House blueprint

When a sleek, new eco-friendly row house pops up in an up-and-coming urban neighborhood, you might assume that it would be expensive to live there. But Chicago’s Latin United Community Housing Association, or LUCHA, is building one such house as an affordable, multi-family rental property.

Juan Carlos Linares is LUCHA’s executive director. He says the new house will be a so-called “passive house,” which means that everything from its windows to its insulation is designed to keep heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer. So it will require very little heating or cooling.

Linares: “We’re hoping that tenants save over $1,100 in annual utility savings, and that’s more than a month’s rent for any one of these units.”

The passive house is one of 12 new multi-family houses LUCHA is building, in a neighborhood where the cost of living has been rapidly rising. Linares says that, in all of the buildings, energy-efficient lighting, heating, and appliances will help save money for people who may be struggling to make ends meet.

Linares: “We’re preserving affordability in a very quickly gentrifying area.”

… all while reducing carbon pollution.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Eileen Mignoni

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...