Habitat Chicago and BentallGreenOak are Helping Families go Green

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Habitat Chicago is continually elevating how sustainability fits within our model- in terms of construction elements and in terms of organizational practices. We follow best construction principles that meet or exceed required building codes and sustainability standards in all our homes. Current design elements have been adjusted, and future development plans give added focus to the long-term sustainability of our homes, to reduce costs and our environmental impact.

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Our homes currently include double-paned, high-efficiency windows that are more thermo-regulating and insulating, reducing costs of heating and cooling by requiring the burning of fewer fossil fuels. According to the Department of Energy, energy loss attributed to windows accounts for nearly 25% of the annual heating and cooling costs for the average American home, and our windows help maximize those cost and energy savings.


We utilize insulating materials on our walls and attics with high R-ratings, which measures the resistance to heat flow through a given thickness of the material. Our R-19 insulated walls and R-44 insulated attics eliminate drafts to reduce heating and cooling costs throughout the entire home, while using less energy to heat and cool.


We seal top and bottom plates to minimize air-leakage.


Recent blower door test results revealed that our air changes per hour are on the order of 2.0, which is about half of the current code in Chicago. The blower door test determines how airtight a home is, which is significant in reducing energy consumption from air leakage, avoiding moisture condensation problems, avoiding drafts, and increasing indoor mechanical ventilation to compensate for the loss of heated or cooled air.

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With the launch of our new industry build, the Real Estate Build, come new partnerships with the most community-minded real estate companies in the city, as well as additional sustainability elements on our new home constructions moving forward.


The Real Estate build house will boast additional energy-efficient design elements and introduces the implementation of these elements in future Habitat Chicago homes. The most notable change will be the removal of the basement, which will in turn reduce the volume of air to be heated or cooled by a third, saving significant costs and reducing resources used in the process.


We will also be installing tankless water heaters which, though more costly upfront, typically last longer and have lower operating and energy costs that offset the initial expense. We will be consolidating duct runs to further reduce energy loss and materials required on future constructions.


Down the road, we plan to install two-stage gas furnaces. These new furnaces save energy costs by burning less fuel; they can run on two different heat settings depending on how cold it is to preserve energy; heat the home more completely; and filter the air more effectively.


These additional energy efficiency standards in the Real Estate home are made possible through our new and exciting partnership with BentallGreenOak.

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BentallGreenOak- a product of the recent merger of major global real estate firms Bentall Kennedy and GreenOak Real Estate - is a leading global real estate investment management advisor and globally-recognized provider of extensive real estate services. BentallGreenOak has been a fervent supporter of the Habitat mission and our sustainability efforts across the continent, having supported local Habitat affiliates in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, and Toronto. We are especially grateful for this promising partnership with our Chicago affiliate to help support and grow our sustainability efforts.







"Habitat for Humanity Chicago’s leadership in driving a sustainability mindset to their new home construction projects inspired us to partner with them on their mission to provide energy-efficient and climate-resilient homes for local families in need. Our employees are especially energized to support this mission and to contribute, through sweat equity and investment, to the betterment of their community."
Paul Boneham, Managing Director and Co-Head of US Asset Management for BentallGreenOak
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With a similar vision for sustainable practices and shared organizational values, we are eager to welcome BentallGreenOak as a dedicated sponsor of the inaugural Real Estate Build and are immensely grateful for their generosity in allowing for these new energy-efficient design elements.

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As we look to the future, Habitat Chicago seeks to continue our sustainable construction practices by building energy and cost-efficient homes that benefit our homebuyers, our organization, and the city of Chicago.


With support from partners dedicated to building energy efficient homes for our families, like BentallGreenOak, Habitat Chicago will be able to implement new cost and energy-saving features to continue to improve our sustainability efforts in our construction, reducing our environmental footprint, building cost-saving affordable homes, and ensuring our continued efforts in working to build a world where everyone has a decent place to live.



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