Their plank siding top-floor dormer windows, and street-front retail spaces make the seven new townhouses at Lake Street and Ashland Avenue in Evanston look like longtime neighborhood stalwarts. But the homes have numerous forward-looking green features as well. A geothermal climate-control system draws on steady subterranean temperatures to heat or cool the air that circulates in the homes’ rooms. Some floors are made of renewable cork, and the insulation—blown in extra thick—was made from soybeans. Permeable driveway pavement lets rainwater percolate into the ground instead of being directed to the sewer system, and there is a community garden at the rear of the lot.
Even the storefronts might be called green features. They provide the owners of each townhouse with an office or retail space at ground level, directly below the home. Commute time drops to nil for residents who can take advantage of the arrangement.
The developers, Thomas Engel and John Cunningham of Walter Talley, have christened the project Homes That Work, a nod to both its sustainability and its live-work aspect. Each townhouse has about 3,400 square feet, with two or three bedrooms, depending on how the buyer configures the space. Inner units with no side windows are priced at $799,000; the end units, which do have side windows, are going for $879,000.
Photograph: Dennis Rodkin