Dash Downers Grove Advances Sustainability & Healthy Living with Certifications

Dash Downers Grove, a 167-unit apartment building in Downers Grove, Illinois, features an impressive array of sustainability and wellness features and amenities – and the certifications to go with them.

NGBS: Building for a Sustainable Future

Dash Downers Grove achieved Bronze-level certification within the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). Administered by the National Association of Home Builders, NGBS is a third-party building standard that certifies buildings that demonstrate high-performance in six areas: lot design and development, resource efficiency, water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and building operation and maintenance.

Some of the sustainable features contributing to NGBS certification at Dash Downers Grove include energy efficient insulation systems, roofing materials, windows, HVAC and electrical systems, as well as LED lighting and water-conserving plumbing fixtures.

“We always take environmental impacts and sustainability into consideration when designing and constructing buildings," said Luke Zizzo, Senior Project Manager. “And we build to these standards anyhow. But for many projects, we take it a step further and make it official by documenting and applying for certifications like NGBS."

Fitwel: Living for Better Health

Our team gained Fitwel certification by creating an environment at Dash Downers Grove that enhances the wellbeing of occupants and contributes to a healthy community. Fitwel is “the world's leading certification system committed to building health for all."

In addition to a state-of-the-art fitness center, residents are encouraged to embrace healthy lifestyles in several other ways. Throughout the building, point-of-decision signs promote movement, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Residents are inspired to enjoy fresh air and spend more time outdoors on the large, landscaped amenity deck and a comfortable seating area outside the front entrance.

Fundamental to health, the ability to walk to get everyday necessities can greatly benefit physical fitness and community connections.

Dash Downers Grove is in a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly area of downtown Downers Grove. The Metra rail station is three blocks away and the public bus stop at Main and Grove Street is within two blocks, making public transportation convenient for residents. Residents can take a short walk to multiple restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, a theatre, the public library and other local small businesses. That adds to the allure of living at Dash Downers Grove and benefits local businesses. It also contributed to a high rating for the walkability component of Fitwel certification.

In-House Expertise Delivers Despite Challenges

Dash Downers Grove is the third and final building on the city block, which city officials had previously identified as significant.

“Designed to complement neighboring buildings, the development completes the city block where it resides," Luke said. “It has effectively transformed the neighborhood."

Projects like Dash Downers Grove situated on tight city blocks require thoughtful and astute development and design expertise.

“Vibrant, walkable neighborhoods typically lack shovel-ready sites," said Paul Robertson, Senior Director of Real Estate Development. “Pursing and assembling infill sites, like we did for Dash Downers Grove, requires creativity and persistence."

To secure the land, our team worked closely with the city and local property owners, including First Baptist Church of Downers Grove.

The Church, which has been in Downers Grove for more than 170 years, sold its parking lot for the project. In turn, we included 71 parking spaces reserved exclusively for Church use in the new parking structure. Additionally, proceeds from the land sale provided the church with much needed capital during the pandemic. It was a win-win for everyone.


We aim to positively impact our communities and make them better today and for future generations. We respect the environment and strive to be a good steward, protecting natural resources and reducing potential negative impacts of our work. With LEED accredited professionals in every discipline, we take an integrated, thoughtful approach where green strategies are ingrained in the entire decision-making process. Read more about sustainability at Opus.