As an educator and advocate for sustainable homes, Brett Little uses his house’s retrofit to demonstrate how millions of Americans could live in healthy, low-carbon homes with upgrades paid for through mortgage refinancing, construction financing and home equity lines. Little increased his monthly mortgage by $40 to pay for improvements like replacing his malfunctioning gas furnace with a ducted air source heat pump from Mitsubishi Electric. All-electric heating was essential as the retrofit’s green design eliminated the hazards and costs of gas lines and combustion.
Little’s West Michigan home is subject to brutal winters. Equipped with a variable-speed compressor and hyper-heating technology, the Mitsubishi Electric heat pump uses less energy than a gas furnace and maintains comfortable indoor temperatures during extreme weather without auxiliary heat. The heat pump’s environmental impact will only get smaller as Michigan’s electricity grid adds renewable energy and reduces dependence on coal.
The project team used high-performance home programs including Pearl Certification to set performance targets and guide the work. Little’s low-carbon home achieved Pearl Platinum and a 10 of 10 DOE Home Energy Score.
- Healthy, electrified, low-carbon home
- Single system for gas-free heating and energy-efficient air conditioning
- Variable-speed compressor to match heating and cooling loads
- Reliable cold-climate performance without auxiliary gas or heat strips
- Electrified home sustainability increases as grid gets cleaner
- Completed: 2021
- Climate: Cool/Humid Zone 5A
- Single-story, single-family
- 1,853 square feet
- 4 bedrooms
- Built in 2003
- Pearl High-Performing Home Platinum
- Department of Energy (DOE) Home Energy Score 10 of 10
- GreenStar Homes Gold certification pending
- General Contractor: Brett Little, LEED APH, LFA, GHP
- HVAC Contractor: Hendricks Heating and Cooling
- P-Series single-zone mini-split system
- (1) PUZ-HA Hyper-Heating INVERTER® (H2i®) Outdoor Unit
- (1) PVA Multi-position Air Handler
The GreenHome Institute (GHI) provides educational programs and advocacy to empower people to make healthy and sustainable choices during renovations and new construction. Visit the GHI YouTube channel to learn more about Little’s low-carbon retrofit.