Wind, Solar Aim Affordable Homes At Net Zero

Often green communities spring up in places you least expect it – like Jerseyville, Illinois, for example. There, Lexington Farms, a group of 32 single family homes being built in a St. Louis suburban cornfield in the southern part of the state, looks to have taken root. Last time we wrote about them, the project was just breaking ground. Now there are green homes up and people living there.

The Lexington Farms development, supported by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and developed by Capstone Development, was seen at the time of build out as being the first of its kind in the nation – including LEED Platinum designation –  and a model for new, affordable green housing.

Lexington Farms

image via Urban Green Energy

The model under which these modular homes are made available to residents is rather unique. They were built for those making less than $41,000 a year, and were reportedly provided to these people in a rent to own situation at a set monthly lease cost of $590. Each 1,425 square foot, three bedroom dwelling is green down to its core via an array of eco technologies. Owners apparently had to be provided with a special manual to educate them about the various green technologies they are living with.

So what exactly is under the hood of each green home in Lexington Farms? According to Urban Green Energy, the impressive list includes one of the firm’s 1,000 watt eddyGT vertical axis wind turbines; 7,200 watt photovoltaic solar roof panels; Energy Star appliances; U35-rated, argon gas filled windows; R-21 wall and R-49 attic insulation; low-flow water fixtures and WaterSense toilets; sustainable landscaping with efficient irrigation systems; recycled construction materials; low VOC paints and energy efficient, fluorescent light fixtures.

At the time of construction is was said the IHDA invested more than $2.5 million into the project, providing federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to finance it. The federal tax credits, noted the IHDA, “were a result of a special allocation for counties hit by severe flooding [and] generated an additional $6.7 million in private equity for the development.”

Overall, these green homes aimed for net zero energy usage via the renewable energy features. An additional $260,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity further supported the development.

Curious about other green affordable housing projects going on? Check our story archive.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.