Going Green--Understanding the Science of Green Construction

Inaugural Chicagoland GreenBuilt Home Tour this weekend

July 17, 2013

By Mary Schaefer, MORe Now Contributor
The green movement is here to stay and more homebuyers are checking out ‘green’ features before making their home purchase or incorporating them into new home design. If you are wondering what the hot new trends are in green home construction, you can find out this weekend at the first ever GreenBuilt HomeTour, sponsored by the Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.
The July 20th - 21st event will feature 16 exceptional, award-winning and nationally-recognized Chicago area homes which highlight sustainable building practices that are attractive, practical and affordable. The tour will feature numerous homes that need very little energy to keep them comfortable year-round and homes that produce more energy than they use.
During this two-day, scattered site tour, attendees will learn how Chicagoland area residents are living in energy-efficient homes while learning the ways the greenbuilt environment can contribute to a healthier community. Tour sites span the Chicagoland area and homes will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, June 21.
A weekend "passport" is just $25,  but MORe members can obtain a discount of $5 by visiting www.greenbuilthometour.org and entering the word "green" in the promo code to receive registration at $20. Tickets admit two adults (children under the age of 18 are free) to all homes, both days of the tour.
"This tour provides a rare opportunity to view a sampling of area homes that provide healthy, energy-efficient and marketable residences," said Jason La Fleur, Chair of the USGBC-Illinois Residential Green Building Committee and Regional Director for the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability. "Best of all, they deliver air quality and comfort for families, while having lower utility bills, leaving more cash in the homeowners pocket each month."
Featured homes include third-party certified projects such as the areas first certified Passive House, DOE Challenge Homes, LEED certified homes, and National GreenBuilding Standard certified homes.
There are 16 homes on the tour, including homes in Wheaton, Elmhurst, Libertyville, Naperville (including North Central College Residence Hall), LaGrange, Brookfield and homes in Chicago and other northern suburbs.
ORe REALTOR® Laura Stukel, broker with L.W. Reedy Real Estate in Elmhurst, obtained her Eco-Broker designation in 2008 and NAR Green designation in 2010. "This is the first time we have had something like this in the Chicagoland area," says Stukel, who is involved with the NAR Green ReSource Council. "People will be surprised when they tour the houses. You can't tell from looking at them from the street that they are designed environmentally. They aren't space-age houses - they are blending into the neighborhoods where they are located."
"People will be surprised at how thoughtfully these houses are designed," said Stukel. "Things we take for granted like drafts and moisture in the basement, you don't find that in these homes as they are planned so well for problems people think they have to deal with."
Each home is featured online including photos and descriptions of the Green features in each home.

Here are some of the unique features in some the homes featured on the tour:

1109 Emerald Lane in Naperville is classic Bungalow design. Utilizing building-science instead of just green products proved to be the secret to achieving success. The project’s mission was to focus on energy, health, water quality, comfort and durability. The 2,600 square foot residence has four bedrooms, Susanka-inspired design, energy bills less than $75/month, incredible air & water quality, a low maintenance envelope and unmatched interior comfort. Designed by JB Architecture, this is Naperville's only LEED Certified home.

808 E. Indiana in Wheaton - JAW Builders' model home was the first home
in Illinois to achieve Emerald status by the National Association of Home Builders--the highest achievement possible in residential green construction. It features a wealth of energy-efficient components and green products to yield impressive savings on utility bills along with better indoor air quality. Underground geothermal heating and cooling system, rigid foam insulation, solar reflective roofing and low-VOC paints are just a few of the features.


153 School Street in Libertyville - This home designed by Susan Susanka harnesses all the natural light and heat it can, has improved insulation, low-energy LED lighting and high efficiency heating and cooling, resulting in the greenest house in the neighborhood. It leverages cool basement air for improved cooling, power reducing lighting management and shade blind control to manage solar radiation and more.
61 North Edgewood Avenue in LaGrange reduces air infiltration, increasing the amount of insulation and installing triple pane windows. The home has passive solar features so that sunny winter day heating needs could be reduced. A portion of the sustainability goals focused on indoor air quality using low/no-VOC products, a passive radon system, and an ERV. This home was constructed by Molidor Custom Builders entirely chemical-free.
165 N. Taylor in Oak Park is a 94-year old, all-electric LEED-registered home in Oak Park's Ridgeland Historic District. The project won a 2012 Green Award from the Village of Oak Park. It utilizes a renewal geothermal energy system for HVAC and domestic hot water. It includes one of the first residential greywater systems in Illinois, anticipating savings of  20-30% on indoor water use by recycling water from tubs/showers into toilets.  Indoor air quality is maximized with 0-VOC sealants, varnishes and paints and an HRV (heat recovery ventilator) system optimizes heat distribution and refreshes indoor air. The home's landscaping includes 92% permeable surfaces, a large rainwater harvesting system and rainbarrels, a raingarden and bioswale; 94% drought-resistant native and edible plantings and wildlife-friendly plantings to attract and help restore habitat.
135 Oak Street in Elmhurst is a single-family new construction home and has obtained the NAHB National Green Building Standard designed by SWA Architects. The GeoThermal heating and cooling system uses the constant temperature of the earth to efficiently heat and cool the home by eliminating the need to heat or cool the extreme outdoor air temperatures to make the home comfortable. Timer controlled exhaust fans mitigate moisture problems in bathrooms while also assisting in fresh air exchanges for the home.
To see a complete list of all the 16 homes and descriptions on each go to: http://greenbuilthometour.org.
The U.S. Green Building Council--the Illinois Chapter's 1,300 members represent the spectrum of Illinois' green building community, from real estate professionals, architects, engineers, designers and trade associations to contractors, product manufacturers, state and local government officials, homebuilders and homeowners.


Want to earn the NAR Green designation? To learn more go to: NAR's online site: Earn The NAR Green Designation: Gain Green Real Estate Expertise


 Going Green - Understanding the Science of Green Construction

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