Building a Sustainable Home Shows Homeowners How to Fulfill the Green Dream

In 2006, Melissa Rappaport Schifman and her husband Jim Schifman began building a new home near Cedar Lake. Designed by David Salmela, the contemporary cube-shaped house isn’t simply another stellar example of Salmela’s singular architectural acumen; it also represents Rappaport Schifman’s passion for sustainable design.

Her goal was to build a house that would fulfill LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certification. And she did. And then she wrote a book about her investigation, journey, and success: Building a Sustainable Home: Practical Green Design Choices for Your Health, Wealth, and Soul.Throughout the book, she describes, in accessible and practical detail, just how she and her family made the decisions—about design, systems, materials—that make the home an outstanding example of sustainability. From renewable energy to obtaining LEED certification; water and electrical efficiency to windows and insulation; green roofs to landscaping, she covers it all.

Those decisions, she describes in the book, were based on three essential values:

  • Health: By building more sustainably, she argues, homeowners can reduce their families’ exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins.
  • Wealth: By building a durable home that’s efficient with resources (including water and electricity), homeowners can reduce utility bills and maintenance expenses.
  • Soul: Making decisions that do no harm to the planet makes a difference, she says, “and that is soul-nourishing.”

As a LEED Accredited Professional, Rappaport Schifman has led the LEED certification of over two million commercial and residential square feet, including her own home. Whether looking to remodel or build new, her book provides invaluable information on how to reduce our carbon footprint and utility bills, experience greater connection with nature, and live comfortably.

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