A Place in the Sun
The architect Nathan Kipnis makes the most of an exceptionally sunlit site by employing both passive and active solar heat in his two new townhouses

Illustration: Nathan Kipnis Architects, Inc.
Evanston condominiums in Chicago


Recognizing that his two new townhouses in Evanston (at 1831 Lincoln Street) will receive lots of sunshine, the architect Nathan Kipnis designed them to employ both passive and active solar heat. Thanks to an open school lot across the street, the winter sun will flood through the townhouses’ big south-facing windows. In summer, when the sun is higher, canopies will prevent the sun’s heat from coming indoors.

Meanwhile, up on the roof-made from a white rubber sheeting that reflects, rather than absorbs, the sun’s rays-solar panels will actively collect most of the energy used to heat the water in the residences’ bathrooms and kitchens. Alongside them, Kipnis is installing the works for photovoltaic panels for solar electric power, should buyers later decide they want that feature. Inside the two nearly 2,800-square-foot, three-bedroom units (which are scheduled for completion in late April), Kipnis has tucked dual-flush toilets, which vary the flushing volume by the type of waste. Kipnis also notes another eco-friendly feature of the townhouses. “We’re a block from the train station,” he says. “You don’t have to drive everywhere.”


Reducing Agent
Environmental design elements should lessen building’s energy consumption

Illustration: Courtesy Of Keller Williams Realty
Logan Square condominiums
Logan Square
From $419,900
to $449,900

The developer Paul Sanders has employed green techniques in earlier projects in Humboldt Park and Logan Square, but he says he aims to “take it up a few notches” at his new building at 3018 West Armitage Avenue. Toward that goal, he’s getting some help from George Sullivan, an engineer who heads up a company called Eco Smart Building. Should all go as planned, Sanders’s new eight-condo building-called Green Armitage-will use only as much energy as a building less than half its size.

Sanders will construct the building’s exterior walls with steel studs packed with an insulating, five-inch layer of Styrofoam and masked by a masonry veneer on the first floor.

Some other components of the plan are still up for city approval. They include an advanced geothermal climate-control system; a chilled-water air-cooling system similar to those used in industrial settings; and photovoltaic panels on the roof to collect solar energy, which would reduce energy and maintenance costs for condo owners. Each unit in the five-story building will be 1,350 square feet and configured with either two or three bedrooms and two baths and two balconies. At press time, one unit had already been sold. Construction is scheduled to finish by the end of 2007.


Developers use savings on land acquisition to offset cost of ecological amenities

Illustration: Florian Architects
Woodlawn condominiums in Chicago
From $186,100
to $366,450

Two of city hall’s pet initiatives-green buildings and the reclamation of derelict urban land-have intersected at a corner lot in the Woodlawn neighborhood, where developers have found they can afford to include many green features because of the steeply discounted price of the land.

Last year, the developers Dwayne Lawrence, of Woodlawn Renaissance Partners, and Ramona Brooks, of RWF Mortgage, acquired six-tenths of an acre of vacant city land for $220,000. They saved at least $330,000 from what they might have paid for market-rate land, Lawrence notes. “That absolutely enabled us to do the green elements,” he says, which were stipulated by the city when it signed off on the sale of the property at 65th Place and Blackstone Avenue.

Living Green Lofts, a four-story, 25-unit condo building scheduled for groundbreaking this spring, will have solar panels on the roof, a green-roofed garage, and heavily insulated exterior walls. Some finish elements will be green, too: bamboo floors, stone countertops, and carpets made with no volatile organic compounds. Units in the building range from a 900-square-foot, one-bedroom unit to a 2,020-square-foot, three-bedroom unit. Prices range from $186,100 to $366,450.

Send tips about high-end home sales to dennis@rodkin.com.