Eco-friendly architecture is becoming increasingly prevalent as we strive to minimize our environmental impact and create a sustainable future for future generations.
As more people recognize the importance of green building practices, there’s a growing demand for sustainable materials like reclaimed wood or cork building products to construct homes, office buildings, and commercial spaces.
I have extensively researched this subject and will present 16 such companies in this article. These Illinois-based companies manufacture sustainable building materials or provide services that help you build sustainable structures.
The compiled list of the 16 best sustainable building companies in Illinois are:
- Prairie Material
- Chicago Green Insulation
- The AZEK Company
- Z Modular
- Bulley & Andrews
- Pernix Group
- Wight & Company
- Negwer Materials
- Crawford Roofing Experts
- International Contractors Inc.
- Milord Company
- Tangent Materials
Let’s delve deep and see what exactly each of these companies offers to their clients:
1. Prairie Material
Prairie Material is a managed producer of ready-made concrete mix and aggregate materials with three divisions located in the Midwest. Prairie has been providing top-quality products for over 75 years now, making them one of the most reliable materials suppliers in the region.
Prairie Material has taken sustainability very seriously as they are producing aggregate materials on a large scale.
They work closely with the local government to ensure they comply with all the recent regulations. In addition, the mining operations are conducted in an environmentally safe manner to ensure that the ecological diversity surrounding the location is well protected.
Unlike other companies that just have a sustainable producer tag on their site, Prairie has gone well beyond that and actively invested in R&D to develop technologies that help them improve their efficiency while preserving biodiversity at the same time.
They realize that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. By just upping their overall operational efficiency, they can reduce emissions and become more of a sustainable materials producer.
While concrete construction can never be as eco-friendly as rammed earth construction, it is good to see such companies have put their hand up to ensure such construction is done with materials produced in an eco-friendly manner.
Tom Decker is the mastermind behind Chicago Green Insulation, a company solely focused on providing spray foam insulation services to homeowners. They are the number 1 insulation providers in the Chicago area, giving top-notch service. Not only that, but they claim to be the cheapest contractors in the region.
The “Green” in Chicago Green Insulation refers to the commitment made by the company to ensure an eco-friendly service. This is because such services are notorious in regard to their environmental impact.
It is no secret that foam insulation emits harmful gases, and options like sheep’s wool insulation are a better choice. But this can be limited when the curing time is reduced due to proper product preparation.
The company backs itself on preparing the foam on site and has the perfect mixing ratio helping them achieve a product that cures quickly without leaving any trace of harmful odors.
Some insulation work is needed, not just in a conventional home but also in an adobe or a cob building. This is why the company has focused on insulation work and hopes to serve most of the Illinois area.
Formed over 100 years ago in 1902, USG is taking a major chunk of the market share in wallboard and gypsum products in the United States. Their products have been used in structures like the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the iconic Freedom Tower in New York.
Over the years, USG has taken extreme measures to reduce energy usage. Between 2005 and 2020, their energy usage (per unit of production) has reduced by 20%. Landfill waste, too, has decreased by 29% in the last decade.
USG is focused on making a huge leap in sustainability by 2030. But it’s not just the efficiency they are looking at. The current products too reflect the policy that the company follows. For example, some of the panels they build that are made from recycled materials.
The Azek company is a premium manufacturer of outdoor building products. Their prime focus is providing decking products that can be used for most residential/commercial settings.
Their main products are TimberTech decking, Versatex, and AZEK Trim. AZEK has claimed itself to be the largest vertically integrated PVC recycler in the US.
It also has a state-of-the-art Polyethylene recycling center, and they are actively introducing products built using recycled materials.
In 2023, Green Builder Media recognized AZEK’s efforts and awarded their products (TimberTech and AZEK Exteriors Captivate) as the Sustainable products of the year.
Z Modular is a steel modular construction company specializing in designing, manufacturing, and constructing high-quality, cost-effective buildings using the VectorBloc construction system. This is a system that enables precise alignment and secures connections between modules.
Since modules are manufactured in a controlled factory environment, Z Modular can maintain strict quality standards. This ensures that the overall product is consistent in quality and adheres to the building codes.
By using Steel as the main building material, the company promotes sustainability, as it is highly recyclable and has a low environmental impact. The VectorBlocs are produced using 100% recycled steel from nearby foundries that process steel.
Additionally, the modular construction process generates less waste, reduces construction site disturbance, and allows for efficient use of materials. At the end of its life, any building constructed like this can have all its major materials recycled in a factory setting.
Bulley & Andrews is a reputable construction firm, established in 1891, with a rich history of constructing high-quality buildings. Headquartered in Chicago, the B&A has a strong presence in the Midwest area. Their vast client list covers various sectors like healthcare, education, commercial and residential markets.
Their extensive experience has allowed them to become a trusted partner for clients seeking excellence in major projects.
Bulley & Andrews is committed to incorporating eco-friendly practices throughout their operations. B&A has a team of LEED Accredited professionals who are well-versed in sustainable building practices.
B&A works closely with its clients to design and construct buildings that meet LEED certification standards. These buildings are energy efficient, have a low environmental impact, and care about the health of their occupants.
Founded in 1995, Pernix Group has become a global provider of construction services. This Illinois-based company has a diverse clientele and has worked on major projects with the US Federal Government. They have also worked in overseas locations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
The group is hired by the US government mainly due to its ability to consistently deliver quality projects in the toughest environments.
On the sustainability front, Pernix focuses on incorporating green building practices in its projects. They adhere to the LEED principles and are a USGBC (US Green Building Council) member.
The group has been part of numerous Sustainable rated projects in over 30 countries. They have also constructed Fiji’s first ever LEED-registered project. Their trained and experienced staff have helped them conduct Life Cycle Cost Analyses (LCCAs), which help them increase the energy efficiency of their buildings.
With over 80 years of experience, Wight & Company is next on my list as one of the construction & design firms actively building sustainable projects in the Midwest region.
They are highly regarded for their creative and sustainable designs over various sectors and follow a unique project delivery method called “Design-Bid-Build.”
The company ensures the structure is sustainable and energy efficient from the design level. This is why Wight & Company is bagging big contracts to build sustainable structures. One good example is the firm getting selected through an international competition to design a sustainable campus for autistic students in Qatar.
But the project that really gave the desired direction towards sustainability was the BEQ (Bachelor Enlisted Quarters) at Great Lakes Naval Training Station.
The Navy employed the company and made their intentions clear on winning a President’s award for sustainability through this project. This was a pilot project in the USGBC’s Sustainable showcase and the first LEED-certified building in the States.
With a history of nearly 100 years, Negwer Materials first started as a milk delivery business. Over the years, they expanded in the building materials space, becoming one of the leading construction material suppliers in the Illinois area.
Their extensive product catalog includes products like Gypsum Board & Panels, Cold Formed Steel (CFS), Doors, Frames and hardware, and even Exterior Insulation and Finishing Systems (EIFS).
Many flagship products of Negwer Materials are built using recycled content. Some of these are the Acoustical Panels (44% recycled content) and CFS Trusses (90% recycled steel). With such products, Negwer Materials has taken significant steps to reduce its environmental footprint and promote sustainable practices within the construction industry.
Part of the Rabine Group, Crawford Roofing Experts is well known for maintaining, repairing, and replacing low-sloped roofing systems. CRE has performed over 2,000 roof surveys and has qualified consultants with multiple relevant certifications in the roofing industry.
Based on their surveys, the company recommends the next course of action for the customer. Do they need a complete replacement or some light repair or maintenance work? All that is decided with the help of a survey.
CRE’s headquarters is LEED certified, and they actively offer green roofing services, including live roofs and solar panels. To help their clients understand how a green roof works, they have set up a Roofing Design Center. Clients can book a tour of this center and understand how their roofs can become more sustainable.
A second-generation family-owned company, ICI has been in the construction business since 1982. ICI has successfully built long-term relationships with many repeat clients based on their clear methods to educate clients on their delivery method.
Under their Design/Build agreement, a single entity looks at the entire operation. The initial construction is started without a detailed design to save time. This agreement is an attractive option for those under time pressure.
ICI also offers general contracting and management services to its clients.
At ICI, sustainability is at the forefront of its operations. ICI’s team comprises 6 LEED Accredited Professionals and 30 SWPPP Certified members working towards incorporating eco-friendly practices into their projects.
They have also collaborated with Walmart on numerous projects to ensure green elements are integrated into their retail stores. Through these efforts, ICI continues to march forward on its path to sustainable construction.
Milord Company has been a full-service construction company in business since 1887.
Headquartered in Bridgeview, Illinois, the company specializes in general contracting, design-build, and construction management services.
Milord has worked with clients in various industries, including transportation, healthcare, religious and retail. Milord Company also provides preconstruction services such as budgeting, scheduling, and value engineering.
Milord is dedicated to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. The company implements green building practices such as using recycled materials, reducing energy consumption, and actively reducing waste.
Milord is a trusted company for building LEED-certified structures. Their extensive pre-design and construction analysis can help clients identify which areas they want to target and integrate them into their design plans.
Trim-Tex Drywall Products was founded by Joseph Koenig Sr. in 1969. Since then, Trim-Tex has come a long way from its humble beginnings in a 1,500 sq. ft. space to operating in its current facility in Lincolnwood, IL, which is more than 150 times bigger.
Initially, it produced just two different sizes of J Beads but has since expanded its product range to offer more than 200 innovative drywall solutions.
With a primary focus on using recycled materials, their Vinyl Corner Beads help keep 17-18 million lbs of plastic out of landfills each year. Moreover, over 99% of their punch-outs and out-of-spec products are repurposed into high-quality goods.
Trim-Tex also values resiliency in sustainable construction, offering rust-free Vinyl Corner Beads that are fit for oceanfront properties. All these efforts highlight the company’s dedication to sustainability.
Founded in 2003 by Guy DeDoe, Andy Stephens, and Francisco Morales, Tangent Materials has become a leader in the plastic lumber industry. They initially targeted an underserviced market segment and then expanded from a modest 20,000 sq. ft facility to a 600,000 sq. ft. facility.
The company has 40 production lines and employs over 500 people. Tangent’s constant efforts led to the development of their patented woodgrain dimensional lumber in 2016. This was a game-changing product as it closely mimicked the appearance of real hardwood.
Tangent takes environmental responsibility seriously, diverting millions of pounds of post-consumer and post-industrial plastic waste from landfills each year.
Recycled Plastic Construction: By recycling 15,000 tons of plastic waste each year, Tangent continues to deliver durable, eco-friendly products, thus solidifying its position as a category leader.
To ensure full transparency and accountability, Tangent partners with GreenCircle Certified LLC, a third-party firm that performs annual audits and certifies Tangent’s claims.
Skender is a leading construction company with a straightforward and professional approach. The company offers practical advice and actionable steps for successful projects. They have a solid team of over 300 experienced employees committed to delivering high-quality results.
In March 2023, Skender undertook the complex construction of transforming the former McDonald’s corporate campus into a modern workplace for Ace Hardware Corporation.
This project showcases Skender’s commitment to sustainability by reusing and retaining many of the original building’s architectural elements to promote flexibility and reduce waste.
The retained structure includes a large atrium that helps with the flow of natural light to make the building more energy efficient.
Lamboo is a one-of-a-kind manufacturer of bamboo products used in bamboo buildings. They have three categories marked Interior, Exterior, and Structural Applications. If you glance over their structural category, you’ll find bamboo beams & members designed to fulfill structural requirements.
Bamboo in itself is quite a sustainable product and is widely known as the “green steel” of the 21st century. Since some jurisdictions are reluctant to approve extremely cheap & sustainable structures like earthbag buildings, more people are looking towards bamboo as their preferred choice of building material.
This list of 16 sustainable companies from Illinois highlights how more construction companies take sustainability seriously.
One good thing to notice is these companies are doing much better than conventional companies that overlook sustainable practices to focus on their profits.
As people become increasingly aware of their environment, more big projects are going green and hiring companies that provide services and materials that help them achieve their sustainability goals.
This is important because, for ages, the idea of a green structure was as simple as an adobe building. But since modern methods are used more, big companies must take the path of sustainability to protect our environment for future generations.