Green homes are becoming the next trend for Chicago home buyers. From low-flow toilets and bamboo floors to geo-thermal heating systems and rainwater collections cisterns, the Chicago housing market is shifting to adopt eco-friendly elements of design and construction. In addition to the green upgrades individual homeowners are making to their houses (including historic Chicago bungalows), builders are adjusting their blueprints to integrate green aspects into the floor plans and infrastructure.
These alterations involve using recycled materials and buying from local manufacturers, which cuts down on the carbon footprint created by long-distance transportation. As mentioned early, certain types of appliances and internal systems are beneficial to green home design, but additional outdoor features, such as green roofs and porous driveways, can also help increase a home’s sustainability. Both work to absorb rainwater, instead of letting it run off into the sewer or flow through the city to public parks and beaches, which can contaminate the grounds with collected chemical debris and toxins from pollution.
Builders are also starting to see a move away from unnecessarily large layouts for homes because they require so much energy to operate. Oftentimes the extra interior spaces are not even used by inhabitants, however, the areas are still heated, air conditioned and use electricity – a wasteful practice when it comes to green living!
Green homes are getting easier to come by in the Chicago real estate market and are actually sought out over traditional constructions. This may have something to do with the rising cost of utilities (gas, water and electricity bills seem to have skyrocketed in recent months) or just an overwhelming sense of responsibility to protect our earth and environment from any more irreversible damage. Several residential developments are currently going up around the city that will hold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status when they are completed, or that incorporate an advanced level of energy efficiency. House hunters in search of that perfect combination of livability and sustainability should have no problem finding a green home in Chicago these days, especially if this quickly-spreading trend manages to become the mainstream norm for construction in the future.