The Woodka Remodel: Week Twenty-Two

As Week 22 of the Woodka home makeover begins, things are truly starting to wind down. All major projects are finishing this week. Soon, the work crew will begin packing up their things and moving on to the next job site. They've called the Woodka house home for almost half a year now, and they're going to miss the place. With its beautiful lake views and large trees, it's been a pretty nice place to work. The construction team has also spent a lot of time with the homeowners over the past several months, and will miss their company. But all projects come to an end, but the owners are anxious to get the house cleaned up, unpack their belongings, and resume a more normal life.

Projects Completed!

Most of the work being done in and around the home over the last few weeks is finally finishing up. This includes the beautiful new James Hardie fiber cementboard siding which will protect the home for decades to come, and the new decking in front and back of the house. The Mataverde Ipe wood decking creates a durable and inviting place for the family to enjoy the warm Michigan months.

Inside, work is completed on the custom-built railings for the stairways running both upstairs and down from the main level.

Now that the vast majority of the renovation work is completed, the owners are beginning to go about the business of putting things back in order. While they were able to use the home for their holiday celebrations, there remains much work to be done to get things back to normal.

As the construction crew heads out, it's time for the interior designers to do their work. They will be working with the owners to put the finishing touches on the new living spaces to create a home that is as beautiful and unique as it is sustainable and efficient.

Landscape Work

The renovation work has taken a real toll on the yard over the past few months. The entire back yard was dug up to install the geothermal piping, and the trucks, tractors, and other equipment have made a mess of things. Steps to fix the yard are beginning this week, and will continue in earnest in the spring.

The initial grading of the side and back yard is being done this week, and new sod and landscape matting is laid down in order to control and prevent erosion until spring. Once the warmer weather returns, more detailed landscape work will be done to bring the yard back to life.

Green Certification

As we've mentioned over and over, one of the main goals of this major renovation was to make the 'new' home as energy-efficient as possible. The owners are concerned about the environmental impacts of owning a large home and wished to minimize these impacts with effiicient design, materials, and products.

Green Home Certification is a growing trend among new and renovated structures. The Woodka owners were interested from the very beginning to achieve a certification for their home, as a way of ensuring and proving that the steps they've taken (and invested heavily in) will pay off in much lower energy usage.

Since the Woodka home is in Michigan, the owners decided to shoot for a Green Built Michigan certification. The areas that Green Built Michigan focuses on are: site management, waste recycling, water efficiency, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, sustainable materials, and homeowner education.

These are precisely the areas that the owners focused on in the design of their renovated home. Now that the work is wrapping up, the certification process will soon kick into high gear.

In order to prove that the renovated home is a much more efficient structure than the original builing, a baseline had to be established. Before any construction began, the Green Built Michigan certifier came to the house and performed a blower door test. This test indicates how leaky a home is. The more air leaks into and out of a home, the more energy it will need to heat and cool.

The certifier will soon be returning to perform another identical blower door test at the newly renovated home. If everything goes as planned, the difference in the before and after blower tests should be dramatic.

The certifier will also be analyzing other information about the pre-renovation home and comparing it with the renovated building. Things such as insulation, window types, appliances, and heating and cooling systems will all be compared. Once all of this analysis and blower door test information is done, a decision will be made as to whether the renovated Woodka house meets the Green Built Michigan criteria. It's not easy; not everynew or renovated home passes muster. This level of difficulty is important to ensure that green homes built here in Michigan are as energy-efficient and sustainably-built as possible.

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