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Eco-Pioneering Minnesota Group Earns First USGBC Platinum for Green Remodeled Home

Wayzata Minnesota-based environmental organization Live Green, Live Smart announces The Sustainable House received Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), for the ambitious remodeling of a 1948 rambler, located in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The award is the Council's highest level certification for residential Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This is the first remodeled home to be certified Platinum by the USGBC, the most widely recognized green building standard-setting organization in the country.

The original house and landscape underwent major alterations focused on energy efficiency, water conservation, habitat protection, resource efficiency and healthy occupancy. Renewable energy systems utilizing solar, geothermal, wind and innovative electric co-generation were installed to make the house operate at close to zero-emissions. The landscape was restored to more nearly pre-development condition, materials from the existing home were recycled into the remodel or other applications, and new technologies were utilized to provide both sustainability and occupant comfort. The house will be monitored by its occupants in a demonstration of sustainable practices in homebuilding and remodeling, the focus of Live Green, Live Smart's educational mission.

The House is in a typical suburban teardown-prone neighborhood. Live Green, Live Smart executive director and founder, Peter Lytle explains that home building and operation use up to 40% of the world's resources annually. To test the feasibility of remodeling existing homes with both green technology and highly designed living spaces instead of following the trend to replace them with larger stick-built homes, Lytle assembled a team of innovative architects, contractors, and consultants - including the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the Neighborhood Energy Connection of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

"We know that green remodeling will make an essential contribution to our planet's survival by preserving existing resources and fostering more sustainable systems and practices in both remodeling and new construction of homes" says Lytle.

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