Ann Arbor's Behind the Drywall Tour: Come Visit the "Sora" House

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Experience a rare hands-on opportunity to visit an in-progress "Deep Green" whole house gut-rehab remodeling project of a mid-century modern home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Meadowlark Builders and Architectural Resource have teamed up to once again offer, through their popular "Behind the Drywall" tour series, a rare hands-on opportunity to visit an in-progress "Deep Green" whole house gut-rehab remodeling project of a mid-century modern home in Ann Arbor.

What: This comprehensive green remodel has been registered with the USGBC LEED for Homes® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program with the certification goal of Platinum. This represents the highest level of green home performance rating attainable and stands to be potentially only the fourth such private remodel to achieve this goal in Michigan. Architectural Resource and Meadowlark Builders are proud to have also been responsible for her first, second and third similarly honored projects, all located in Ann Arbor.

The home has been christened the 'Sora' House, the Japanese word for 'Sky' reflecting the manner in which the home has been radically transformed to open to the exterior views, balanced with the serene, tranquil quality of the design. The tour will present a plethora of the latest cutting edge Green design and building strategies. Some of the highlights include a unique, first of its kind, advanced building thermal envelope system design which effectively addresses all three paths of energy loss; geothermal heating and cooling system, semi-passive renewable energy strategies; "future ready" building energy systems; rain water harvesting and ultra-low water use strategy; advanced interior air quality techniques; and "aging in place" design strategies that enhance the life-long use of our living environments through intelligent design. Attendees will be able to glimpse what makes up the core of a 'Deep Green' remodeling/addition project and take away new insights and inspirations that they can apply to their own homes and pending projects.

Where: 1045 Chestnut Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

When: March 25th 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm and March 26th 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. 8:00 am - 6:00 pm. The event is free, however pre-registration is required at

Why: Considering our dwindling energy and material resources and our planet's ecological distress, each of us as homeowners has a unique and important role to play to make a change for the better. According to the USDOE the residential sector accounts for 22% of the total energy consumed in the US and 74% of the water. 21% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are contributed by the residential sector. Indoor air pollutants can often be four to five times as high as outdoor levels of the same irritants. Green home design and building addresses these issues by creating homes that have a much higher performance level than conventional homes. There are currently more than 107 million existing residential units in the U.S., and the Brookings Institute has estimated that 75% of all buildings that will be in use by 2050 are already built. If we are to reach carbon neutral goals, these existing buildings, our homes, represent the greatest opportunity to meet those goals by reducing resource use while providing greater health and comfort to all inhabitants. Come and see how!

USGBC LEED: The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has established LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) as system to define and measure "Green Buildings." The LEED Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, market-driven building rating system based on existing proven technology that derives market strength and credibility through industry-wide development of the LEED products. The LEED for Homes Rating System provides a basis for quantifying the benefits of green homes, thereby facilitating a wider adoption of this more sustainable approach to home building. The LEED for Homes rating system uses eight different resource categories to measure the overall performance of a home. By awarding credits for different aspects of each of he eight categories the level of a home's performance can be separated into four performance tiers: Certified; Silver; Gold; and Platinum, with Platinum being the most difficult and highest level attainable.

The Builder: Meadowlark Builders is a full-service design/build firm specializing in "deep green" building techniques and custom finish work. In-house Meadowlark crews efficiently build some of the most comfortable, healthy and energy-conscious homes in the country. These homes offer a good return on investment as well as helping reduce energy consumption. In-house carpenters and woodworkers produce excellent finish results.

Principles Doug Selby and Kirk Brandon are involved in local, state and national
organizations that promote good building practices, green building, and renewable energy
production. Doug is the president of the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor (BRAG AA) and we are also members of Southeastern Michigan's NARI.

The Architect: Architectural Resource, headed by Michael Klement A.I.A., N.C.A.R.B., is a full-service, national award-winning, Ann Arbor based architectural design firm specializing exclusively in fine residential design of new homes, cottages, additions, remodels, and renovations. Since the firm's inception in 1991, creating healthy and energy efficient buildings has been a fundamental aspect of its core mission.

Michael is a member of the American Institute of Architects, The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, The American Institute of Building Design, is a Certified Professional Building Designer through the National Council of Building Designers, and holds Certified Green Professional and Certified Aging in Place Specialist designations through the NAHB.

Michael's association with green/sustainable building organizations includes EEBA, the Energy and Environmental Building Association (since 1997); the NAHB Residential Engineers and Architects Council on Housing; the MAHB Green Built Michigan program; the Green Built Michigan Technical Advisory Board; the Green Built Michigan Remodeling Standards Committee; charter member of the WCHBA Green Built Initiative; charter member of South East Michigan's NARI Green Remodeling Committee and current chair person; and the 2007 and 2008 Remodel Green Seminar and Conference Steering Committee. Architectural Resource was the architect of Michigan's first, second and third LEED Platinum level whole house remodels. They are also the architects of a super insulated, near net=zero, pending LEED Platinum level new home recently having completing construction and have several other LEED certification candidate projects currently in design.

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