Feature Article /
Feb 11, 2021

10 Products This Green Builder Put in His LEED Platinum Model Home

djk custom homes model home

DJK Custom Homes’ flagship model home project features the latest cutting-edge products and materials, which played a part in the home reaching its LEED Platinum certification.

It’s a standing testament to the builder’s high performance, eco-friendly portfolio, which promises buyers an Energy Star-certified home that reduces drafts, improves indoor air quality, lowers energy usage, carbon emissions, and does it all through advanced construction methods.

Located in Naperville, Ill., the model home received a LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council in August and the builder received a 2020 Indoor airPLUS Leader Award.

[ Watch: Tour a LEED Platinum Home With the Builder]

Healthy home considerations began at the onset of the project, with the location being one of the most important LEED features, says Vice President Kevin Kittilsen. Located centrally in downtown Naperville, the home offers high walkability to local parks, restaurants, and shops. 

Though DJK homes offer an average HERS Index rating of 49, meaning the homes are 49% more energy efficient than the average home, its flagship received a HERS rating of 5 thanks to its solar panels.

It features four bedrooms, five and one half baths, two garages, and three stories, totaling to 3,720 square feet on a 10,924-square-foot lot. 

Along with the necessary areas, such as the kitchen and living room, the home features several innovative spaces that homeowners can use for office, classroom, or entertainment purposes. Occupants would have access to multiple balconies, including a party deck, two garages, top-floor childrens area, kid’s hidden hangout in the basement, a wine room, champagne storage, custom bar, and storm shelter.

Kittilsen sat down with us to take a deep dive into the home’s construction, along with the products and materials the builder specified for the high performance home. 

Enclosure, Exterior, Window, and Door Products


leed platinum exterior

On the exterior, the home features a modern farmhouse design with bright white siding offset with a mix of materials and textures, such as stone, various woods, and metal.

All woods were custom stained on-site, according to Kittilsen. In addition, DJK varied between horizontal and vertical siding for different areas of the home. The circle sawn texture on the reclaimed Montana Ghostwood siding adds an extra rustic and natural touch.

To finish the home and make it super insulated, Kittilsen utilized rigid foam insulation on the exterior of the home’s foundation walls and the home’s exterior. In addition, DJK used flash foam with closed cell foam, and blown-in cellulose insulation in the exterior wall cavities. In addition to helping with high energy efficiency, the blown-in cellulose adds sound dampening. Kittilsen then used Knauf’s EcoSeal to fill in any gaps on the exterior sheathing.

HardiePlank Lap Siding
Board and Batten Siding


According to James Hardie, its fiber cement siding offers fire, pest, moisture, and overall weather protection. The company suggests using its HardiePanel vertical siding and HardieTrim batten strips to achieve a board and batten style.

Montana Ghostwood Siding 

leed platinum home exterior

Montana Ghostwood comes from dead pine trees either killed through forest fires or pine beetles. It’s SFI- and FSC-certified and offers the look of a reclaimed wood but with new wood performance, according to Rocky Mountain Forest Products. Its eco-friendly finish keeps the wood protected from UV light, moisture, and inclement weather.

Knauf Insulation EcoSeal

Knauf says EcoSeal can get into gaps as small as an eighth of an inch, able to close all air flow from the home. Though it dries hard, it remains flexible and can be difficult to damage during drywall installation. The water-based elastomeric sealant can be cleaned with water and helps with not just thermal performance, but acoustic performance as well, says Knauf.

Pella Windows and Doors

pella low e value windows

Every home DJK builds includes Pella windows due to their low e-value, which provides protection against heat transfer. The flagship model home uses a mix of Pella’s Impervia and Lifestyle series in casement and single hung styles. 

Glenview Doors


djk custom homes leed platinum

DJK went with a modern front door from a custom door company they use often, Glenview Doors. Glenview’s modern collection offers a European design, the company says, with the ability to customize veneers and glass designs.

Kitchen Products

Homeowners still love a large, standout oven, Kittilsen says. The kitchen’s importance grew tenfold during the pandemic and more Americans are regularly cooking, making these appliances more important. 

The kitchen takes center stage in the home’s open floor plan with an adjacent casual dining space and living room. A planning center can be found tucked away behind the wooden Knotty Alder doors hiding the refrigerator. Kittilsen says planning centers are a common amenity for DJK homes and can be used as a spot to complete bills, review mail, or hide clutter away.

Striving for a modern industrial-inspired design, the interior of the home features exposed black painted metal beams, a metal stair railing, reclaimed wood in the casual dining area, brick, matte black hardware, and sleek quartz countertops. The Chicago common brick located on the exterior of the planning center comes from the original home on the lot.

“[We] always try to find items that are not only sustainable, but tell a story,” says Kittilsen. “Also what you can’t see here, but behind the walls is an important piece of where we start with sustainable sourcing, using all SFI-certified lumber where we can when building.”

The kitchen island features a MSI Quartz surface in a waterfall design, but with a different style cabinetry from the rest of the kitchen. The island cabinets are a flat panel inset door style in a deeper brown whereas the rest of the kitchen features a bright white.

Dacor Appliances

leed platinum home energy star appliances

Energy Star rated appliances are a must for a DJK custom home and Dacor supplied each appliance in their LEED Platinum model. Dacor appliances in the home include the fridge, oven, ventilation hood, wall ovens, microwave drawer, wine refrigerator and taps.

MSI Quartz Surfaces

high performance home open floor plan

Due to its manufactured nature, quartz surfaces offer a clean and sleek appearance with high durability and low maintenance. DJK went with marble-like quartz countertops from MSI, which includes a lifetime warranty. Quartz surfaces were also used in the bathrooms, laundry room, mud room, and walk-in closet.

Maxim Lighting

maxim lighting chandeliers

Those touring the model home will find a number of statement lighting fixtures with LED lighting. All fixtures come from Maxim Lighting, which offers a multitude of different products for nearly every use. The finishes of the fixtures in the model home match the overall modern industrial aesthetic.

Bathroom Products

On the main level, homeowners have access to a powder room, while the guest bedroom upstairs includes a full ensuite, and the two bedrooms designed for children have Jack and Jill baths. 

The primary bedroom’s exceptionally large primary bath includes an attached walk-in closet featuring custom laminate cabinetry. On the top level, DJK designed an area for children, which features a play area, bunk beds for sleepovers, and a full bathroom. The final bathroom can be found in the basement of the model home and includes a full walk-in shower.

Kittilsen says plumbing choices that offer eco-friendly features are go-tos. This includes toilets and plumbing with WaterSense certification. WaterSense certification from the Environmental Protection Agency means a product uses 20% less water but performs the same as regular models. 

Delta Plumbing

delta showerhead watersense

Delta’s showerheads offer an H2Okinetic Technology, which the company says uses less water yet the user cannot tell. Due to the design of the spouts and high water pressure, users may believe the shower uses more water.

MAAX Bathtub

maax bathtub djk custom homes

MAAX products are entirely made in North America and the company offers bathtubs, showers, sinks, shower bases, and doors. The large freestanding tub in the DJK home is complementary to a large, walk-in double shower.

Caroline Broderick

Caroline Broderick is the associate editor of PRODUCTS.

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