LEED Platinum Home in Ann Arbor

We have recently completed certification of a LEED Platinum home in Ann Arbor.


This home features:

Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles to produce almost all electrical needs.  Solar shingles blend in with standard asphalt roofing shingles but perform like a solar panel to create solar energy.

A geothermal system linked to a high velocity HVAC system which helps control humidity and temperature through custom designed earth tubes.  Earth tubes draw outside air through underground tubes which cool or heat the air, depending on the season.  The air is then filtered and distributed through out the house to help reduce energy requirements for heating and cooling.

Phase change material (PCM) is installed in exterior walls and under roof deck.  PCM absorbs Btu’s from exterior forces like the sun which helps regulate inside temperature.  The PCM is designed to release the Btu’s back into the space once indoor temperatures drop below a designed threshold, in this case 65 degrees.  PCM can store unwanted heat from the sun during the day, and give it back to the house when needed at night.

Advanced framing techniques and extensive building envelope upgrades.  This house scored a HERS (Home energy rating score) of 20 which means it is 80% more efficient then a code built home.

Low flow fixtures

High efficiency(LED) lighting

Drought tolerant natural landscape

ERV(energy recovery ventilator) to balance all exhausted air from the home and bring in fresh filtered make up air which re-absorbes the exhausted air’s energy in the form of heat and moisture.

Click to find out more about this house

Click to find out more about LEED for Homes

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Greenlife featured in DTE Energy Smarts of Michigan publication

We were featured in this summers DTE Energy Smarts publication which was mailed out to millions of homes across the state.  The article discusses the Karmo residence which we helped reduce the overall energy consumption while improving indoor air quality through material choices and ventilation strategies.  Find out how we can help you too.

article DTE-Karmo



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LEED for Homes project completed

Construction has recently been completed on a potential LEED for Homes Platinum project located at 5051 Beach Road in Troy, Michigan.  This home was built by Thomas Sebold and Associates (TSA) and designed by Young and Young Architects.  It is a stunning home with incredible daylighting and views of nature.  The home also gives a nod to the former owner, renown architectural photographer, Balthazar Korab.


The home incorporates many sustainable features including:

  • Advanced framing and SIP(structural Insulated Panel) roof.
  • Geothermal Heating and Cooling with radiant floors
  • 5.3 kWh Photovoltaic system
  • Low water use plumbing fixtures
  • Air tight construction less then 2 ACH (air changes per hour)
  • Ample day lighting
  • LED lighting with occupancy controls
  • Recycled copper roof
  • Locally sourced wood for flooring and cabinets
  • Sustainable countertops –Paperstone

Visit our LEED for homes link to find out more about the LEED for Homes process

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The Bird and The Bread is now Open

We have recently completed the construction on the new 11,000 sq ft restaurant in downtown Birmingham, Michigan.

Features include two beautiful butcher block bar tops, a wine wall with over 1400 bottles, 24 unique beers and ciders on draft, and mussels cooked at the bar rail on induction stove tops.  Other eye candy includes a very unique copper pizza oven and an amazing rotisserie oven.



Check out the Detroit Free Press article!

Visit The Bird and The Bread on their website.

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The Bird and the Bread Restaurant

IMG_1828We have started construction on a new restaurant located in historic downtown Birmingham.  At 210 S Old woodward, The Bird and the Bread will feature state of the art induction stoves at the entrance which will welcome you with steamed mussels and shrimp.  The entire building utilizes occupancy sensors to control the lighting system and only using the wattage when needed.  Reclaimed materials and fixtures are abundant in the new design.  The Bird and the Bread will be opening their doors in February 2014 and will have a casual feel with European influences.


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Net Zero Energy Collaborative will appear at Rancho Deluxe

Net Zero Energy Collaborative will be appearing at the Rancho Deluxe “Behind the Drywall Tour” hosted by Meadowlark Energy and Urban Ashes in Ann Arbor, MI December 8-10th, 2012.

Net Zero Energy Collaborative is acting as the LEED administrator and Net Zero Energy consultants.  Sign up for the tour and come see how we converted a 1950’s atomic ranch to a Net Zero Energy dream home.

Address: 2115 Newport Rd, Ann Arbor, MI

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Energy Star Partner

Greenlife Building is an official Energy Star partner.  We are committed to the Energy Star program on all new construction projects.

Find out more about Energy Star for your next project.


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Open House: Oldest LEED for Homes project ever attempted

Come visit the oldest LEED for Homes project during construction.

514 Lawerence, Ann Arbor MI

Thursday May 10th, 2012 / 3:00pm to 7:00pm

A tour will begin every hour stating at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm and 6pm.

This home dates back to the mid-1800’s, making it the oldest LEED for Homes project ever attempted.  Adaptive Building Solutions owner, Mike Mahon, has much experience with sustainable building in the Ann Arbor area.  The home features a unique blend of historic significant features and modern technology.  Most of the original wood windows have been restored, original wood flooring has been saved and reused.  The original rough sawn lumber over 150 years old has been saved and is exposed for viewing.  Advanced thermal envelope strategies have been used include encapsulated attic and a combination of spray foam and cellulose in the exterior walls.  The home features a geothermal heating and cooling system along with an energy recovery ventilator to control and balance incoming fresh air. Many additional features you need to see in person!

Don’t miss this opportunity to see how a 150 year old historic house can out perform most modern builds.

There is a 5$ admission fee which goes 100% to the USGBC – Detroit Regional Chapter to help promote green building.

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10kW Photo Voltaic system installed

Below is 10kW photovoltaic system recently installed in Ypsilanti. This will save the customer about $250.00 per month on their electricity bill!

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The most important “Green Feature”, Not just a lot of hot air!

Many home owners ask me what the most important green feature would be to implement if funds were limited.  Is it solar thermal, photovoltaics, a green roof…  My answer is not the most exciting, and it is tough to show off to friends and family, but it is extremely important to any efficient building: controlling air infiltration.

Heat loss and heat gain are the leading contributors to increased utility bills and decreased building efficiencies.  When an HVAC system has to work harder to make up for these losses, then even the most efficient system will not operate as cost effectively as it should. The first step in any green building should be to stop the losses.

First, to stop the bleeding, we need to know where the wounds are.  I suggest anyone wanting to improve the efficiency of their home, to start with a simple energy analysis.  This can be done by hiring an energy inspector which performs a blower door test along with thermal imaging.  These tests are very affordable and have a very good return on investment.  A blower door test pressurizes the building so that if there are leaks, it will be forced to do so.  The thermal imaging helps define where these leaks are occurring.

Once the problem areas are isolated, it is important to come up with a strategy with your builder on how to address each issue. Solutions can be as simple as caulking around exterior windows, or insulating and installing seals on your attic access panels, or fixing a damaged fireplace flue. Sometimes more intrusive solutions may including adding insulation to an attic space or filling gaps within the wall assemblies.  A knowledgeable contractor can help you make your house air tight with the right planning.  It is important to re-test the home after the corrections are made to assure the problems have been fixed.  Ask your inspector about re-inspection charges, they usually have a reduced rate for the follow up inspection.

Another thing to consider when making a home airtight is indoor air quality.  If your house tests with a low ACH (air changes per hour), then an HRV (heat recovery ventilator) or ERV(Energy recovery ventilator) may be required to maintain proper fresh air ventilation. A balanced fresh air ventilation system will improve indoor air quality and comfort.  HRV’s and ERV’s increases or decreases incoming air temperature, depending on the time of year, to reduce HVAC load.  ERV’s also help maintain proper humidity of the home and is recommended in heavy heating areas.

Once the house is air tight, now it is time to focus on other green features like solar thermal or photovoltaics.  Otherwise, as may grandpa would say, “it’s like perfume on a pig”.

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