• Credit: Courtesy Christian Rushing

What happens when a former city planner puts his time, effort, and money where his mouth is? The first LEED Platinum housing in Tennessee. Chattanooga's Madison Street houses (www.madisonmoderns.com) are designed and developed by Christian Rushing, AICP, LEED AP, a principal with planners Kennedy, Coulter, Rushing & Watson, and built by Collier Construction. The three finished houses (of six planned) are under 1,600 square feet, sited for passive solar, sided with rainscreens, and speced with local, recycled, and renewable materials. And they're bolstering Jefferson Heights in Chattanooga's revitalized downtown, which Rushing helped devise. “As a planner and designer, I've advised clients on how to do the ‘right thing,' and I saw this as an opportunity to walk a mile in their shoes,” he says.

Oh, he's keeping the shoes—Rushing's family occupies one of the houses. The other two are for sale for less than $250,000. “It's not necessarily more expensive to build green, if you make the proper choices,” he says.