Elizabeth Ballis, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lincoln Park, Chicago
Builders are installing hybrid heating systems, which merge air furnaces with solar and radiant technology to produce green energy. Architects are designing naturally venting architecture to keep homes cooler, and rooms with more windows to bring in even more natural lighting. Finally, since space heating is the No. 1 expense in a given home, families are asking for programmable thermostats, which allow low-temp settings for night usage and when the house is empty.
Fred Schneider, Rubloff North Shore, Evanston
Chicago and its surrounding areas are experiencing more than just a residential renaissance and a resurgence in construction — it’s also in the beginning of a green building boom. Architects, developers and builders are actively using a variety of green building practices and materials including: passive solar designs, green and light-reflective rooftops, energy efficient appliances, low-impact water devices and geothermal heating and cooling systems. When possible, they’re also purchasing building supplies locally, using recycled construction materials (such as concrete with high fly ash content) and building close to public transportation.
Monique Sandberg, Prudential Preferred Properties, Lake View, Chicago
Talk of the Green Movement is everywhere and it is causing a change in the way the general population behaves. Homebuyers have already changed their habits by driving automobiles that get better gas mileage, eating food that is better for them and embracing “recycle, reuse, reduce.” Those buying habits are changing the way a few caring builders are constructing homes. Buy local, think global is playing into the building techniques and buyers seeking healthier homes to live in. Additionally, builders are using low-VOC paint, low-E windows, extra insulation in walls and floors and are installing dual-flush toilets, green roofs, dual garbage chutes (one for waste and one for recyclables) and tankless hot water heaters.
Nelva Hembree-Walz, Rizzo Realty Group, Near North, Chicago
The use of bamboo material in place of hardwood flooring has become one of the hottest trends sprouting up in new construction. Bamboo is distinctly attractive and because it’s laminated and highly durable, which reduces the normal wear and tear damage that shows up on most hardwood floors. Above all, it is exceptionally environmentally friendly. Bamboo reaches full maturity in just a few years, and it rejuvenates on its own without any need for replanting.