining room, a private side porch, a two-stall detached garage and an option to build out a 560-square-foot basement for an additional bedroom, bathroom or a recreation room.

Energy Star appliances will be featured throughout, along with an efficient furnace that recovers energy through a ventilator, a central air conditioning unit without CFCs, low-flow water fixtures, dual flush Carolina toilets, and paints that are low in VOCs.

According to the state's Energy Office, an Energy Star home will use 45 percent less energy than a typical new home built in Michigan

Patrick Hudson, of the Michigan Energy Office, told the Business Journal that the state grant was for $6,910. Of that total, $3,610 was an incentive for energy-efficient construction and $3,000 would go toward marketing the duplex. Another $300 would be used to calculate the home's energy rating. The grant went into effect a few weeks ago.

Hudson added that the labor and economic growth department will honor Bazzani and the other grant recipients from Alpena, Kalamazoo, Lindwood and Morrice at a ceremony to be held on April 19 in East Lansing

In addition, Bazzani Associates recently achieved a LEED for Core and Shell Gold level certification for the firm's East Hills Center (of the Universe) project on Lake Drive SE. This is the first LEED-CS Gold in the area.

The townhouse, at

216 James St. SE
, should be ready for occupancy in August.    

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