LEED Subdivision Announced in New Lenox

May 09, 2010

The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES) is proud to welcome Energy Smart Home Builders of New Lenox as a participant in LEED for Homes. LEED for Homes is a national, third-party certification system for energy-efficient, healthy, green homes.

Energy Smart Home Builders, founded by Phil and Jim Regan, are planning to develop Prairie Ridge Estates, a community of 132 net zero energy homes using solar panels, geothermal power, wind turbines and other technologies. AES will be providing support and the third-party testing and verification for the green homes, which are planned to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

While net zero energy homes have been constructed previously, this is the first planned community of custom-designed net-zero energy single-family homes. More importantly, it marks the first time that the cost to develop a home of this type is comparable to traditional construction costs. “These homes have been built before, but at a cost of three to five times higher than traditional construction. That is not something the average home-buyer can afford,” said Jim Regan, president of Energy Smart Home Builders. “We’ve pushed the boundaries of construction and energy efficiency and, with our partners, are proud to have created plans for the country’s first community of affordable sustainable homes.”

Designed by architect John Stanton, these homes are quite different than traditional homes and, as a result, consume energy differently and more efficiently. “This is an incredible opportunity,” says Stanton, “to lower – or even eliminate – utility costs for future homeowners and reduce the impact on the environment through smart design and construction. These homes have been in the planning process for more than a year and we’re excited about getting started.”

Prairie Ridge Estates will consist of 132 LEED-certified homes, starting at approximately 2600 Sq ft in size, all including Energy Star appliances, individually custom-designed to account for passive and active solar energy, wind directions and enclosure issues such as window placement.

LEED stands for leadership in green homebuilding. LEED certification provides third-party assurance to homebuyers that their home complies with rigorous technical requirements for energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, non-toxic materials, and environmental performance. Homes that are certified through LEED complete a technically rigorous verification process that includes a home energy (HERS) rating and onsite inspections. Lower insurance rates, advantageous financing, and government incentives may be available for LEED-certified homes.

A participant in the Department of Energy Builders Challenge and the Energy Star Program; Energy Smart Home Builders are proposing to break ground next month and expect construction of model homes to be completed later this year.

For more information about Energy Smart Home Builders or Prairie Ridge Estates of New Lenox, please visit To learn about AES and LEED for Homes, visit

About The Author

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Jason La Fleur is the Chair of the USGBC Illinois chapter's Residential Green Building Committee, and is a Project Manager for the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability. He is a member of the national US Green Building Council (USGBC) Education Committee, and assisted with creating the education standards for LEED AP continuing education. Jason is also the chair of the Education Committee for the Illinois Solar Energy Association, and an instructor for the organization. For six years, he developed courses for real estate appraisers and led the Appraisal Institute's Green Building Project Team, working with sustainability-minded real estate professionals. Additionally, he is actively involved in residential green building and the LEED for Homes program in the Chicago region. Jason holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois, and has over ten years of project management and curriculum development experience. Further dedication to sustainability is demonstrated in his LEED Accredited Professional designation.

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