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Green Real Estate

Eco construction and environmentally-friendly homes in the Windy City are helping to save the Earth (and money)!

Green Construction Rooftop Garden

Evidence of a growing trend toward green building design and sustainable living is springing up all over Chicago. Several new condominium developments are incorporating elements of eco construction and even individual homeowners are making changes to their existing houses to ensure a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle.

Benefits of Green Real Estate

Better For Our Earth

Of course, the obvious benefit of "going green" is the positive impact on our earth and the environment. It’s no secret our natural resources are being depleted at an unsustainable rate and it seems like anything we do these days is sure to leave a "carbon footprint." Green buildings are helping to relieve the demand on the ecosystem by utilizing renewable resources, recycled materials, energy-conserving appliances and green roofs.

Chicago residences with a green tinge are incorporating environmentally-friendly features such as bamboo floors (made from sustainable supplies), low-toxicity paint (less harmful to the atmosphere) and recycled building materials (sometimes salvaged from razed Chicago structures). These types of changes all add up, doing their part to reverse pollution and slow the destruction of the earth’s resources.

Green rooftop gardens are also taking Chicago by storm with over 2.5 million square feet of green space atop the city’s buildings (including City Hall). The advantage of having a green roof goes beyond producing oxygen to purify Chicago’s air. These specially-designed patches of grass and vegetation work to insulate the building during the cold winter months and helps cool the surrounding air in the summertime, alleviating the demand on the building’s air-conditioning units. Green roofs also benefit the city’s infrastructure by absorbing rainwater which would otherwise runoff into the already strained Chicago sewer system.

Save Money

The use of energy-conserving structural elements and appliances is good for the environment, as well as the bank account. Residents who live in green buildings and eco homes save on utility bills (sometimes more than 50%) and are often eligible for tax breaks or other government-backed incentives.

Because environmentally-friendly design is not the mainstream, the initial expense of building green or integrating green aspects into an existing house will be higher than the standard construction cost. But don’t let that deter you—in time those preliminary expenditures will pay for themselves, and then some. The long-term savings in gas, electricity and water bills are substantial, not to mention, you’re helping out Mother Earth while you’re at it.

Residential developers in Chicago are encouraged by the city to invest in eco-friendly real estate with sizeable grants and subsidies to compensate for the added cost of "going green." Individual homeowners can also cash-in for green improvements such as solar heating panels or other energy-efficient installations to their property. There are a number of different programs that aim to provide assistance in green construction. Even historic bungalow owners are jumping on the band wagon with a healthy boost from local organizations and foundations.

GCREP-GL Certification

Benefits of using a GCREP-GL real estate consultant:

  • Informed about environmentally-safe materials that are healthier for you and your family
  • Understands the LEED rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council
  • Knows the relationship between energy efficiency features and utility bill savings
  • Recommends ways to make homes more eco-friendly and energy efficient
  • Skilled in finding properties equipped with green amenities

More about GCREP-GL

The certification course is approved by the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO). Today, there are more than 6000 GCREP-GL Realtors in the U.S. and the accreditation is recognized in 15 states. Dream Town is the first agency EVER to receive Green Certification companywide.

NAR Green Designation

You care about saving the environment (and money) and you want an expert in green real estate.

NAR's Green Designation

Green real estate in Chicago ranges from newly constructed LEED-certified condo developments to historic bungalows with solar-power improvements. Our agents have a comprehensive knowledge of eco-friendly homes, sustainable building methods and issues that affect the housing market's green progression. We have studied the various green ratings and construction practices—and how they can benefit you as a homeowner.

What is NAR Green Designation?

It is the only green real estate professional designation recognized by the National Association of REALTORS®. Agents who receive the designation have completed extensive coursework designed by a multidisciplinary team of industry experts. In their training, agents learn how to:

  • Help clients evaluate the cost/benefit of green building features
  • Determine what makes a property "green"
  • Distinguish between industry rating and classification systems
  • List and market green homes
  • Discuss financial grants and incentives available to homeowners
  • Assist consumers to see a property's green potential
  • Interpret regulatory issues

Agents with NAR Green Designation are the future of real estate!

A movement toward sustainability in our everyday lives has evoked new innovation in green technology and green home construction. As your advocate and guide, agents need to be aware of how these changes shape your real estate options and provide you with the resources and information necessary to make sound decisions in today's eco-conscious world.

With energy costs on the rise, consumers are demanding more energy-efficient homes. Don't you want an agent who can identify features and appliances with the capability to reduce water and electricity consumption, or produce energy in alternative ways? That's why you want an agent with NAR Green Designation on your side.

NAR Green Designated agents also examine the benefit of sustainable communities, land planning and green living. Your agent has a grasp of the bigger picture and how a global effort to increase recycling and shrink our carbon footprint influences local real estate trends.

About the Green REsource Council

The Green REsource Council was established by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council (REBAC). It was created as a way to increase green real estate awareness among industry professionals. Members of the Green REsource Council value the importance of education in sustainability and green practices. They are qualified leaders in green real estate who strive to provide resources to today's agents. NAR Green Designation is awarded by the Green REsource Council to agents who successfully complete 18 hours of coursework in association with a program designed specifically for REALTORS®.

LEED Certification

What does it mean?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council with the objective to support and accelerate worldwide acceptance of sustainable design and green building practices. The accreditation takes into consideration a handful of environmental health issues such as level of energy efficiency, sustainable site development and indoor air quality. Depending on a building’s degree of environmental health fulfillment, a LEED rating is granted with one of the following certification levels: Certified, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

LEED-Certified Chicago Buildings

LEED Certified Chicago Building

LEED certification is quite the buzz word in new Chicago construction these days. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation is a coveted title for buildings around the globe, but as a city vying to be the "greenest" in the U.S., Chicago already has an impressive line-up of eco-friendly real estate.


  • Eco 18 - 1818 South Wabash Avenue
  • 340 on the Park - 340 East Randolph Street
  • Lexington Park - 2138 South Indiana Avenue
  • Green Armitage - 3018 West Armitage Avenue
  • 900 S. Clark - 900 South Clark Street


  • One Eleven South Wacker - 111 South Wacker Drive
  • Chicago Center For Green Technology - 445 North Sacramento Boulevard
  • One South Dearborn - 1 South Dearborn Street
  • 300 N. LaSalle - 300 North LaSalle Street
  • Blackhawk/Halsted - 1460 North Halsted Street (speculative)
  • Andrew J. McGowan Science Building - 1110 West Belden (speculative)
  • Morse Theater - 1328 West Morse
  • 353 N. Clark - 353 North Clark Street (speculative)
  • Center for Neighborhood Technology - 2125 West North Avenue
  • Access Living Headquarters - 111 West Chicago Avenue
  • Infant Welfare Society of Chicago - 3600 West Fullerton Avenue
  • Southgate Market - 1101 South Canal Street
  • Humana Chicago Office - 550 West Adams Street

Elements of Eco Construction

Much of Chicago is confident green real estate is the way of the future. Already there is a notable shift toward environmentally-friendly homes, offices, academic and municipal buildings, with even more projects in the planning stages.

Elements of green construction are incorporated into Chicago homes and buildings using:

  • Salvaged or recycled construction materials
  • Products and materials from sustainable supplies
  • Locally harvested and produced goods to reduce energy on transportation
  • Low or no-toxicity products (causes less harm to air quality)
  • Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, carpet, sealant, adhesive, etc.
  • Geothermal heating and cooling system
  • Solar thermal hot water system
  • Green roof gardens
  • Stormwater containers and management system
  • Low-flow toilets and shower heads
  • Minimal electricity appliances
  • Water-conserving plumbing fixtures
  • Compact fluorescent lights (use around 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs)
  • Specially insulated walls and roof
  • Double-pane windows
  • Extra bike storage to encourage non-carbon emitting transportation

Read more about Chicago Green Building here!

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