Contributing Editor

Susan Bady has been writing about the housing industry for 25 years. She most recently served as senior editor of design for Professional Builder and Custom Builder magazines, and is now a contributing editor to those publications as well as the portal Web site HousingZone.com. Bady has also written for such consumer magazines as Cabin Life and Better Homes and Gardens’ Home Plan Ideas. You can reach her at susanbady@sbcglobal.net.

Attainable sustainability in the ‘hood

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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