LINC Up earns LEED Silver certification on single-family home

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This single-family home was LINC Up’s first newly constructed home to achieve LEED Silver certification. Courtesy LINC UP

A nonprofit housing developer last month earned LEED Silver status for a single-family home it built on Grand Rapids’ southeast side.

LINC Up, a nonprofit working to create affordable housing in Grand Rapids, last month earned LEED Silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s version 4.1 rating system on a single-family residence built in Grand Rapids’ Seeds of Promise neighborhood on the city’s southeast side, according to GreenHome Institute, a consultant on the project.

A 3D tour of the 2,320-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom home is available online and was performed free of charge by Grand Rapids-based INvision-DS.

The address was not disclosed for privacy reasons because the house has been purchased and is currently occupied.

LINC Up partners with a variety of organizations to develop affordable housing that ensures longtime residents of Grand Rapids and surrounding cities can continue to live and work in their own neighborhoods.

This single-family home was LINC Up’s first newly constructed home to achieve LEED Silver certification and was achieved by working in cooperation with the Grand Rapids Affordable Housing Program and in consultation with the GreenHome Institute to fund the cost, testing and verification of green building certification.

Becoming LEED-certified is a comprehensive process that requires third-party testing and verification midway through construction. Achieving LEED status also requires final verification and testing, including an exhaustive evaluation to confirm that all green and energy-efficient features are in place, GreenHome Institute said.

Adam Vanderlaan, LINC Up’s construction manager, said the builders of the home were able to make adjustments as a result of the first testing and verification visit.

“In our midway ‘Green Rater’ test, we learned that we needed a higher level of ventilation. The house was slightly below standard,” he said. “We converted a bath fan to run all the time, and we hit the correct requirements. By the final verification process, we reached the proper standard for the safety of the occupants of the home and to achieve the Silver LEED certification.”

LEED also requires a home to receive a Home Energy Rating System score (HERS) to determine how energy efficient it is compared to other homes. The score includes air leak testing, water conservation reviews and a durability inspection. LEED now includes a point for a building if it qualifies for affordable housing, which was one of the components that allowed the LINC Up home to receive Silver certification.

“Homeownership helps build equity,” said Brett Little, program manager of GreenHome Institute. “Because LINC Up is selling these homes to people at varying income levels, the LEED certification could potentially add to the home’s equity, based on several studies around the country of green-certified homes and their value.”

GreenHome Institute is a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit funded by the Wege Foundation in 2014. It works to lower the barriers to green affordable housing in new and existing single- and multifamily homes across Grand Rapids. GHI provides education, training and certification for green building projects. The organization has partnered with Inner City Christian Federation, Seeds of Promise Housing Impact Team, Samaritas and New Development Corporation, among others.

Those working on affordable housing projects in Grand Rapids can contact Little at brett.little@greenhomeinstitute.org to learn more about accessing funds for their projects.

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