Green Assessment Potential Score GAPScore for Homes

Welcome! From the Founder and CEO, Steve Pohlman

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Break the Green Ceiling - A Case for Green Value in Residential Existing Homes

The earth's environment is changing.  The people and the places that we live in are influencing the the environment.  

This generation is faced with some dyer consequences from our people's influences upon the ecosystem. 

Some people live in more severe danger from other's production and release of harmful toxins and other chemical threats.  This thought of environments being toxic created the US EPA.  Climate change wasn't even on the radar when it was created.  It took the Cuyahoga River to start on fire and simple people from the surrounding area to advocate for environmental justice and the idea of an environmental protection agency. The amount of environmental disasters added to the realization that something had to be done.

We're at the point with climate change that everyone has realized that something has to be done.  It's up to simple people, like you and I to make a difference.  Not everyone knows how to do that or what to do.  Others only concentrate on certain solutions and forget about others.  Some have tried to implement every technique of being green into their lives.  They ride a bike, use green public transportation, recycle packaging, wash clothes with ultra low water washing machines and air dry, They even use glass containers to store food products, maintain a garden and buy organic.  They can be called "super green" or "dark green" people.  The climate change has created anxiety in society and people are doing everything in their own capacity to be greener.  The climate anxiety is a cause for our population and species to become ultra-green as a primitive reflex for survival.

The survival instinct has always been in our DNA.  The earliest settlements of man were learning experiments based on survival.  Over thousands of years the built environment has changed, morphed, translated and contorted.  But there have been basic rules that have existed for the sustainability, resiliency, and cost effectiveness since existing homes have been built.  The green traits of your home can be one or many of these basic rules from the past.  It really wasn't thought of as "green" in the past.  It was just a good way to do it.  One such ancient green rule is that the front door of the structure is oriented facing towards the sun.  That can be found in the US DOE Energy Star certification as well as 90% of todays green home certifications.

Having your front door facing the sun is not going to make your house green, but it is a building design technique that enhances the ability to be energy efficient and more sustainable water management, after nightly dew and moisture sets in, the house dries out and warms up living areas facing the sun.

When reviewing all of the prominant green home certifications and seeing common green techniques that have been popular for many years and taught through generations and then new technologies that have become popular over the last one hundred years, there are commonalities in every home that appear in green certifications.

Over the past 50 years or so, green building has come a long way.  Green homes were called eco homes and usually looked eco, kind of weird and not usual.  People were perceiving the green benefits as "it has to look weird, or it's not eco or green."  Architects were making ecological homes in all kinds of designs.  It wasn't until BREEAM and Green Globes arrived when architects said, "We have to have a standard for all of these different ways to benefit from and for the environment in our structures and teach people all of the ways."

NAHB and the USGBC have been strong advocates of green traits in their designs and building techniques in the US, which has rippled around the world thus influencing the World Green Building Council and International Energy Green Codes.

The idea is to get every home certified. The idea is to get every architect onboard to design and rebuild the neighborhoods one home at a time.  Every subdivision will be a minimum level of green from now on and the only ones that get recognition are the ones that have been vetted through the system of certification.  Appraisers are having trouble appraising green homes because they only see a certification as adding value.  Mortgage lenders aren't handing out green loans because they aren't aware of the green traits and requirements of a green home certification, unless it's somewhat tied to an energy incentive like a heat pump or PV solar array.  Yet. both industries see green building attributes every day and money has been loaned out since the beginning of financial time, over and over again for home improvements that warrant green status without any recognition or green building certification.

Green, in our older existing homes, is there.  The question is at what level of green can you say that a building or property is green or not?  All buildings, new or old, are in some state of green.  Low, as in having basic green design traits, or high level of green being that a substantial amount of knowledge expertise, experience, and diligence went into incorporating the most beneficial and sustainable design practices which may be certified or not. and then somewhere in between those parameters, is your house.

Your house has green design and you've upgraded to add a better living condition for yourself and your family, and hopefully help the climate battle.  You added value because, if you decide to move, the cost of upgrading another property to your level of comfort is time consuming.  Do you get credit for the green traits that are in your existing residential property when you sell?  Not at the moment.

The US Green Registry is accepting data from prominant green building certifications.  The appraisal residential green addendum form is rarely used.  The NAR MRED Residential Green Disclosure is not allowed in realtors offices, unless you have a prominent green certification.

The average homeowner with green savvy and a house to match is S.O.L. when its time to sell the green side of their property.

Until the homeowner can verify with confidence that the green attributes are present and a third party like can assesses the amount and determine the level of beneficial traits with each and all attributes included, only a certified green home will benefit at the time of sale.

The populace needs the green knowledge to better our housing stock. They need recognition for their efforts in reaching the goals set by our leaders and our internal instincts for survival.  We need to take advantage of every resource possible to combat the environment by living along side of it, rather than against it.  Every green attribute in every building is a step in right direction.  They all add value in one way or another.

Get rid of the green ceiling that is holding back the environmental successes of our people.  Use GAPScore to motivate, educate, and disseminate architectural information that is climate related and green ecologically beneficial to all home owners and the world at large.  Confidence comes from knowing and you'll know where the green is after you verify your house at

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

One size fits all is a myth, just ask Texas

Dear President Biden, VP Harris, Director McCarthy and Staff,

Congratulations on your victories and appointments.   I am very proud of you and our country. 

 NPR Press biden-to-name-gina-mccarthy-former-epa-chief-as-domestic-climate-coordinator

I am sure you've heard about Texan existing single family homes and the poor people dealing with the disasters.  It's concerning, however, I'm not going to talk about it.  Texans will do what they want to do. What does concern me at this time is this.

I heard a quote recently on television from a member on your staff, "I realize that when you look at our buildings being green and the climate, not one size fits all."

There's a myth out there that when you look at a building that you can't design or make it the same way as you do in other regions simply because the weather requirements are less.  That's a myth.  The other myth that comes to point is that you can't assess or evaluate the overall green attributes of a real estate property and it's structures with one tool, "no one tool can assess the green attributes over the entire world."  That's also a myth.

Our Climate is changing and that's only one reason why more green attributes in our homes need to be implemented.   Secondly, our technology for interior personal comfort and safety has risen.  The fact is that architects with the approval of the clients have designed and built buildings for personal ascetic and comfort while the communities environment is sacrificed.  Since every building from the skyscraper to the single family dwellings coach house has to provide a safe temperature for it's residents, cooling is now a priority and necessity.  In areas where the heating requirements were comparatively low are seeing decreased temperatures and increasingly expending heat energy every year.  

So what's the big difference in Southern "warm sunbelt" architecture and Northern "cold getting warmer climate" architecture?  The big difference is in single family homes.  Southern or sun belt regions tend to build on a concrete pad without a foundation, unless the building is near a swamp or wet land, then it's on pedestals or columns with flooring above grade level.  You will see a combination of building types in every region due to the traveling nature of mankind and the individuals knowledge of construction that comes with it.  A true green assessment of your home, multi unit apartment, or office complex cannot have a balanced rating global system without understanding the complex combination between humans and their dwellings from the artic to the equator.

A GAPScore assessment is accurate for a global environment because of common requirements for human safety and the planets ecosystems and environmental stability while increasing the knowledge base of the general public.  Each region may have slightly different green agendas and building requirements.  For example, Colorado does not allow rain barrels in a region that severely needs water and requires water restrictions while New York City as well as other non-draught prone regions do collect rain in barrels.  A home in Colorado on average gets more direct sunlight than an average single family home in any big city.  Every region has the little differences and the commonalities from similar regions around the world.  You can rest assured that as long as some one needs to stay cool or keep warm, the common factors that are required to maintain a constant internal state of temperature energy efficiently will increase across building techniques around the globe. When you ask the right questions and compare your assessments to others in your immediate region, the differences and similarities come to light while being balanced and fair with others from anywhere.  

An overall 50 GAPScore in Central Florida, Jamaica, or Singapore is the same good green impact level as an overall 50 GAPScore in Vancouver, Moscow, or Argentina with small differences in building materials and design functions due to each regions requirements.

It's easy to dispel a myth when you're knowledgeable.  That's why we made

So visit our site site and dispel the myth that there isn't anything green about your existing house. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Oak Park, Illinois is our hometown.  It's been described as the "Hometown of America".  In 2010, the Planit Green public survey sessions provided the town an important 10 year plan to reach for greater sustainability for all it's residents.
After the survey and 2011 Planit Green reports, there has been little communication with GAPScore, Inc. from the Village or it's Sustainability Department.

Now, it's 2019.  How many of our goals have been accomplished? 

Here's a report of where we stand and how to move forward. 
Speak your support for further sustainability with this initiative to continue an environmental milestone that is Planit Green.

February 4, 2019

Dear Sustainability, Communications, and Community Development Managers, Environmental Committee, Trustees, and Village Staff Members,
Thank you for the service that you provide to help the community and its wellbeing.  The amount of accomplishments for sustainability thus far are truly a feat of our combined effort with the entire community.  This is an initiative that we cannot relent upon.  The goals placed in the 2011 PlanitGreen Survey are common objectives to many across the globe and the entire world watches what we provide to our residents, businesses, and overall community.
With this overview of the PlanitGreen Plan and the GAPScore cooperating to accomplish our goals, the success relies on the following to be proposed, accepted, and further supported by the Environmental & Energy Committee, Village Board and other influenced Committees and Staff.

It is to be proposed:
1.       Home Stewardship Initiative to be placed on the 2019-2039 working plans.
2.      Provide additional environmental measuring tools on the municipal public website community portal for Home Owner informational and promotional material with the addition of the following website links.
a.      Green Assessment Potential Score GAPScore  Free offer Coupon Code: OPRF
b.      EPA Indoor Air Plus
c.       EPA WaterSense
d.      EnergyStar Home Energy Yardstick
e.      Home Energy Score
f.        Home Inspectors Accurately Capture Green MLS Data
g.      Nature Conservatory Carbon Calculator
h.     Cool Climate Home Carbon Calculator

3.      Recommend GAPScore, Inc. as the preferred vendor for website environmental program consultation, development and implementation of residential energy and environmental efficiency online program to concur with the Home Stewardship Initiative, to include working with current affiliate associations for demonstrations, organization, and administration of program,  update website local environmental services links and product marketing information for educational, initiatives requirements, and promotional material for Green Assessment Potential Score for Existing Single Family Homes GAPScore Survey and Home Stewardship Participation Certification Program.
4.      Establish a Home Stewardship Sub Committee with allowed open to public input to address the goals of the Home Stewardship Initiative and provide best option information and recommendations for implementation for the Environmental committee Chair and Members at monthly meetings.

Our attention to this matter is of great importance even more now that the recent 4th Climate Change Report has been released.
The time to act is the present to ensure the future.  Utilize our public resources to be a model for those around us.  Provide the tools for our public to adapt to the circumstances that all of us face.  By being proactive in your goals and standing for the environmental justice that people are inclined to agree with, the people of our city can be proud of taking the initiative to preserve our environment, community, and the planet.
Your support is greatly appreciated.


Steven W. Pohlman – Oak Park Resident

Oak Park
Home Stewardship Initiative

Long term initiative 20 years – 240 months

Starts in 2019: Proposal to have on working agenda until 2039.

To educate our residents on the energy and environmental efficiency impacts to include energy, solar, air, land, water and sustainability of a home with the use of online tools and accessible media outlets. 
GAPScore, Inc. provides a custom consulting service to implement your energy and environmental initiative, a knowledgeable local company and premier site developer.
In accordance with OPRF PlanitGreen Plan, UN and World Climate Change initiatives to reduce residential energy use, GHG emissions and increasing environmental efficiency to better the quality of life for all citizens.


EPA Indoor Air Plus

EPA WaterSense


EnergyStar Home Energy Yardstick

Home Energy Score

Home Inspectors Accurately Capture Green MLS Data

Nature Conservatory Carbon Calculator

Cool Climate Home Carbon Calculator

Residents are informed

with Oak Park Site & Survey

Customized Application to draw Users to your informational website

The following points are from the PlanitGreen Survey that GAPScore Inc. was involved in 2010 as a survey participant.  Gapscore Inc. has been developing a program that is directly correlated to the PlanItGreen program and strategies that are highlighted in the following review.  Upon reading the PlanItGreen report from 2011 and understanding GAPScore, you’ll see the benefits and challenges for reaching the sustainability plan goals set forth in this study from non-profit corporations Seventh Generations Ahead, Delta Institute, and Center for Neighborhood Technology for the Oak Park River Forest Community.
You can read the full report at: planit-green-plan-2011.pdf

GAPScore is an acronym for the Green Assessment Potential Score for existing single family homes.  GAPScore, Inc. is a C-corporation with the State of Illinois since 2009 and provides the resources that additionally expand the current resources to continue sustainability efforts in the residential building sector.

Green Compliments

When looking at the top ten strategies for the PlanitGreen Survey Results, the Gapscore Survey compliments 5 of the 10 strategies set forth. The second result “Improve recycling” isn’t highlighted because GAPScore is not inclined improve on the municipality capabilities like e-waste, commercial or industrial buildings, or festivals, however GAPScore can improve home owner recycling awareness and behavior by conveying the instructions by asking a question on the GAPScore survey, “Is there a cabinet dedicated to a recycling bin?”  The 88 questions on the GAPScore Survey relate directly to significant residential sustainability goals.
The highlighted and text altered sections below from the PlanItGreen Plan are to accentuate the similarities in goals and strategies that GAPScore can fulfill.

Table 1 shows the top ten strategy preferences of respondents regardless of topic area, ranked in order of popularity. Three of the top 10 strategies are Energy-related.
Recycling and Green Purchasing each had two related strategies in the top 10. Green
Economy, Water and Education each had one related strategy in the top 10.
PlanItGreen Survey Results – Top Ten Strategies
1. Home energy efficiency and weatherization information and education (Energy)
2. Improved recycling (Recycling)
3. Home energy efficiency and weatherization retrofit incentives (Energy)
4. Access to green products and services (Green Purchasing)
5. E‐waste recycling (e.g. computers and cell phones) (Recycling)
6. Assess the potential to reuse vacant or underutilized commercial and industrial property for new
green uses (Green Economic Development)
7. Commercial and industrial energy efficiency retrofit incentives (Energy)
8. Information and education about green products and services for consumers (Green Purchasing)
9. Planting of native grasses to decrease storm water flow (Water)
10. Incorporation of sustainability practices into mainstream community events/festivals (Education)

Source: PlanItGreen Survey, December 2010

Green Principles
The success of a GAPScore program relies on guiding principles that follow the Environmental Sustainability Plan for OPRF community. 
Environmental Stewardship is the primary goal which is complex and very over reaching, and can be daunting without a high basic level of building science, engineering, thermal physics, environmental, ecological, geological, chemical, economic, and medical knowledge.  There’s a plethora of research and information that contributes to a Home Stewardship Initiative to a state of trust that must be met.   Many smaller governmental entities are equally in need of trustworthy resources for the community that other community’s may be able to rely upon.  Our cooperation must provide a level of trust that our needs and priorities of sustainability for our neighbor residents and community members can rely as well.

GAPScore understands and is prepared for the challenges that we are facing and institutes a program that bridges the gap between where we are today to the point of reaching the goals, while providing the data to gather insight to the reasons why and how we got there in the future. 
Community involvement is essential to further the study of residential properties environmental impacts and the differences of design that combines to its systems efficiency with data collected voluntarily.  The nature of the GAPScore provides enhancement to the existing municipal program and simultaneously educates residents and may be used to promote local business and program initiatives.  Using digital media for educational purposes is not only cost affective to produce, but is effective as a mass learning tool and means for governmental knowledge of its community’s environmental impacts as a whole.  GAPScore provides a means to teach and relay environmental knowledge in both directs between the community and the municipality.  With easy implementation and a cost justified way to distribute promotional material that is already present within the government administrational system, GAPScore makes it possible to assess, plan and reduce the residential environmental footprint of the city to a level that will have meaningful impact by being a baseline metric.  Basic incentives, regulations, and fiscal policies may be suggested to increase immediate impact of the program.  A GAPScore, Inc. Representative will work with committees and sub-committees to ensure the responsibility of the municipality to assist in the success of our contribution to the environment throughout our community, state, and region.

Guiding principles were developed to provide a foundation that the plan builds on. The
guiding principles ensure that the plan developed has consistency, accountability and a
strong focus on implementation.
1. Community Involvement
Involve all key sectors in implementing the plan and achieving its goals:
residents, businesses, institutions and government.
2. Environmental Stewardship
Reduce the environmental footprint of OPRF to a level that will have
meaningful impact.
3. Fiscal Responsibility
Resources are scarce so we should undertake the activities with high benefits for the
cost. PlanItGreen will facilitate acquisition of and use of resources across communities
and institutions.
4. Communication
Communication about progress being made and participation opportunities
will occur regularly during implementation.
Long-term Outlook Plan should have a 10 year timeframe for implementation
with short, medium, and long term recommendations.
5. Effective Implementation
The Plan will be developed in a way that measures progress over time taking
advantage of the baseline metrics established. Plan will be implemented
through projects, incentives, policies and regulations.
Priorities will be selected and institutions will be recruited to collaborate in
their implementation.

PlanItGreen: The Environmental Sustainability Plan for Oak Park and River Forest | 14

Green Education
Education through an emerging system like the internet isn’t classroom based or in traditional education podcast terms.  Your website needs to be implemented with a mindset for a collaboration of resources from marketing, legal, community development, health, fire and safety, public works, building, water, park districts, school districts, and community organizations.  Oak Park has a community Resident Based portal which can be greater utilized for a portal to other helpful home owner resources and applications.  This single point of entry for residential data provides an ample communication platform to implement immense educational material.  The data collected by the GAPScore survey allows for seamless integration with GIS systems.
The GAPScore Home Report is an interactive report that allows the user to highlight provided recommendations from the data results of the survey.  The “how-to” or recommendations sections of the report give a graphical example of optional paths to take for the residence to become more environmentally efficient.  The knowledge provided by the analyzed data presented to the user compels the individual to implement the suggested project.  By this process, the community experiences an upturn in the green economy for services and materials.  Being able to connect the dots between a green home project and the purchases that are made is valuable.  The recognition of the green data using GAPScore is the first step to evolving knowledge of our community’s capability.

1. Work with all community event producers to train them on producing zero waste and ecofriendly community events and festivals.
2. Create “Village Tours” that highlight model green homes, green businesses, green technology, and that use green transportation (Green line Wheels, I-GO, public transit, etc.).
3. Develop a community sustainability education website with tons of tools, resources, and strategies.
4. Provide targeted education and strategy support for local businesses that emphasizes the “how to” and the economic value of green strategies.
5. Create one community education campaign focus every year that promotes a particular strategy or topic area (rain barrels; composting; etc.).
6. Create community video segments on water conservation, transportation, energy efficiency, etc. that target kids and adults, highlight strategies that can be applied at home and in the workplace, and promote OPRF as a green destination.
7. Develop a green block party kit that is distributed to every block that applies for a block party permit.
8. Offer formal adult education courses on sustainability through existing adult education venues.

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GAPScore consults and provides additional services on issues concerning program success within the Home Stewardship Initiative for community video segments on water conservation, energy efficiency, etc. that target kids and adults, highlight strategies that can be applied at home and in the workplace, and promote OPRF as a green destination, develop a green block party kit that is distributed to every block that applies for a block party permit, and offer formal adult education courses on sustainability through existing adult education venues.

Green Priorities

The PlanitGreen project Survey included:
THE CORE PLAN ........................................................................................................................................... 13
I. EDUCATION .............................................................................................................................................. 13
II. ENERGY ................................................................................................................................................... 16
III. WASTE .................................................................................................................................................... 21
IV. WATER ................................................................................................................................................... 26
V. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ................................................................................................................. 32
VI. TRANSPORTATION ................................................................................................................................. 34
VII. GREEN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ...................................................................................................... 40
VIII. OPEN SPACE AND ECOSYSTEM PRESERVATION .................................................................................. 44
IX. FOOD ...................................................................................................................................................... 46
PlanItGreen: The Environmental Sustainability Plan for Oak Park and River Forest | 2

Residential property like a single family home has several green factors or elements to deal with including priorities of energy and water.  GAPScore has a program that has combined simple green attributes of an ordinary home’s design that are common in current green existing homes, ratings, disclosure documents, and certifications.  The elements of GAPScore green spectrum include air, water, land, solar, energy, sustainability are separately calculated to produce an overall GAPScore.


Overall sustainability

Green is Energy Efficiency

Energy is embedded into any household that is connected in the multiple ways that an energy efficient structure is more efficient with water and air management, as well as solar and sustainability in design.  The synergy of systems combined by a multitude of combinations can result in a mixture of various results.  By being able to quantify environmental impacts through attributes, GAPScore is a scientific approach to studying residences in this manner.  That is the reason for 60% of the GAPScore Survey questions are related to energy design techniques and systems.  The survey also provides a data entry point for energy and utility costs, type, # of occupants, and % of occupancy annually. 
When the deadline for the 10 year PlanitGreen Energy survey in 2020 is completed and results are seen in the residential sector, the municipality will see the results in the terms of numbers and the completion of aggregate sources for renewable electricity goal as dictated in the PlanitGreen plan.  GAPScore analyzed data can tell you the “why” the reduction happened, or “why” residences weren’t able to reach the 30% reduction goal.  Priorities can be set with the correct data sets compiled by the GAPScore results for future incentives, policies, and promotions.

Summary of 2007
Total energy (electricity and natural gas) consumption in Oak Park measured in KBTU, analyzed by the residential sector and the commercial/industrial (C & I) sector.
In 2007, Oak Park consumed a total of 4.6 billion KBTU.
53 percent of energy consumed in buildings in 2007 occurred in the residential sector, with the remaining 47 percent consumed in the commercial/industrial sector.
Furthermore, of the 53 percent of energy consumed in the residential sector, 43 percent was consumed in the single family sector and 10 percent in the multifamily sector.
PlanItGreen: The Environmental Sustainability Plan for Oak Park and River Forest | 20

Oak Park Total Energy Consumption, 2007
Total KBTU
Residential 2,437,626,759
C & I 2,204,905,272
Total 4,642,532,030
In 2007, Oak Park consumed 34 million therms, of which 54 percent was consumed in the residential sector and 46 percent in the commercial/industrial sector.
Of the 54 percent consumed by the residential sector, 45 percent was consumed in the single family sector and 9 percent in the multifamily sector.

PlanItGreen: The Environmental Sustainability Plan for Oak Park and River Forest | 67

Energy ranked as the second highest community concern in the survey results and had the most strategies (three) ranked among the ten most important strategies. The Energy goals, metrics and strategies outline below include two main approaches. The consensus expressed in the survey and community forums is that PlanItGreen should first reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency in the commercial, institutional and residential buildings of OPRF. After that, it should encourage the use of renewable sources of energy. Efficiency comes first because wasting energy should be discouraged whether it is fossil fuels or renewables. These two approaches are reflected in the first two Energy goals. The third goal was added to tie the implementation of the first two goals and the strategies that support them back to the larger goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The 10-year 30% reduction target for energy consumption in buildings established in
Goal #1 mirrors the goal established in the Chicago Climate Action Plan, while Goal #2’s
25% targeted increase in renewable energy use mirrors the State of Illinois Renewable
Energy Portfolio Standard, but seeks to accomplish it by 2020 rather than 2024. This more aggressive goal seems possible because of the recent approval of Oak Park’s ballot initiative to enable the community as a whole to negotiate a power purchase agreement for the community with providers that have competitive prices and high proportions of renewable energy in their portfolio. The greenhouse gas emission reduction target in Goal #3 mirrors both the Chicago Climate Action Plan and the goals set by the Kyoto Protocol.

PlanItGreen: The Environmental Sustainability Plan for Oak Park and River Forest | 16

Green is Environmentally Efficient

The municipality originates a Home Stewardship Initiative that must be robust and online with access for the public.  GAPScore is the robust online presence to draw users and a very good reason to promote its educational power.  GAPScore provides a digital “certificate of participation” via email to its user after a completed GAPScore verified home is listed on behalf of the municipality.  A municipality is able to control this function for its own promotional use and data collection.
Today, the Multiple Listing Services are going greener than in 2011, so energy use and cost analysis data is already available through the continuation of the PlanitGreen program.  The regional MLS’s are coordinating further green data for existing homes beyond energy use and costs.  The green attributes are significantly presented on a GAPScore Survey for Single Family Homes.  This is present due to the creation of the GAPScore, Sustainability Real Estate Association, Green Resource Council, Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) regional MLS, Connect MLS, national portal and National Association of Realtors adopted Residential Green Disclosure Statement and UK appraisal programs, Appraisal Institute (AI) Green Appraisal Addendum document, and other green disclosure statements across the globe that are only to be filled out explicitly by the home owner before or during the point of sale process.  GAPScore has the ability to automatically fill out several regional green disclosures, including the MRED Residential Green Disclosure and AI Green Appraisal Addendum Document in PDF form for your residents currently with single family homes.  A multi-unit and condo version of the GAPScore is in current development.

Goals and Metrics
Goal #1: Increase energy efficiency to reduce energy consumption in all buildings and
homes in the community an average of 3% per year for a total of 30% over 10 years.
Metric: Reduction in total kilowatt-hour (KwH) and Therm usage in buildings and homes.
1. Establish a one-stop shop that also has a robust online presence and regular public promotions that educates the public about energy efficiency, including the most cost effective options, resources, incentives, aggregation opportunities, qualified contractors, products,  operations and maintenance requirements, and success stories.
2. Access existing and develop new incentives and financing tools for residents and small businesses to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy investments.
3. Update energy codes to require greater energy efficiency and zoning codes to support distributed renewable energy production. Codes should encourage projects that go beyond
the new standards.
4. Add energy efficiency metrics to the Multiple Listing Service and require energy audits of buildings before sale.
5. Create campaigns for key audiences that promote a culture of sharing information and measurement over time and to encourage voluntary certifications such as a green home, green block, green vehicle, green business, etc., with stickers, publicity, etc. Perhaps there should be a “Biggest Loser” contest each year to recognize the most improved. Success stories need to be shared to motivate others.
PlanItGreen: The Environmental Sustainability Plan for Oak Park and River Forest | 16

Green is Water Stewardship

Water is a primary element of the GAPScore Survey as in the relation to good water management decreases damage to the ecosystem, aquifers, habitat, air quality, building structures, hardscapes, municipal runoff systems and human health.  Overall sustainability is essential and required through proper water management.  Developments can reduce water use and waste water by implementing green design attributes into a planned building.  An existing home relies on the original building design and may have had an addition of water capability over the years.  GAPScore educates the benefits of design functions to the users and is able to mine data for water capacity reduction to storm water systems and promotes efficiency through design. 
For every 600 square feet with 1 inch of rain equals 1,000 gallons of water.  A building has substantial responsibility when controlling water.  Add additional incoming municipal water sources for faucets and bathing (i.e. Average household 150 gallons per day x 30 days = 4,500 gallons per month), and the amount of water that the building manages increases with density of occupancy.  Land use, foliage, and eco habitats are intricate to the water management systems of a community.  Community involvement is necessary for all best water management practices to participate in re-establishing aquifers and wetlands while reducing costs for additional storm systems and repair.

For many Chicago metro area residents, being situated next to Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes has created a sense of security about our water supply and a lack of urgency around the need to use water wisely. The use of water from Lake Michigan by the state of Illinois is regulated by a 1967 Supreme Court decision limiting the 40-year average water diversion from the watershed to 3,200 cubic feet/second (cfs). This includes water pumped from the Lake for water supply as well as stormwater runoff that no longer flows into the Lake due to the reversal of the Chicago and Calumet rivers – all of which is tracked by the US Army Corps of Engineers. In 2007, the most recent year for which data is available, the 40-year average water diversion from Lake Michigan was 3,171 cfs. This average has been falling in recent years, but the addition of water demand from communities currently reliant on dwindling aquifer supplies and increased stormwater runoff could reverse that trend. As aquifer-based water supplies drop, evaporation from rising air temperatures increases, and demand for fresh water grows both regionally and globally, pressure on our precious water resources will continue to mount.
Water ranked as the fourth highest community concern in the survey results and had one strategy ranked among the ten most important strategies. Water strategies identified in the survey and community forums focused mainly on storm water management, but water conservation and water quality were considered as well. The strategies and community conversations underscore the great potential that both communities have for becoming models for education, storm water management, rainwater harvesting, and building codes that allow for the use of rain and grey water.

Goals and Metrics
Goal #1: Reduce overall community potable water consumption.

1. Residential Water Conservation
Increase incentives and education regarding the use of water efficient toilets, faucets and showerheads for single-family, multi-family, commercial, and institutional units.
Educate residents about water pricing and implement pilot smart water meter project.
Create a Water Conservation Certificate Program for homeowners.
2. Lawns/Residential Runoff
Implement an educational program/video that promotes native landscapes and water sipping lawns.
Promote water efficient lawns via “green garden tours” and provide education and resources for people to implement water efficient lawn strategies.
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At the residential level, in 2009 the average household in Oak Park consumed 141 gallons daily, totally 51,377 gallons annually.
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At the residential level, in 2009 the average household in River Forest consumed 239 gallons daily, totally 87,211 gallons annually.
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There’s 2 questions on the GAPScore Survey that are water based and municipal in nature,
“Is there a shared driveway?”
“Is the driveway or walkway porous material?”

When a house sits on an alley way, that house is sharing the driveway with the neighbors.
The sidewalk may be concrete, but the long walkway and patio to the house can be porous.  When you have a porous driveway shared with the neighbors and have a porous walkway, the water that filters back to the aquifer increases by containing, drip irrigation draining the water on the property, and diverted from storm drains.
GAPScore is an effective tool for our global climate plans and local micro eco municipalities.

Green Criteria for the Future is Sustainability

GAPScore provides sustainable criteria by using core principles in the survey questions.  These principles are common design traits visible in today’s IEEC, ANSI, and ASHRE standards and even in older existing homes.  Through the years, home owners have installed their own sustainable attributes to comply with the principles and sustainable criteria.  With the community’s voluntary assistance, the municipality can view the increases in designed sustainable criteria and implementation of techniques the residents, builders and architects have incorporated in the past and the present.
GAPScore builds on community involvement and development by providing a baseline for average homes and planned housing projects.  The green criteria involved is essential to assessing the value of the criteria and market place sustainability.
The public marketers are always revolutionizing the products that are used for home building.  GAPScore stays on the sustained concepts of building and design criteria from reputable certifications and ratings to keep up to date with initiatives and trends, like indoor air quality or net zero emissions.  In the circumstance that we have in the face of climate change and adaptation, the play book is still and will always continue to be revised and rewritten in bits and pieces as our objectives for best use options and perceptions may change subtly, the goals shall remain overall the same.
The best option for resiliency and sustainability is to provide the educational resources to inform a home owner or landlord.  The best way to educate individuals is to create an informational process within the existing administrational system that is common for all individuals.  Each question on the GAPScore Survey is an opportunity for an educational experience and to distribute the educational resources needed to make our residents more properly aware and prepared.

Community Development and Zoning create the urban fabric that makes both villages distinct. Each village has unique character, historic buildings and diverse neighborhoods that require thoughtful planning and a unified vision to ensure long-lasting community character. In communities with a rich tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright and other architectural treasures, the sustainability plan can help shape that vision through a lens of sustainable development that adds value to the villages while preserving historical integrity and character. Broad strategies for community development and zoning center around developing clear and consistent sustainable development criteria, updating local codes and educating practitioners about the updated standards which will foster unified sustainable development and zoning practices.

Goals and Metrics
Goal #1: Create a Community Development Values and Core Principles Plan and
Sustainable Development Criteria based on conservation values and desirable community characteristics.
Metric: Development of plan and criteria (no metric goal established).
1. Ensure master plans are up-to-date and create sustainability criteria to match master plans of village to ensure consistency.
2. Develop a Sustainable Development:
Educational resources
3. Engage developer community, elected officials, and community at large in creating sustainable development criteria.
4. Involve Oak Park Regional Housing Center and Oak Park Board of Realtors on developing criteria for sustainable development.
Goal #2: Review and amend local codes and ordinances.
Metric: Amended local codes and ordinances.
1. Ensure master plans are up-to-date and create sustainability criteria to match master plans
of village to ensure consistency. (R)
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2. Develop a Sustainable Development: (R)
Educational resources
3. Engage developer community, elected officials, and community at large in creating
sustainable development criteria. (R)
4. Generate extensive list of compensating benefits for all Planned Unit Developments that
meet sustainable development criteria.
Goal #3: Promote community development that adheres to the sustainability criteria, supports the guiding principles and implements the strategies of the plan.
Metric: Development guidelines are developed and adopted by both municipalities.
1. Do assessments to determine feasibility of geothermal and combined heat and power (cogeneration) in key OPRF locations.
2. Provide education to developers and contractors on white roofs, geothermal, building orientation, solar access, etc.
3. Create a suite of sustainable development bonuses related to transit-oriented development and green development
4. Balance parking spaces with retail/residential dense development.
5. Enhance VOP/VRF staff capacity to guide and educate developers and provide technical assistance.
6. Expedite permitting process for projects meeting sustainable development criteria.
7. Conduct an assessment of transit-oriented development (TOD) opportunities in OPRF and provide incentives for TOD such as parking requirement reductions, height/density increases, and others.
8. Provide tool kits, loan fund (OPDC), and other incentives tied to standards.

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Green is Ecosystem Preservation

The building that you call home is a burden on the ecosystem.  Home owners see shelter from the heat, wind, rain, and cold, but the ecosystem sees the heat rise and hardscapes resulting in micro climate diversion or heat island effect.  Ecosystem preservation and emissions reductions by sequestration means are advantages of a wooded or gardened neighborhood.  The landscaped environment without pesticides closely resembles the ecosystem that was present on the property before development.  This is greater achieved by increasing natural dominant foliage that resembles when a full canopy of 7 layers of vegetation and trees are present.  The soils that we are living upon are a result of thousands of years of foliage.  Every property in every region may have different ecological or botanical needs to achieve an eco-mimicry style for even greater environmental efficiency and sustainability.  The foliage ascetics of a home definitely creates valued curb appeal and plays an important role in climate CO2 sequestration in the planets environment. 

Green Home Carbon Capturing

The means of controlling a part of carbon emissions is the responsibility of homes owners with the assistance of the government through learning techniques and design implementations that can alter our atmosphere for a combined good impact on our environment and ecosystem.  Solar, Land, Sustainability, Air qualities in design can create a more hospitable in the future and promote your towns flowering hospitality.  By educating residents that a home is within our ecosystem through an informational based GAPScore Survey, the climate change action is a reality. 

Oak Park and River Forest do not have great amounts of open space to contend with, and the strategies in this plan focus on incorporating green infrastructure improvements into existing spaces and new developments that enhance nature’s services to our community. Recent community conversation around parks has centered on decisions related to athletic play space enhancement and the preservation of quiet, natural settings, and many community comments we received recognize the need for both and advocate a healthy balance. The strategies in this section focus on preserving and enhancing the natural “park and forest” ambiances and services that reflect our communities’ names, while making both communities very desirable places to live, work, and play.

Goals and Metrics
Goal #1: Contribute to greater ecosystem services (aesthetics, air, water, healthy soil,
habitat wildlife).
Metric: Percentage of space that provides ecosystem services in relation to total
community space. Note: Target TBD.
Metric: Number of projects (ex-native plantings, trees, gardens, and green roofs)
that provide healthy ecosystem services.
1. Assess long-term tree cover planning (tree spacing issues).
2. Incorporate green infrastructure into new construction and any retrofit ground work (e.g.,native landscaping, green roofs, porous surfaces, swales).
3. Connect existing open spaces through greenways – conduct a study and develop a plan.
4. Establish historic preservation guidelines and an ordinance to preserve trees on public and private land.
5. Develop tree corridors, parkways and native plant corridors as a part of overall corridor development strategy.

Goal #2: Enhance existing open spaces and ecosystems.
Metric: Volume of toxics used on existing land in OPRF (salt, synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides).
1. Create institutional policies around procurement that reduce/prohibit use of toxics and incorporate use of eco-safe alternatives.
2. Develop best practices guides, resources, tools for use of eco-safe materials and products, or access and distribute existing materials through workshops and training programs.
3. Enhance our communities’ Urban Forests.
Goal #3: Create more community and relationships through the use of open space.
Metric: Community use of open space.
1. Organize and train people to build raise beds within communities.
2. Create ecosystem policy for each community institution.
3. Develop community institutions as models for green practices in open space.
4. Broaden education and information access through the Internet, a Sustainability Center, and educational workshops.
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Green Built-in Your Home

These are the questions of the currently unreleased 2019 GAPScore Northern Hemisphere Single Family Home Survey for your review.  You might recognize some attributes that are within your own home’s design.  Within the GAPScore in development, the questions branch out for even further detailed information and dates. 
Several questions on the survey may be eligible for auto input activation from reliable sources currently in municipal data control. 
The Hint button next to each questions during the GAPScore survey allows for specified information on that topic explaining the why, what, and how.  Additional information on local business services and code specifications that apply to that individual question topic can be included for your particular municipality.
These questions can be asked at any point in a property’s life.  The application of the greatest amount of influence is to mandate the owner completed survey, with or without a fee or penalty to the owner,  be required for any housing permit to be approved, building permits, occupancy permits, rental permits, or water transfer or tax bill payment for a single family home. 
GAPScore opens doors to resident users for other certifications, ratings and products.  By creating an online educational marketing platform within the GAPScore Survey, community knowledge can increase and create a pathway to better understanding metrics and needs for green upgrade projects. 
Highlighted questions are directly related to the PlanitGreen Water, Eco System, and Energy plan goals.  Any question may pertain to a combination of any of the green GAPScore categories for air, water, land, solar energy, or sustainability as well as those highlighted here.
Water, Eco System                          Energy 
GAPScore Survey 2019
Has the property been developed or main structure built?
Has any major changes been made to the property since being originally developed?
Is the property rated and or certified?
Have any major changes or additions been made to the property since being certified?
Have any of the certified products been used on the premises?
Has only non-toxic pest control been utilized on the property?
Are there annual energy utility costs?
Is the residence occupied?
Within 1/4th of a mile of public transportation?
Is the structure less than 2000 sqft. of floor space?
Is the house less than 16000 cubic ft.?
Does the longest wall face south?
Does the south wall get 100% daily direct sun light?
Is the total foliage in the yard more than 50% of the lot size?
Are there more than 30% of windows facing south?
Are there exterior awnings on windows that get direct sunlight?
Are all of the windows energy efficiency rated?
Are the exterior walls constructed of brick or stone on the South wall?
Is more than 50% of roof open to direct sunlight?
Is the roof black asphalt shingle?
Is the roof flat with light reflective coating?
Is there a heat barrier in the roof?
Is there an attic fan with a thermostat?
Are there gutters on your house and does the water travel more than 5ft. away from the foundation
or concrete?
Do the downspouts go to the sewer?
Is there a rain barrel or storage system?
Is the structure located on an EPA certified brown field site?
Are there roofs covering the porches or decks?
Does the property share a driveway with another property?
Does the house have insulated continuous siding?
Are the exterior doors energy efficient rated?
Are there unconditioned exterior enclosures at exterior door entry ways?
Are there plaster walls?
Are all of the exterior walls insulated between studs?
Is there hardwood flooring over more than 50% of the building?
Is there tile flooring over more than 50%of the home?
Is there only low or non-VOC carpeting in the house?
Is there only low or non-VOC paint and or wallpaper?
Is there a porous driveway or walkway?
Are the exterior decks above ground level with open soil or landscape?
Is there advanced lighting with automated control system?
Is there a solar powered landscape lighting system?
Is there a solar panel for electricity that produces more than 50% of the homes power needs?
Is there a solar panel for heating water?
Is there an EnergyStar or 3Star air conditioning unit?
Is there a geo thermal cooling system?
Is there a geo thermal heating system?
Are all of the air ducts within the structure exterior envelope?
Is there a wind turbine that produces more than 50% of power needs?
Is there more than 10 inches of insulation in the attic?
Is the interior of the foundation insulated?
Is there radiant flooring installed more than 100sqft?
Is there a point of service water heater with a circulation pump on water fixtures?
Is there a tankless water heater?
Is there an EnergyStar or 3Star rated water heater?
Is there an EnergyStar or 3Star rated forced air furnace?
Is there a whole house water filtration system?
Are there two or more ceiling fans?
Is there a whole house vent system separate from forced air furnace system?
Is there an exhaust fan in every bathroom?
Are there can lights open to the attic or next to the roof line?
Are there motion sensors and or timers on exterior lighting?
Are there motion sensors on interior lighting?
Are there timers on interior lighting?
Are there skylights or solar tubular system?
Are the appliances EnergyStar or 3Star compliant?
Is there an EnergyStar or 3Star hydronic radiant system?
Is there a gray water recovery system?
Are all water supply plumbing insulated with 1inch on the hot and 1/2 inch on the cold?
Are there water efficient low flow fixtures?
Are all of the hot water fixtures within 30ft. of the heater?
Are you located more than 500ft from a waterway or natural wildlife path?
Is there an irrigation system for rain water run off?
Is there a compost bin onsite?
Is there a fireplace?
Does the kitchen range hood vent to exterior?
Is there a mechanical radon mitigation system?
Is there a programmable thermostat?
Is there a humidifier and or dehumidification system?
Is there a separate cabinet space for a recycle bin in kitchen?
Has a professional tested for overall air leakage score under 5% loss?
Are any of the 10 advanced framing techniques used during construction or rehab enlargement of the house?
Is the exterior of the foundation and slab insulated?
Are the floors sealed in all finished areas?
Are the floors insulated and covered above an unfinished or unconditioned area?
Is there a green roof?
Is there a detached garage?
Is there a fence on the property?

It is apparent that single family homes are a substantial impact on our environment, ecology and human health.  The areas of focus are large and expansive to the point that if we don’t focus on the overall picture, the goals for sustainability will flounder.  The starting point has been accomplished with the PlanitGreen Plan and our follow through should be continued to be well supported.
The PlanitGreen Survey and Plan should be commended for the amount of data and intelligence that the program provides and the steps, goals, and recommendations are very valid strategies to implement.
The absence of any information from the PlanitGreen study to include areas of concern for our residents is the Indoor Air Quality, Land Use, Solar Potential, Sustainability, Health related benefits, and the need to reduce toxins, in particular VOCs, within the home or how to disseminate this information to the public in an efficient manner has an answer.  The inclusion of the GAPScore Survey and subsequent portal strategies for the town can cost affectively execute and succeed in a large portion of these goals.
The current “Pesticide Free Lawn” Initiative is now under way with the great work performed by the Environmental Committee and is outlined in the PlanitGreen Plan, which is the inaugural part of the Home Stewardship Initiative. 
GAPScore, Inc. is your corporate community.  We’re here to achieve our shared goals together.
Schedule a full plan overview of the GAPScore and the Home Stewardship initiative.
GAPScore, Inc.
831 N. Marion St.
Oak Park, IL 60302
Steve Pohlman – CEO 312-292-8575