Green Comes to the Windy City

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Emphasizing that sustainable design need not be only an option for the wealthy, the Chicago Departments of Housing and the Environment have launched Green Homes for Chicago, in which five homes will be built on scattered sites and then sold to resident...

April 01, 2001

Emphasizing that sustainable design need not be only an option for the wealthy, the Chicago Departments of Housing and the Environment have launched Green Homes for Chicago, in which five homes will be built on scattered sites and then sold to residents who meet certain income restrictions. Designs for the homes are the result of a competition held last year in which architects were asked to submit their plans for energy efficient, affordable homes that utilized innovative techniques and materials.

Seventy firms submitted three designs each: one basic, one with some green upgrades and one “deluxe” green package. Among the winners, four have offices in Chicago: EHDD Architecture, Ross Architecture, Wheeler Kearns Architects and William Worn Architects. Sean Garrett Architecture is based in Denver, Colo.

Each home has a maximum construction budget of $175,000, excluding lot. Some green features of the proposed homes include orientation for passive solar heating, roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, air filtering systems, sod-covered flat roofs and recycled and non-toxic interior materials.

The homes are expected to be completed this fall and will be open to the public for environmental education programs before they are sold. The Chicago Department of Housing plans to incorporate some of the five homes’ green elements into guidelines for future affordable housing projects in the city.

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