Builder Construx of Illinois finds the magic mix of affordable, green, healthy, energy-efficient, and infill. By Christina B. Farnsworth

Many universities have large land tracts that were once their rural agricultural campuses. Now these tracts have been surrounded by the local towns. College towns face the same affordable housing dilemmas as the rest of the nation. Thus, the abandoned and now in-town agricultural campuses are ripe for development as TNDs.

Enter Construx of Illinois with offices in Springfield, Peoria, and Normal. CEO Michael F. Suhadolnik created his first Savannah Green prototype on 70 former agricultural campus acres near the Illinois State University's Bloomington-Normal campus. Under construction are 369 "Green Built Homes" in three-, four-, and five-bedroom plans ranging from 1,080 to 2,240 square feet and selling from $90,000 to $140,000. Other local new-home communities have an average sales price of $190,000, Suhadolnik says.

These are EPA Energy Star homes that exceed codes by 40 percent to 50 percent as verified by an independent consultant. Homes feature a pre-fabricated concrete panel basement wall system, special energy trusses designed to allow insulation to reach attic space edges, sprayed cellulose insulation, and high-efficiency HVAC systems, all value-engineered to reduce construction costs. Detached garages eliminate a source of indoor pollution. The homes also meet the American Lung Association's Healthy House standards.

Photo: Courtesy Construx of Illinois

The pedestrian-oriented Savannah Green Normal homes have appealing design features such as front porches, detached garages, and alleys. When local paper Pantagraph surveyed its readers, 60 percent approved of the TND project, which has a higher density, more than 5 dua, than other area developments.