Category Archives: outreach

GreenBuilt Home Tour 2020

July is GreenBuilt Home Tour month in Chicago! This year the whole event shifted to a virtual format so that you can enjoy the tour from your favorite office chair, recliner or couch.

The tour stretches across four Wednesdays in July at 3:30 PM for a web series highlighting green homes throughout Illinois and NW Indiana. Each date during the 2020 GreenBuilt Home Series will focus on one of four themes:

  • July 8th – All-Electric Homes
  • July 15th – Deep Energy Retrofits
  • July 22nd – Passive House Showcase
  • July 29th – Wellness + High Performance Homes

Each web event will allow you to hear from the building team behind the featured green homes and learn about the latest sustainable home technologies in action.

And yes, we will be participating again with our deep energy retrofit on July 15th!

Learn more and register here!

GreenBuilt Home Tour 2019

We have been invited to participate in the GreenBuilt Home Tour this year! You can visit and tour our deep energy retrofit on Saturday, August 3rd., between 10 am and 4pm.

To purchase tickets, go to:

Join us for the 2019 GreenBuilt Home Tour – registration now open! $20 Passport Tickets (admits 2): Unlimited visits to all homes featured on the tour for the entire tour weekend. Passport Tickets Now Available. $5 Single Home Tickets (admits 2): Visit a single home featured on the tour. To avoid passing along increased ticket fees to …

To visit the GreenBuilt Home Tour main page, go to:

Join us for the 2019 GreenBuilt Home Tour! The seventh annual GreenBuilt Home Tour is August 3 and 4, 2019 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Join the Illinois Green Alliance to tour sustainable, healthy homes in Northern Illinois. Meet the builders, designers, and homeowners behind the green homes, experience the latest …

To visit the project profiles of all participating homes (ours included), go to:

Click on each 2019 Home Profile below to learn about the unique green features in each home and about the builders and suppliers who were part of these energy efficient and healthy projects. New this year, the tour features two tracks of homes. The green homes are Certified Green Homes that are third-party verified to …

The GreenBuilt Home Tour has been in existence since 2013. It has featured newly built, energy efficient homes in the Chicago area in the past. A number of people, including our friend Mark Wille, have tirelessly advocated to not only feature new construction, but also include retrofits. The hard work paid off. This is the first year where retrofit projects, like our deep energy retrofit, will be included.

If you have an existing home and contemplate energy upgrades, use this opportunity to see what improvements other home owners have implements and how they have made their homes healthier and more economic to run, own, and live in.

We look forward to seeing you Saturday, August 3rd.

MREA Energy Fair reminder

A couple of posts ago, I pointed you to the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in Custer, Wisconsin, who organizes an Energy Fair every mid June (this summer, it’s June 21-23). And this year is a big year because it is the 30th anniversary of the Energy Fair.

And it is not too late to make plans to attend! It will be worth it, even if you only attend one of the three days. Tickets can be purchased at the front gate of the event. An adult weekend pass is advertised for $35, and an adult 1-Day pass for $15.

And again, we will be presenting on our deep energy retrofit this year. I will conduct four workshops that detail our efforts, research, decision-making, and execution of our deep-energy retrofit. Information regarding the workshops is listed below.

Can’t wait to see you at the Energy Fair!

MREA Energy Fair

If you landed on this blog, you are most likely looking for information on sustainability, energy-efficient remodeling, and/or deep-energy retrofits.

For today’s serving of information, I will beat someone else’s drum.

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in Custer, Wisconsin organizes an Energy Fair every mid June (this summer, it’s June 21-23). And this year is a big year because it is the 30th anniversary of the Energy Fair.

The MREA describes this year’s Energy Fair as follows:

Celebrating 30 years of bringing people together to learn about sustainability and clean energy, connect with others, and take action toward a sustainable future. Featuring 200+ Workshops, 200+ Exhibits, Farm & Garden Tours, Artisan Market, Yoga, Live Music, food and fun all weekend long!

Cathy and I have been attending for a number of years and keep going back because the event is jam-packed with good resources, sessions, and workshops. If you are a professional in the green building industry, this fair is the perfect merging of fun and work. Or, if you are a homeowner, it is the perfect amalgamation of fun and learning.

If you plan on attending, you probably will run into me because I will conduct four workshops that detail our efforts, research, decision-making, and execution of our deep-energy retrofit. Information regarding the workshops is listed below:

We hope to see you at the Energy Fair!

Major milestone

Today was a big day. After five years, Cathy and I feel that we finally got a big step closer to one of our goals: Getting information about our project and information about energy retrofits into the hands and minds of our neighbors in North Lawndale.

This was a long road, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Yes, we had a number of open houses, with the last one (open house #4) being the best attended event. Visitors came from all over the city of Chicago and suburbs, which was also the case for the preceding open house. But almost no one from our community attended.

Yes, there is this blog. I have fun writing and publishing it and I am always amazed when I run into people who recognize me because they’ve read it. I am still surprised by how popular it is. But it doesn’t necessarily reach the demographic I want to reach most – the North Lawndale community.

And yes, our adventures have been published and featured elsewhere, such as on Chicago Public Radio. Did that help us connect with our community? Not in a noticeable way.

We have reached out to local community organizations whose missions clearly overlap with our deep energy retrofit goals, focusing on indoor air quality, material reuse and repurposing…you name it. Nothing panned out, despite numerous follow-ups.

It was only in the past couple of months that I came across a group right here in North Lawndale calling themselves “Men Making a Difference.” One of their goals is to help young adults from our community to enter into trade training programs.

That generated the spark through which we connected, and we organized a tour of our deep energy retrofit made up completely of local residents!

Five years in the making! I have to say that this felt like one of the most relevant events we’ve had to date. And I hope we have a lot more of this coming!

Related posts:

Open house #4 – as much Q&A as we could handle

On Air with Worldview

Project featured in Medill Reports Chicago

Open house #3…

1st Open house