The newman residence resides on a corner lot in Chicago suburbs

When the Newmans inherited their 119-year-old family home, they were aiming to transform the neighborhood’s “spooky” property into a light-filled, welcoming environment that reflected their commitment to sustainability and family. Little did they know, their attention to materials, efficiency and the community would earn the Newman Residence the first LEED Platinum v4 home designation in Chicago and snag a spot in LEED’s Top 10 of 2021 and the 2022 LEED Homes Awards Outstanding Single Family Project.


Rating system: LEED Homes, Single Family Residence
Certification level, point total, certification date: PLATINUM (83 points) certified 11/4/2021
Gross floor area: 6,524 sf
Credit highlights:

• Location & Transportation: high points for local resources and surrounding density
• Water Efficiency: 20% reduction in expected water use
• Energy & Atmosphere: 20% reduction in expected energy use
• Materials & Resources: 80% construction materials diverted from landfill
• Indoor Environmental Quality: enhanced air quality strategies achieved


Originally a dilapidated 1902 Tudor, this structure’s large, Low-E windows allow for ample natural light to fill its cavernous rooms, among which lies a gourmet kitchen with a dog feeding station, music sound room, gym, and attic. By reusing the existing structure, the owners minimized damage to the environment and disruption to the neighborhood during the remodel.

The Newmans specifically selected Widler Architecture and Verde, LLC, now part of VCA Green, to design and execute their project due to the team’s historic partnership on LEED buildings. During deconstruction, 80% of materials were diverted from the landfill through recycling or donation to a local reuse center. All new building materials – like stone and drywall – and contractors were sourced locally when available, and up-front carbon impacts for energy, water and material sourcing was a priority throughout the project. This approach also earned the project 20% water savings.

EnergyStar appliances, fresh air exchanges, automated systems, verified quality insulation installation and weather sealing contributed to more than 20% reduction in electrical use compared to a standard home and keeps future photovoltaic offsets to a minimum.

The design team helped fulfill the owners’ desire to maintain clean air, physical and mental wellbeing by using low or no VOC products, natural materials that require less maintenance or harsh chemicals for cleaning/service, and ample useable outdoor space.

From design to mechanics and community impact, the Newman Residence features a casual and comfortable home suitable for large family gatherings while maintaining a beautiful aesthetic. Despite the massive remodel, the structure’s details still pay homage to its original design to coordinate well within neighborhood and community. Their ability to maintain their property’s historic charm while boosting its sustainable attributes and incorporating green technology is a template for how sustainable residential projects can transform blocks, neighborhoods, and entire cities.


Robyn Vettraino, VCA Green Principal and Lead Project Manager for the Newman Residence project
Dani Grace, Contributing Writer