Walk through the home with Dennis and see what makes the houses so green.

List Price: $1.550 million (house on left/south)
$ 1.500 million (house on right/north)

Though they have the look of the historic neighborhood, this pair are built to combine luxury and green.

Even the paint around the highly effecient windows emit little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Property: This pair of new houses has many sustainable features: solar panels, recycled roofing, paints and carpeting that emit little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They even feature permeable paving in the front sidewalks so that storm water can percolate into the ground instead of adding to the load on the local sewers.

The builders are also a pair: George Wedemeyer and Kevin Friend, who left their jobs at an investment bank two years ago to launch Balance Development, a homebuilding firm that, as Wedemeyer puts it, “combines luxury and green.” These two houses, nearly complete now on a pretty block in the eastern part of Lincoln Square, are their first projects.

Wedemeyer and Friend started with the location: within half a mile of the site there are Metra and Brown Line stops, three bus lines, and shopping-and-service neighborhoods. Each house has two different solar systems—one for hot water and another for electricity. (Go to Green Lizard Solar for more information on these systems.) They also have transom windows above some main-floor windows and, in the basement, oversized windows, all to maximize the use of natural light. Most of the flooring is sustainably grown, harvested, and engineered hickory. Downspouts are connected to rain barrels, so storm water that hits the roof gets used for yard irrigation. The solar panels share the rooftop with panels of green-roof plantings.

But these houses, designed by Jack Stoneberg of Stoneberg & Gross, have luxury touches as well. They have nice façades that suit the neighborhood. (The south house is slightly more contemporary and priced $50,000 higher than its twin because it has the advantage of standing next to a neighbor’s huge side yard, bringing in more sun and a better side view.) Inside, there are handsome fireplaces and crown moldings; a big, well-outfitted kitchen/family room combo; solid eight-foot wooden doors throughout; and a master suite with a good-sized bathroom and balcony.

Price Points: The highest sale price I know of for a green house in Chicago that was built on spec (that is, without an ultimate owner already on line) is $923,000, which bought a house in Humboldt Park last July. These two houses compare well with that one, on both the green and the luxury counts. But these two houses are in the more appealing Lincoln Square neighborhood, with its great shopping, restaurants, and cultural institutions all within an easy walk.

Listing Agent: Frank Parkinson, Balanced Realty, 312-623-3100.
For more information on the houses, go to luxurylivinggoesgreen.com.