Founder’s Corner: Building Green Isn’t Just A Luxury

Too often, the idea of “building green” is passed off as just another design trend: a rationale for yet another cool gadget or exotic material.

To our way of thinking, though, building environmentally sound homes and buildings is more than just a contemporary approach or even a philosophical decision. It’s something we do because it makes real economic sense – for us and for our partners. And, for the residents of the communities we build, sustainable design makes life better in many ways.

Outside of rent, utility costs are among the largest expenses faced by low- and moderate-income people. The lower utility bills that come with increased energy efficiency can free up money for other uses. And the improvements in health that come from reduced exposure to environmental hazards and pollutants mean fewer doctor visits, prescriptions and sick days. Moreover, when streets and sidewalks are easily walkable and windows are designed to be open to move fresh air through a home, people interact more and the neighborhood is a safer, cleaner, more welcoming place to live.

Importantly, we have managed to incorporate these and other green elements into the communities we build without adding tremendous upfront costs. Through smart design and taking advantage of special incentive programs, we’ve been able to meet either Energy Star ratings or LEED Certification for all of our new construction developments, while still keeping prices within reach for our targeted renters and homebuyers.

We are always on the lookout for technologies and innovations that improve our neighborhoods. So, for example, Hyacinth Place, in Highland Park, IL, was the first development in the country to use photocatalytic permeable pavers in its courtyard that actually neutralize noxious emission gases from the burning of fossil fuels. Just as importantly, though, we make use of simple, natural techniques, like including only native grasses in our landscaping to minimize the need for costly irrigation and maintenance work.

I’m proud whenever I hear someone describe Brinshore as a green builder, but, in truth, we just do what works best – best for our communities, the people who live in them and the world around them.

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