Senior Editor

Susan Bady has been writing about the housing industry for 30 years. She is senior editor of Professional Builder and Custom Builder magazines, and produces the Design Innovation e-newsletter.  Bady has also written for such consumer magazines as Cabin Life and Better Homes and Gardens’ Home Plan Ideas. You can reach her at

Attainable sustainability in the ‘hood

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Green building has touched nearly every new-home price point in urban areas as well as the suburbs. A recent Chicago Sun-Times article touted Avondale as “the hot new West Side neighborhood.” In Avondale, an architecturally diverse neighborhood of vintage homes, walkups and new residential construction, the single-family houses are the best value, according to the Sun-Times.

The most desirable detached homes in this neighborhood are boxy, ultra-modern structures that are smart as well as smart-looking. The example given in the article is a 2,400-square-foot home, Energy Star-rated with a tankless water heater and no-VOC paints.

The floors are sealed with LOBA, a water-based polyurethane finish designed for high-traffic wood floors. LOBA, which I had not heard of before, is durable and VOC-compliant. This particular home also has “LEED finishes” — an interesting way to collectively refer to formaldehyde-free glues, recycled materials and other items that promote good indoor air quality. 

With its European cabinetry and floating staircase, the Avondale home isn’t affordable (it comes with a $424,000 price tag), but it is attainable compared to the million-dollar mansions being built in Chicago’s tony neighborhoods.

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July 2017

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