The Grand Valley State University School of Engineering is committed to teaching
engineering design with a sense of environmental elegance and social responsibility.
The lead faculty member for this project was also the faculty lead for a curriculum
development project in the 1990's titled "Design for Recycling - Solving Tomorrow's
Problems Today". That project was funded in part by the Padnos Family Foundation.
The Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing - of which the
School of Engineering is a part - has received both a legacy and challenge from
the Padnos family to teach environmentally responsible design with a sense of social
responsibility. This project fit that challenge very well, however designing and
building houses is not something that engineering schools typically do. We had
volunteers (over 70 students plus GVSU staff participated in this project);
however, we needed a partner with residential construction expertise.
Heartland Builders with Rich Kogelschatz (owner) was recommended to the faculty
lead through contact with the local Home Builders Association. Rich Kogelschatz
was recommended as a builder with a heart for teaching the next generation of
builder/designers and also as a builder with a strong interest in fully accessible
building as well as green building. Rich reviewed the plans, made suggestions,
and volunteered to help in any way that he could. This included the introduction
to Mike Holcomb who was active as a home energy rater as well as a LEED-H provider.
Rich's willingness to teach, to be the general contractor, to lend tools, and to
provide encouragement and support was absolutely essential to this project.