When the topic of ‘green building’ comes up many still think of images such as earthships, built from recycled materials including used tires. Although efficient and intelligently designed, they didn’t necessarily appeal to the maintstream home owner or developers. Today green buildings appear much like any other home or building. They are designed to save money, use energy and water efficiently, reduce waste and create over all healthier environments for living and working. Faced with increasing energy costs and the impact we place upon the environment the climate is ripe for the green building industry.
Perhaps surprisingly, Michigan is among the green building leaders in the nation – trailing only Oregon and California. As of April, 2007, 212 buildings in Michigan were registered or certified under LEED, placing Michigan in the top 10 states with registered green buildings. Within the state the west side is outpacing the east, with Grand Rapids out in front having the most LEED certified buildings.
Standing out is the newly built Grand Rapids Art Museum which recently received the distinction of being the world’s first Gold LEED certified art museum. More stories from The Chicago Tribune, New York Time, Architect and ARTnews can be found here. In Lansing, General Motors has built the only auto assembly plant in the world to receive LEED certification.
OK, time to grab the popcorn…
A video over at YouTube from Medialink titled “Buildings Are More Responsible For CO2 Emissions Than Cars” was produced for General Motors and is an interesting watch.
Even more below the fold…
Other notable Michigan green buildings, projects and programs:
The S.T. Dana Building is a 100-year-old academic building that houses the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) at the University of Michigan. In the 1990s, SNRE began planning for a major renovation to the structure. This project had two primary goals: to create a comfortable place to learn and work and to demonstrate state-of-the-art green design. The renovation resulted in a building where environmental principles are not only taught but also upheld and demonstrated to the community.
Green roofs involve growing plants on rooftops, thus replacing the vegetated footprint that was destroyed when the building was constructed. Germany is widely considered the leader in green roof research, technology and usage.
The green roof research program at MSU was initiated in collaboration with Ford Motor Company during 2000 in an effort to advise them on the installation of a 10.4 acre extensive green roof on a new assembly plant in Dearborn, Mich.
Our state-of-the-art facilities, which were completed in 2006, serve as a model of sustainable design and an educational resource for us and our community. The headquarters integrates a 19th century farmhouse and barn – part of our offices for many years – with a new contemporary two-level 19,500-square-foot glass and steel building. The construction process and day-to-day maintenance provides valuable new knowledge, lessons that inform our grantmaking.
This residential guide to designing and building a green home was developed as part of the Sustainable Futures II course offered at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. With so much information available about green buildings, it can be a daunting task to sort through the material to obtain specific aspects of green buildings that a home builder might be interested in. The purpose of this guide is to act as a resource for home builders in the Copper Country area to provide a base for green building practices. Due to time constraints of the course, this guide does not include all aspects of green buildings. Instead, the most relative aspects of green building to the Copper Country were chosen and included in this guide.
Michigan’s first platinum-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) award has been given to â€œBurnside’s Inn,â€ a home designed by Riverbend Timber Framing, Blissfield, and built by Robert Burnside’s Fireside Home Construction, Dexter.
Is green building costly?
Most people think that building green will break the bank when in reality green building is an affordable alternative.
The Natural Resources Defense Council tell us:
Green building skeptics sometimes argue that it’s difficult or even impossible to build green without paying a big cost premium. But real-world examples show that you can complete a LEED-certified green building project for an average of 2 percent more in upfront costs, and sometimes even below standard market construction costs.
Industry experts say homeowners who toss about $3,000 extra into building green can expect to make up for that in a few years with lower utility bills.
Attend Great Lakes Green 2008
Coming up in on August 21-23 is the Residential Green Building Conference at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, DeVos Place – Grand Rapids, MI. Their website tells us:
The world of homebuilding is going green! More and more homeowners are realizing the impact that environmentally friendly building can have on their world. Learn what green building is, what standards constitute green building and how you can put it to use for your home building business. Green building makes sense – from an environmental and a fiscal perspective.
If you are or know of a student interested in green building you may want to check out the “Student Home Design Competition”. There is an entry fee for each educational bracket but the payoff for winners is nice.
Competition – Green home building is exploding across the U.S. and the Great Lakes region. Are you interested in the fastest growing sector of the construction industry? Do you care about the environment and want to help create sustainable homes? If you are or are interested in pursuing a career in the building sciences, architecture or any construction-related field, here is your opportunity to learn, have fun, and earn some cold hard cash for school. Gather your classmates, form a team, and develop drawings that show off your vision for the future of green home construction.
Michigan Green is a group of energy companies and energy consultants, together with government agencies and schools, colleges, and universities, has joined forces to champion the cause of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Michigan and throughout the Nation.
The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was founded in 2000 as a vehicle to bring the residential construction industry into the 21st-century. The goal of the founders was to provide training to builders and homebuyers for environmentally friendly, healthy and energy efficient building practices and products.
Green Built Michigan, an independent 501 (C)(3), was created in 2006 as a statewide green building certification, professional development and education organization. Initially housed in Grand Rapids, Green Built moved its headquarters to Lansing in 2007.
The Green Revolution from the Northern Express
Blueprints go green- Environmentally friendly buildings gaining popularity, certification – via Metro Times
‘Green’ elements huge at builders show – via Ann Arbor Business Review’s Michigan Environmental Issues, Great Lakes’ Environmental & Conservation News