Sustainability was among the major themes at this year’s Chicago Build Expo. More and more architects and builders have been striving to create more eco-friendly projects but questions and challenges still remain.

“I think one of the main obstacles right now is knowledge. Making sure people [are] aware of the benefits of achieving a net-zero efficiency and also making sure people understand ‘what are the ways one can reach net-zero?’,” María Laguarda-Mallo, a project manager at VIATchnik, LLC said.

There is also a question as to whether creating net-zero buildings is economically feasible for certain areas in the United States, but according to Nathan Kipnis, Founder and Principal of Kipnis Architecture+Planning there are plenty of affordable options for residential and commercial builders today.

“After all the incentives, it might be, for a large home, it might be $15,000. That is comparable to maybe the cabinet upgrade in the kitchen. It’s like nothing. It’s crazy not to do it,” Kipnis said.

However, Kipnis admits that there is still a significant amount of work to be done to make green buildings more popular.

“I think that’s the real challenge now, is to get these materials that are lower-carbon to produce and have long life and are still great materials,” Kipnis said.