Project Team

Other Team Members

Builder: THRIVE Collaborative, Matt Grocoff
Native Landscape: Drew Laithin
Edible Landscape: Nature Nuture
Electrical: Dan's Electric - Dan Delzoppo
Lighting Design: THRIVE Collaborative
Interior Design: THRIVE Collaborative
Net Zero Water: UM BLUElab
Solar Energy Consulting: SUR Energy / THRIVE Collaborative

Key Sub Contractors:
Window Restoration: Wood Window Repair, Lorri Sipes
Rain Harvest Gutters: Green Oak Gutters
Kitchen Cabinetry: Branch Hill Joinery
Local Sawyer: Tervol Wood Products
Wall Insulation: Farmers Insulation
Attic Insulation: Arbor Insulation
Water Filtration: Reynolds Water
Rainwater Harvesting Consulting: Stark Rainwater Harvesting / Dave Stark
Metal Roofing: Quality Edge / Matterhorn Metal Roofing
Permeable Drive: Purus Ecoraster

When Matt and Kelly Grocoff first bought the Victorian-era Gauss house, it was their dream house . . . complete with lead paint, asbestos siding, zero insulation (except for a layer of newspaper in the attic dated 1902), a 1957 gas furnace, a fridge from 1989, and carpet over the old heart pine floors.

Matt was inspired by the vision of Ray Anderson, the self-proclaimed “radical industrialist” and Chairman and Founder of Interface, Inc. the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial carpets. In 1994, after reading Paul Hawken’s “The Ecology of Commerce” Ray experienced an epiphany and challenged his company to begin a journey toward a positive environmental footprint. Matt founded the THRIVE Collaborative and set out on a Mission Zero of his own to create elegant, nature-rich homes that harvest 100% of their own energy, 100% of their own water, create zero waste and are restorative to the communities in which they inhabit. 

In 2015, the home became the first building in Michigan and the first in a cold climate to achieve Net Zero Energy Certification under the strict standards of the Living Building Challenge.  


Quick Facts


Location Ann Arbor, Michigan
Building Type Single-family residence
Project Type Net Exporter
Basis of Performance Claim Verified, Zero Energy Program
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 2.0
Conditioned Floor Area 1,500 sq ft
Total Cost of Project $106,800

Energy Summary

Energy Data Type Verified, Zero Energy Program
Renewable Energy System Type(s) Photovoltaics, Geothermal

Net Zero Energy Certification (Living Building Challenge):
GreenStar, GS Gold, Michigan, Net Zero, Remodel, Single-Family Projects, Zero Hero Award

Energy Star Score 5
Annual renewable energy generated 8,943 kWh/year

Envelope and Mechanicals

Foundation wall assembly

The basement foundation walls are original to the home and made of cut stone block and is are partially below grade. The rim joist cavity was filled with spray foam. However,though the stone foundation walls were left uninsulated.

Door Assembly

Original historic doors. Library Type 1-3/8 Wd solid core. Added weatherstripping. (Are you seeing a theme here? Optimization is more important than efficiency. It's not about perfection, it's about performance.)

Air Changes per hour, ACH50 4.75 ACH50