The first of five rehabbed homes in the Highland Park neighborhood includes solar panels as part of a package of green upgrades that will increase the homes’ market value.
Marilee and Larry Spatz through their MarLar Properties of Highland Park, Illinois have recently completed a solar rehabbed house in Highland Park. This is the first solar rehab of five that are planned by the company. They will also convert a house in Glencoe to geothermal energy.
“We are very excited to bring solar electric and geothermal systems to our houses,” said Larry Spatz, owner of MarLar Properties and The Solar and Green Energy Group. “From an environmental standpoint, we like to know that our houses are making a positive impact on the environment. From a real estate investment standpoint, the systems help increase value for renting or selling our houses.”
MarLar Properties has been purchasing homes, primarily on the North Shore of Chicago since early 2012. The company owns 14 houses near Chicago in addition to houses in Snowmass Village, CO. and Boca Raton, FL. These houses are rented to professionals and families.
The company redesigns and remodels the homes and has started an experimental model program with Universal Solar, (www.wanxiang-energy.com) a Rockfordbased solar/technology firm, to add solar power and geothermal energy. The program will prove up a model to encourage solar powered homes nationally.
The company began when Larry and his wife Marilee, who has a design degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, looking for houses as an investment opportunity for retirement. They then brought daughters Adora and Linzy on board, making it a family affair. They soon realized the potential of the real estate market and the need for green energy systems, and is putting together The Solar and Green Energy Group.
The company will bring together real estate brokers, building contractors, designers, architects, bankers, geothermal specialists, a solar expert and Wanxiang New Energy (Universal Solar). The Solar and Green Energy Group will be a solutions and design build company with the goal of promoting eco-friendly energy efficiency.
Spatz’s solar experience comes from being CEO of The Solar Electric Vehicle Company. It was his daughter and MarLar partner/attorney Adora Sauer who realized that her father’s expertise in using solar to charge his company’s fleet of electric people movers should also be used for MarLar houses. Adora stated, “It also fits my Dad’s interest in preserving the environment.”
The solar photovoltaic systems used by MarLar are grid interactive and are used to help power the houses. The system also provides back-up energy in the event of local power failures. The geothermal system will heat and cool the houses effectively, reliably and cost efficiently while preserving the environment.
Larry states, as he approached his 70th birthday last November, he has focused his efforts on making a difference in the world. “I am a very small fish trying to make a ripple. It’s about preserving the planet for my grandchildren and their children.”