Eye candy of the week

By Amanda Harrell-Seyburn

Property: 602 W. Ionia St., Lansing

Owner: Michigan Environmental Council

It’s highly unlikely that a late-Victorian era house is the first image that comes to mind when you think about sustainability. However, that may change.

The Michigan Environmental Council has a new home in downtown Lansing and, no, it isn’t a biosphere. It’s the Morgan B. Hungerford House, a Victorian era home designed by architect Darius Moon at the corner of Ionia and Pine streets. Its last tenant was Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

An existing building is so much more than the sum of its parts. It is also the embodied energy (energy required to extract, process, manufacture, transport and install building materials) and the building’s historic significance. MEC is leading by example by refurbishing the house using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system with the goal of achieving a LEED Gold certification (second highest level) for the building. Sustainable measures include fixtures that conserve water; flooring and wall materials made of recycled content; a comprehensive recycling program; efficient lighting throughout the building; rain barrels for irrigation; plus weather-stripping and extra insulation, to name a few.

Built in 1880 at the height of the industrial revolution — a period that ushered in an era of inexpensive nonrenewable energy that led to unsustainable building practices in the 20th century — the Morgan B. Hungerford House will be an example of 21st-century sustainability. Just over 100 years later, the circle is complete.

“Eye candy of the Week” is our look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each week with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.