The Woodka Remodel: Certified Green !!!

Spring, 2013: The construction crews have packed up; the dust has been swept away; the house has been put back together. The newly renovated Woodka residence is finally a "home" again. The months of planning and building have resulted in a home transformed from its former early-80s self into a beautiful, state-of-the-art luxury home.

The owners started this renovation project with two goals in mind: Create a highly-livable, comfortable home with room for the entire extended family to share, with amenities that will allow them to fully enjoy the lakeside setting. Second, they wanted this home to be designed and rebuilt with sustainability and energy-efficiency as its main hallmarks. The design and construction teams have accomplished these goals, exceeding all expectations.

Green Built Michigan Certified

As solid proof that the new Woodka home is as efficient as possible, the owners wanted to achieve a green building certification such as LEED. They chose the Green Built Michigan process as their certification program.

Green Built Michigan is a set of strict criteria that all must be met in order to achieve certification; it is not an easy certification process, and many homes fail to gain final GBM approval. It was the hope all along that the many improvements being made to the Woodka in terms of improved efficiency and use of sustainable materials would be enough for the home to be certified, but it wasn't guaranteed.

During the certification process, an independent verifier visited the home before and after renovation, and poured over the entire list of improvements being made to them home. Many emails were exchanged, questions asked, and documentation submitted during the verification process, which in the end lasted several months.

After analyzing all of the data, the verifier concluded that the Woodka renovation does, in fact, meet the criteria necessary to be Green Built Michigan certified.

The categories in the Green Built Michigan program include:

- Energy-efficiency

- Resource Efficiency

- Water Efficiency

- Indoor Air Quality

- Outdoor Conservation Measures

Woodka: Efficient Remodeling

The extensive improvements made to the Woodka home(including insulation, geothermal HVAC, new appliances & LED lighting, etc.) will dramatically lower the energy usage of the home. Even though the remodeled home has is larger in size, it is estimated that it will cost over $1200 LESS in energy costs each year.

HERS Rating

As part of the GBM certification process, a HERS (Home Energy Ratings System) test was performed on the home. A home energy rating involves an analysis of a home's construction plans and onsite inspections; based on the home's plans, the Home Energy Rater uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home's design. This analysis yields a projected, pre-construction HERS Index.

Upon completion of the plan review, the rater then conducts onsite inspections, typically including a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house) and a duct test (to test the leakiness of the ducts). Results of these tests, along with inputs derived from the plan review, are used to generate the HERS Index score for the home.

The Woodka home earned a HERS rating of 64. This means it is 36% more energy-efficient than a HERS Reference Home of the same square footage. This compares to the pre-renovation HERS score of 95 (only 5% more efficient than the reference home). Again, this demonstrates a tremendous jump in the energy-efficiency performance of this 30+ year old structure.

Now that the Woodka Home Renovation is certified, all project information will be moved into the “Completed Homes” category on the Green Built Michigan website.

The Woodka owners will be able to realize large savings in energy usage and cost for the lifetime of their beautiful renovated home, and it will be the place where family memories are made for just as long.


For more information on the Green Built Michigan program, click HERE.

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