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  • Writer's pictureChristina Colon

Here's What You Missed from GreenBuilt Home Tour 2019

The GreenBuilt Home Tour featured exceptional, award-winning, and nationally-recognized homes throughout Illinois, which highlight attractive, affordable, and sustainable building practices.

During the annual, two-day event, attendees learned ways the built environment contributes to a healthier community. The tour included Illinois’ finest builders, designers and homeowners who have created healthy, energy saving green homes.

Bold Farmhouse Meets Sustainable Design 

68 7th Ave., La Grange, IL 60525

CERTIFICATIONS: DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (Pending) ENERGY STAR for Homes (Pending) HERS Rating (Pending)

BUILDER: BrightLeaf Homes

ENERGY RATER/GREEN RATER: Insight Property Services, Inc.

BrightLeaf Homes are custom Home Builders based out of Hinsdale, IL. They have been winners of the Housing Innovation Award 4 years in a row, the Housing Innovation Award represents the top 1% of builders across the country who successfully demonstrate they can meet the Department of Energy’s most rigorous specifications for high-performance homes.

This BrightLeaf home is being built in historic La Grange with a bold farmhouse facade. You will see ‘Inside the Walls’ when you visit this home. The scientific approach taken to building this new construction home includes the most sustainable, healthy materials and technology, which creates a long-lasting, more comfortable and beautiful home that improves the quality of life and health of those who live in them.


Parker IV Eco-Smart Home 

26013 Stewart Ridge Dr., Plainfield, IL 60585

CERTIFICATIONS: DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (Achieved) ENERGY STAR for Homes (Achieved) HERS Rating (Achieved) EPA Indoor AirPlus (Achieved)

BUILDERS: DJK Custom Homes

ENERGY RATER/GREEN RATER: Insight Property Services, Inc.

DJK Custom Homes is Chicagoland’s premier ENERGY STAR custom home builder and remodeler, building new custom homes and remodeling in Naperville, Plainfield, Oswego, Hinsdale, Elmhurst, Lincolnshire, Lisle, Woodridge, Downers Grove, Yorkville, and surrounding communities. We have been building and remodeling quality custom homes since 1988 and have earned a well known reputation for our attention to even the finest of details.

This new Parker IV Eco-Smart Home by DJK Custom Homes delivers a one of kind design that blends the ever so popular Modern Farm House design with twist of industrial elements through the inclusion of steel and reclaimed wood. This luxurious new custom home proves that design does not have to be sacrificed in a new home to achieve an Ultra Sustainable, Healthy, and Efficient lifestyle. This home also includes the latest smart home technology from the industry’s leading brands. From windows and building materials, to smart home thermostats, faucets, and more, this home showcases the peace of mind a new Eco-Smart Home should deliver with high energy savings and promoting a healthier lifestyle at home with the best indoor air quality.


Dorchester Row

6456 S Dorchester Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637


HERS Rating (Pending)

LEED for Homes (Pending)

BUILDERS: Greenline Homes, LLC

GreenLines Homes believe that environmental change is driving a desire for homes that are more energy efficient, durable, easy to maintain, and sustainable. They use green building technology to meet these needs. Building net-zero-energy homes that produce more energy than they consume — through solar energy, high levels of insulation, air sealing, and carefully selected mechanicals and appliances — to deliver a better quality of life and at lower cost for their homeowners and communities.

Dorchester Row is he second of three homes built in a row on Dorchester Avenue in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. Learn about how all-electric, grid-tied, solar homes make sense in Chicago and are actually awesome! This home demonstrates how building green, affordable, urban infill, for-sale housing is a challenge, but well worth the effort.


Wildwood Passive Power Model

21215 Rosewood Dr., Marengo, IL 60152

BUILDERS: Evolutionary Home Builders

DEVELOPMENT: Wildwood of Marengo


SUPPLIER: The Evolutionary Home/Evolutionary Supply & Building Solutions

Evolutionary Home Builders believe every green building should enhance the health and happiness of its occupants and have a positive impact on the environment. They go beyond certifying that their homes meet green building standards and aspire to build living, breathing buildings that are ideal ecosystems for our client to live and work. Their priorities, in order of importance, are building science, air and health, energy efficiency, and sustainability. They believe each priority builds on the one before it and that implementing all of them results in super healthy, extremely low-energy homes that are built to last. To them, this is evolutionary sustainability.

The Burr Oak Passive Power Plant is designed to impact your health positively through seasonal, outdoor activities and a local farmers delivery year round. At this home, energy is shared among neighbors which powers a net zero way of living via an innovative microgrid infrastructure. This home also has access to onsite composting, an electric car charging station, and onsite bee hives. Burr Oak Passive Power Plant’s connection with nature creates a harmonious blend of native landscapes providing beautiful color palettes. Come check out this home to connect with both indoor and outdoor natural environments.


Resilient Cape Cod Rehab

61 Meadowview Road, Northfield, IL

DESIGNER/ARCHITECT: Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Recognized as Chicago’s premier award winning sustainable architectural practice, Kipnis Architecture + Planning (KAP)  was founded in 1993 and is based in Evanston, Illinois.  KAP has practiced the architectural design philosophy of 'High Design/Low Carbon™' long before it was in vogue. They are guided by the idea that architectural design excellence need not be sacrificed for principles of sustainability. Rather, they believe sustainable design expands the possibilities for innovative architectural forms, construction methods and the use of materials. A particular expertise is the architectural integration of passive solar and bioclimatic design. They are early signatories to the AIA's 2030 Commitment, rigorously working towards having their projects be 'net zero' for their energy use by 2030.

Flood resilient design raised above the flood plain level, without a basement. Using a ‘flow through’ foundation that allows water to travel under the highly insulated, raised first floor structure. The floor plan follows parts of the existing foundation and has new sections were needed. The existing basement was abandoned, with its slab broken up and filled with gravel. The new home has its elevation set 6″ above the 100 year flood level. Operable vents allow water to freely flow under the first floor of the house. Because of this, the first floor is radiantly heated so no ducts would be under the floor level. Even the A/C systems outdoor condensers are raised up to be above the flood level.

Eco Farmhouse

5435 Fairhaven Ct., Downers Grove, IL

CERTIFICATIONS: DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (Pending) ENERGY STAR for Homes (Pending) HERS Rating: 5 (Achieved)

BUILDER: Lifestyle Homes, Inc.

Lifestyle Homes, Inc. is a forward-thinking, quality-based design-build firm. Sustainability is central to their approach as they develop project ambitions at many scales. Offering services in the areas of New Home Construction, Kitchen & Bath, Additions, Aging Readiness Remodeling, and Energy Efficiency & Green Technology Integration, they are able to work with clients with a range of budgets, contexts and project goals.

The Eco Farmhouse was designed for the family’s lifestyle centered in sustainability. The most current building science methods are incorporated for Energy & Water efficiency and Clean air to provide healthy indoor air quality and Comfort. The simple exterior and roofing were designed to minimize long term maintenance. A South facing single plain roof line maximizes solar electricity production and a tight enveloped exterior simulates the Passive House result but is not prescriptive. Use of natural building materials and added design detail shines throughout this warm farmhouse. This beautiful home is well balanced for the building cost and ROI; Return of Investment. This home is where sustainability meets high performance and is built to last. We are anticipating Net-Zero energy efficiency in this home with 40 solar panels and Microinverters at 4/12 pitch, all south facing.


Swainson’s House

45W588 N. Serosun Farms Ln., Hampshire, IL

CERTIFICATIONS: GreenStar (Pending)

BUILDER: JD Associates

Serosun Farms is a unique rural and sustainable community located just 50 miles outside of Chicago near Hampshire, IL. When fully built it will be a community with 80-90 custom, high-performance homes scattered throughout a 410 acre farm along with smaller town homes and a seniors care village. Swainson’s House is the first new home to be built at Serosun Farms under the sustainable and healthy guidelines established for the community. This rural oasis creates an idyllic pastoral lifestyle for the residents combining farmland, open space and community in a way that connects them to the land and nature for a respite from the hectic world.

The home features classic rural styling to fit with the countryside it is a part of. The design for the home is based on a traditional four square farm house with a wraparound porch and many south, east and west facing windows, providing a panoramic view of the countryside. From this base, a bedroom wing and a semi-detached garage were added. The cupolas topping the main house and garage add an iconic finishing touch. The home is situated on the lot to take advantage of expansive views of woodlands, prairie and farmlands including the equestrian center and central wetlands at Serosun.


Lincoln Park Upcycled Residence

2120 N. Bissell Chicago, IL 60614

GREEN FEATURES: Compost collection Upcycled furniture Local and recycled materials High-efficiency heating and cooling LED Lighting Solar electric photovoltaic (PV)

GREEN HOME PROGRAMS: ComEd Home Energy Assessment ComEd Rebates and Discounts CNT Weather-Sealing Initiative

DESIGNER/ARCHITECT: 2 Point Perspective

As Architects, 2 Point Perspective believes that green building practices are the cornerstone of an environmentally sustainable world. They have always used their home, originally constructed in 1882, as a learning lab. Through 14 years of various renovation projects, they have tested different systems, materials, and technologies that they can then knowledgeably incorporate into their clients’ projects.

The eco-features utilized in the home spread across a variety of categories, with the most significant features revolving around energy efficiency. In 2008, a CNT-administered incentive program was utilized to weather seal the home. Blower door tests performed before and after the weather sealing revealed an increase of 37% in efficiency. In 2012, a 14-panel photovoltaic array was installed which now covers more than 100% of the home’s electricity usage, on average. (The average electric bill in the summer is only $5/month. The system had paid for itself as of 2018!) The heating and cooling systems consist of a SEER 15 air conditioning with a 98% efficient furnace, and nearly every light in the home is LED.


North Lawndale Deep Energy Retrofit

3141 W. 15th St., Chicago, IL

GREEN FEATURES: Native/ adaptive plantings Low flow plumbing fixtures Rain water collection Salvaged or recycled materials Construction waste management plan Low VOC products and finishes Building ventilation system No natural-draft combustion appliances   Pipe and heating supply/ return lines insulation Fully insulated building envelope EMT use to reduce the impact of EMF Drain Water Heat Recover Device On-demand hot water system Bathroom moisture management 

GREEN HOME PROGRAMS:  ComEd Rebates and Discounts


Exceptional deep energy retrofit of a 117-year-old Chicago masonry two flat demonstrates how old urban dwellings can be retrofitted to make our homes healthier and more economic to run, own, and live in.

The owners used a system-wide approach to turn this former energy hog into a net zero energy building, targeting LEED for Home Platinum.

To accomplish these goals, the owner commissioned an energy model at the inception of the design process to set a project baseline. Building science principles, particularly on the issue of moisture management, were key factors in the decision-making process. Envelope treatment, reduction in thermal bridging, glazing, ventilation and heating and cooling were approached as one system. Technologies the project relied on include: spray foam for air sealing, high efficiency hydronic heating system, ductless air-source heat pump, triple glazed IGU’s, enthalpy recovery ventilator, an efficient domestic hot water delivery system with a DWHR unit, and EMF management.

Affordability was a key goal to show that a deep energy retrofit doesn’t have to break the bank. Budget decisions were made on a long-term return on investment basis including reduction in energy usage, resilience, comfort and redundancies, rather than the cheapest available short term option.

The application of building science principles and diligent Q/A and Q/C throughout the rehab process are quantifiable. The most recent blower door test results confirmed an airtightness of 0.62 ACH50 (or 0.05 cfm50 per square foot of gross envelope area). Preliminary performance results show a reduction in heating (natural gas) by ≥66% and reduction in electrical consumption by ≥50%.


These are just a view homes of the GreenBuilt 2019 Home Tour, if you're interested in learning more contact the Illinois Green Alliance at 312-245-8300.

Interested in having your green product featured in the Green Pro Directory

Contact Nicole Spicer, Illinois Green Alliance Marketing and Development Director, for more information at 312-245-8300 ext.205 or

Insight Property Services, Inc. is a Green Pro Sponsor of GreenBuilt Home Tour 2019.

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