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Energy Smart Home Builders Breaks Ground on Nation’s First Custom-Designed Net-Zero Energy Residential Development


132 Homes Make up Prairie Ridge Estates in Suburban Chicago

NEW LENOX, Ill. (July 16, 2010) – Energy Smart Home Builders today celebrated the groundbreaking of Prairie Ridge Estates, a community of 132 net-zero energy homes in New Lenox, Ill. With a growing concern for living more environmentally friendly as well as fiscally responsible, home buyers’ interest in and adoption of alternative energies continues to grow. And while a number of net-zero energy homes have been constructed across the country, Prairie Ridge Estates is the first residential development consisting entirely of custom-designed net-zero energy homes.

Designed by Stanton Architects and developed by Energy Smart Home Builders, which was founded by Phil and Jim Regan, all homes will be LEED Gold Certified or higher and will use solar panels, geothermal power, wind turbines and other technologies to collect and produce as much energy as the homes consume throughout the year.

“We’re very proud to be celebrate the groundbreaking today and to kick off this exciting project,” said Jim Regan, president of Energy Smart Home Builders. “Prairie Ridge Estates marks the first time that the cost to develop this type of home is comparable to traditional construction costs.”

Energy Smart Home Builders’ net zero energy homes are custom-designed and combine state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction techniques and materials with renewable energy systems to return as much energy as the homes take throughout the year.

While net-zero energy homes have been constructed previously, this is the first planned community of homes. Designed by architect John Stanton, these homes are different than traditional homes and, as a result, consume energy differently and more efficiently.

“This is an incredible opportunity,” said 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., all including Energy Star appliances and individually designed to account for passive and active solar energy, wind directions and enclosure issues such as window placement.

Additionally, there are two tax credits available through the stimulus bill that Prairie Ridge Estates buyers are able to utilize. The first, the Residential Energy Efficient Property Tax Credit, is a non-refundable energy tax credit for qualified residential alternative energy equipment, such as solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps and wind turbines. The second is the Residential Energy Property Credit, a new law from the stimulus bill that increases the energy tax credit for energy efficient improvements of 30 percent of the cost of all qualifying improvements and raises the maximum credit limit to $1,500 for improvements placed in service in 2009 and 2010.

Construction will begin immediately and model homes are expected to be completed later this year.

For more information about Energy Smart Home Builders or Prairie Ridge Estates of New Lenox, please visit
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 net-zero energy
 residential development
 New Lenox, Illinois
 green building

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