Nation’s First Net-Zero Energy Efficient Affordable Community to Break Ground in Suburban St. Louis Cornfield


Nation’s First Net-Zero Energy Affordable Community to Break Ground in Suburban St. Louis Cornfield

32 three-bedroom homes to lease for $590/month
Solar panels, wind turbines to cut utility bill to $0; LEED Platinum eligible design

JERSEYVILLE, IL – The long-awaited promise of affordable, net-zero, green living will finally become reality in a St. Louis suburban cornfield in southern Illinois, where 32 single-family homes will be rented for $590 per month. Solar panels, wind turbines and other technology will reduce the utility bills to $0. The homes are expected to be LEED Platinum certified at completion.

Groundbreaking Event for Lexington Farms Subdivision

Where: Fairgrounds & Cemetery Aves., Jerseyville
When: September 14th, 11:00 AM

“Cutting edge green renewable technology has been a cost-prohibitive, inner-city luxury that few could afford. Until today,” said Bill Luchini, President of Capstone Development Group. “This development will be rented to rural families that earn less than $41,000 per year. And they won’t have a gas bill. They won’t have a heating bill. When they get their electric bill, it is more likely to be credit instead of a cost. Green technology will truly make a more affordable and more sustainable life for everyone in the community.”

Financing for the development includes Federal Tax Credit Equity from the National Equity Fund. Financing from the Illinois Housing Development Authority ensures that the development will remain affordable for working families the long-term. Additional financing was provided by Sterling Bank.

The 32 single-family homes will each have three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and an attached two-car garage. A separate building will house a clubhouse/resource center, community room with kitchenette and bathroom, conference room, computer lab, property manager’s office and a storage room. The site will be landscaped with native plants to reduce water usage and will include a state-of-the-art playground.

When complete, it will also be the first LEED Platinum Certified affordable community of its kind in the nation.

Building Highlights

The homes will be approximately 1,230 square feet, and will feature central air conditioning, heat, hot water and other appliances that all run on electric energy, powered by roof-mounted solar panels on all homes, as well as wind turbines throughout the subdivision. Even the streetlights will be powered by wind and solar.

Modern building techniques will reduce construction waste to nearly zero. The design will incorporate highly energy efficient materials, long-term durability and maintenance, and an interior clean air environment.

  • Sustainable landscape practices include efficient irrigation systems
  • Water efficient faucets, showerheads and WaterSense toilets
  • Bathroom and kitchen exhaust vented to the outdoors removing sources of pollutants
  • Energy-efficient design, ENERGY STAR appliances, exceeding ENERGY STAR for New Homes requirements
  • Wall insulation at R-21 and R-49 insulation in the attic
  • Well sealed and air-tight construction reducing drafts
  • Low VOC paints
  • Energy efficient florescent light fixtures
  • Argon gas U35-rated low-e windows
  • Extensive use of recycled materials

Construction will begin in September 2010. The first homes will be complete and ready to lease starting in late 2010. The need for affordable family living is particularly acute in rural Illinois suburbs of St. Louis. According to a recent market study, the median family income in Jerseyville is 36% lower than the rest of Illinois and one-third of all families in Jerseyville earn less than $25,000 per year.

About Capstone Development Group and Blackhawk Apartments

Capstone Development Group has developed more than 350 rental housing communities in 16 states, with more than 14,000 units and over $1.5 billion of development. Capstone is proud to be the developer of the nation’s first 100% renewable, green, affordable community.

Blackhawk Apartments, Inc. is a not for profit developer of quality, affordable housing in under-served communities.

This press release was brought to our attention here at EcoEtsy, and we thought it worthwhile to feature it here on the blog. This program of providing affordable and energy efficient housing looks amazing, and certainly the way to go for the future. Kudos to the Capstone Development group!

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About Karen Lee

As a former Captain of Eco Etsy and one of the current leaders for the team, I am really excited to be hanging out with like minded team members to share ideas on how we can leave the least amount of carbon footprint.

I sell eco-handmade and vintage goodies in my Etsy shop and consult small business owners on Karen Lee Consulting where popular Etsy Starter Kit is sold. And as a retired Chiropractor, I share natural health news and green tips on Check out my past posts on Eco Etsy!


  1. This is wonderful and so great to see it going up in the St. Louis area-my old stomping ground.

  2. What a fantastic concept and really it is just so encouraging to see that lower income families will have the option to not only spend a little less but help out environmentally at the same time. I love that they’re going up so fast too, but considering the certification they won’t be thrown together either and that’s great. Illinois winters can be brutal from all my husband has told me so getting some families in this year will probably be a huge help to their overall financial & physical comfort. Great article!

  3. This is such a cool idea. If you are going to build a new community, why not build it green and affordable? This reminds me of Brad Pitt’s foundation in rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina. I wish there were communities like that where I live. Cool post!

    • I first heard about Make It Right last year around this time when I was doing tons of research for GLR. My aunt grew up in N.O. and has lots of family still down in that area so it was a situation that hit close to home. Luckily her relations aren’t in the Lower 9th but we all donated to MiR in her name for Christmas last year!