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On the Market: Energy-Saving Contemporary in Southport Corridor

List Price: $2.565 million
The Property: The builder Linda Sanchez put up this 4,800-square-foot, six-bedroom contemporary house in the Southport Corridor as the eco-friendly home she wishes she had built for herself eight years ago. At that time, when she was building…

List Price: $2.565 million
The Property: The builder Linda Sanchez put up this 4,800-square-foot, six-bedroom contemporary house in the Southport Corridor as the eco-friendly home she wishes she had built for herself eight years ago. At that time, when she was building her own home (next door to this one), most of the green materials and methods she used here were unknown, rare, or at least hard to get contractors to adapt to.

Since then, green residential building has moved many steps forward. Sanchez has incorporated several of those steps into this home, which was designed by the architect Kenneth Dahlin, of Racine, Wisconsin’s Genesis Architecture. The result, she says, is that the energy bills in the new home are about one-eighth the bills for her own home, which is at least 800 square feet smaller.

The geometric façade has a striking look, but the primary energy savings come from the home’s two side walls, which are built of six-inch-thick insulated concrete form. Their insulation value is R-38, about twice the R-value of conventional wood-framed walls. The south wall, typical of a city home on a narrow lot, is very close to the house next door, which means any big windows there would sacrifice privacy. So in the main stairwell and the kitchen, Sanchez went with a KalWall product that looks like frosted-glass windows but in fact is an insulated fiberglass panel that allows natural light in without sacrificing privacy or the insulation value of all that space.

Elsewhere in the house, though, natural light pours through large windows and skylights (all insulated), not to mention the light wells that bring light from the upper floors down to the main floor. You will see all that in the video, as well as other green features in the home—from the heated concrete floors to paints that are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to tankless water heaters. Not shown, because it won’t be installed until spring—real spring, not the hint we got earlier this week—is a green roof system atop the house.

This isn’t just an eco-friendly house; it’s friendly to the eyes as well. There are dramatic contemporary finishes, such as the steel stairs, the master bedroom’s cantilevered box fireplace, and the slope-bottomed concrete sinks in the bathrooms. The second floor of the house has two pairs of kids’ bedrooms—one pair on either side of a bridgeway lighted from skylights above. The third floor has a great master suite with its own deck, one of three that stack up the back of the house. (There’s a fourth above the garage.)

Sanchez says that while she enjoyed building both her own home and this one (as well as several others), she was gratified this time around to be able to go full-tilt on the green aspects—even if, as she notes, “it was double the work.”

Price Points: Green materials come at a premium—and in this case, Sanchez says, she really got socked on one material. “I was planning on 20 percent higher,” she says, “but when gas prices went up, my iron tripled in price. So it was about 40 percent higher.” Nevertheless, she and her agent, Lorne Frank, both believe that the price is still in line with more conventional new construction in the desirable Southport Corridor (home of the well-respected Blaine School), especially when you take into account the sizable savings in utility costs the sustainable methods and materials will afford.

Listing Agent: Lorne Frank of Sudler Sotheby’s, 312-981-3729; lornefrank@lornefrank.com

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