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Illinois State alums are two-time Housing Innovation Award winners

Award-winning home

BrightLeaf's Innovation Award winner.

A homebuilding company co-owned by two Illinois State alumni recently earned the U.S. Department of Energy’s Housing Innovation Award for the second straight year.

Scott Sanders ’05, a construction management alum, and Rick Thompson, a political science grad, are partners with Alex Thompson in BrightLeaf Homes LLC, an award-winning builder of high performance homes in the greater Chicago area.

Scott Sanders

Scott Sanders

The Department of Energy announced on October 5, 2016, that BrightLeaf Homes had been awarded the 2016 Housing Innovation Award in the Custom Homes category for a home built in La Grange. This is the second year in a row BrightLeaf Homes has won an Innovation Award.

BrightLeaf Homes specializes in new infill residential construction and energy efficiency renovations. The company believes that the economic and environmental impact of building and living in far out, sprawling subdivisions is slowly making home buyers realize the benefits of living closer to work and schools in more attractive and interesting communities that support walking and bicycling.

Rick Thompson

Rick Thompson

BrightLeaf Homes LLC was formed as a partnership by Sanders and Rick Thompson, who had worked in the same Chicago suburbs, as well as on the reality show Kitchen Crashers.

As a National Association of Homebuilders Certified Green Building Professional and a Certified Master Builder, Sanders brings his passion for high performance building focused on sustainability and community involvement to the company. He earned an M.S. sustainable building construction from the San Francisco Institute of Architecture.

A licensed real estate broker, Thompson has earned The Building Performance Institute’s Building Analyst and Envelope Professional Certifications, which helps the company to integrate building science concepts and energy efficiency techniques into their home designs.

As project manager, Alex Thompson manages the field operations and is the key point of contact for all of the company’s clients.