Home built by GRCC students earns LEED certification



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213


June 3, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College has learned that a student-built house for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has earned Gold LEED certification.

Students in GRCC's Green Construction Remodeling job training program worked on the house at 1561 Rathbone St. SW.

“The project was a total gut rehab -- meaning we stripped the walls and ceiling to the studs," said professor Keith Ferguson. "The class rebuilt the structure to LEED standards, made it super energy-efficient, and provided the family with a home that uses less natural resources and is healthier to live in than most homes."

The U.S. Green Building Council approved the project for Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

Connie O'Toole, of Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, said the certification shows that the impact of the group's renovation projects spreads beyond the families living in them.

“This is a remarkable endorsement for the quality of rehabs we are leaving in these neighborhoods,” she said.

Ferguson said the house's features include:

  • a highly efficient furnace and hot water tank.
  • an energy-recovering ventilation system.
  • plumbing fixtures designed to reduce water use.
  • an insulated basement.

"Overall, it was a great example of how existing structures can be remodeled to be more environmentally friendly and help to sustain our planet,” said Ferguson.

Students in GRCC's Green Construction Remodeling program get hands-on experience in the entire process of residential remodeling, including blueprint reading; site layout;, concrete, carpentry, door and window installation; and roofing, siding, wiring, plumbing and interior finishing.

GRCC has worked with Habitat to provide sustainable housing to low-income families for more than 10 years.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.