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September 17, 2009 - Image 87

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-09-17

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Going Green

JARC takes a home to the next level

Steve Raphael
Special to the Jewish News

uilding JARC's first fully
"green" home in Farmington
Hills was truly a community
affair, as friends and vendors
gladly chipped in with products and ser-
"Good people get a warm feeling about
JARC and everyone was proud to be
involved," says Laurie Frankel, co-owner
of West Bloomfield-based The Frankel
Organization, which designed and rebuilt
the 3,200-square-foot ranch home on
Minglewood. "The economy is not great
now and this was a commendable thing
to do."
Farmington Hills-based JARC is a non-
sectarian agency that helps persons with
disabilities and their families.
"Typical JARC," says Gerald Provencal,
executive director of the Macomb-
Oakland Regional Center in Clinton
Township. If you want to build a green


home "you can't do it in pieces. You have
to do it right from the get-go. Rather than
talking about it and making a few chang-
es, JARC went all the way." MORC is a
nonprofit company, providing a variety of
services to the special-needs population.
The Nusbaum family — Irving and
Barbara, their son Robert and his wife,
Lori, and their other son Arthur — pro-
vided the lion's share of the money and
JARC thanked them by naming it the
Nusbaum Family Home. The United Way
for Southeastern Michigan provided a
$120,000 grant.
"This is the first JARC home built from
the ground up since the 1980s," when
two barrier free homes were built, says
JARC President Rob Nusbaum. "Others
were purchased and donated, often from
different families."
Vendors provided landscape design,
interior design, heating and plumbing,
appliances, plumbing fixtures, blinds and
wallpaper, and brick and mortar. "Some
donated or barely covered their costs,"
Frankel says.

The house has four bedrooms, a spa-
cious, open floor plan and makes good
use of natural light in the living room.
There is handicap accessibility throughout
the home, notably under the sink where
space has been carved out to accommo-
date wheelchair-confined individuals.
Much of the home's functionality
resulted from JARC's experience with the
developmentally disabled, says JARC
CEO Rick Loewenstein. The agency has
40 years' experience this population "but
also takes the time and effort to combine
that experience with an understanding
of future needs of the people we serve,"
he says. "We've also taken the time to
consider the environmental impact of
our decisions," adding that future JARC
homes will incorporate green design.
Former JARC CEO Joyce Keller was
the force behind the green home, the last
one she was involved in before retiring in
September after 30 years. When Keller
started in 1978, JARC owned one home,
serving seven people with three employ-
ees and a $40,000 budget.

JARC today operates 20 homes, serv-
ing 96 people and serves another 60 in
a variety of living arrangements in the
community on a $10 million budget. In all
cases, it provides the level of staff sup-
port best suited to each individual, up
to 24-hour assistance. It also provides
respite care to families with children with
disabilities living at home, and social,
therapeutic and recreational programs to
JARC residents. The agency employs 25 0
JARC has owned the two-story
Minglewood home since 2001. Unlike
other JARC homes, it was small at 1,200
square feet. Three mobile residents living
at Minglewood were relocated when the
house was razed and rebuilt as a 3,200-
square-foot, handicap-accessible ranch.
It will house six people, some in wheel-
By turning the Minglewood home green,
JARC says it has the opportunity to make
decisions that affect the overall carbon
footprint by using green products when
possible. "We are part of a greater world,"
Keller says. The home "allows us to have
a positive impact on the world around us.
As long as we had the chance to (rebuild)
a new home that met folks' needs, we
decided to make it green."
Most contractors and builders say the
best green homes are stripped, rather
than razed. This allows the builder/owne r
to reuse, repurpose or recycle existing
materials rather than buying new prod-
ucts and throwing out perfectly good but
older products and materials.
New homes provide their own advan-
tages, primarily allowing for the incorpo-
ration of green technology, which JARC
did. "The biggest thing we did, which we
hemmed and hawed about, was putting
in a geothermal-assisted heating-and-
cooling and hot-water system," Keller
says. One JARC home already boasts
such a system.
Other green amenities include:
• R-49 insulation from the basement
to the roof
• Energy efficient windows and
exterior doors
• Low-flow toilets, faucets and
• Timers for outside lighting
• Energy Star-rated light fixtures,
bath fans and appliances.
• Water-conserving landscaping
• Bamboo flooring and window
• Recycled deck material
The home's design provides a southern
exposure to lend itself to future solar pan-

GOING GREEN on page 88


September 17 - 2009


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