ANN ARBOR — The next installment of the Visible Green Home-Behind the Drywall Tour showcases a collaborative of Southeast Michigan’s “brain trust” of all things green building-related.

This tour will highlight the collaborations, processes, techniques and materials involved with reviving an abandoned Ann Arbor home, dubbed “Rancho Deluxe”, in a resource-efficient manner. 

Guided tours will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9.  The event is free, but pre-registration is required by visiting or by calling (734) 619-8024.
This mid-century modern home on Ann Arbor’s northwest side was constructed using energy efficient techniques that were ahead of their time in 1950. Unfortunately, the home had been abandoned for more than 10 years, gutted of all its original finishes and fixtures, and had fallen into deep disrepair.

As an early example of a passive solar home, Paul and Marcy Hickman saw a vision of the house reincarnated as Ann Arbor’s second Net-Zero Site Energy home, as well as the new headquarters for their company, Urban Ashes. After a long search, they had discovered both a home and a site that had the potential to make as much energy as it used. In addition, keeping in line with Urban Ashes mission, this project also has a goal of reusing everything possible that is de-constructed from the home.

This ambitious project brings together the best of Southeastern Michigan’s green building experts who are utilizing the latest building sciences, technologies and materials, in concert with techniques from an earlier era of home building. This tour will highlight the internal workings of a home and site that will not only exceed the guidelines of LEED Platinum certification, but also will become a living example of the pinnacle of green building — a home and office that gives more than it takes.

This tour is being organized by a collaborative of local companies which include:  Meadowlark Energy, Architectural Resource, Urban Ashes, Thrive Net-Zero Collaborative, Renovo Power Systems, Wood Window Repair, Land Architects, Brian Schmidt Carpentry, Greenlife Building, Nicki Wilson Lighting, Big George’s, Bgreen Today, Neighborhood Roofing, 2nd Chance Wood Company, and Reclaim Detroit. For more information go to


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