Evanston has many good rental options, including areas close to the Northwestern campus--which would be especially helpful if you don't have a car to get to classes. However, you could also explore areas where easy access to public transportation would work well. Having lived in Evanston for 8 years, I'd be glad to help you find a place.
I lived there for 24 years - great place. Walkability (is that a legal term now?) is superb. Walk from the Southern boundary along Lake Michigan - past the Northwestern University campus and up to Wilmette (the Northern suburb). Gorgeous! Need an agent?... more
I am an agent, but also a general contractor. As a GC, I have worked with clients in the City of Chicago Green Building Permit Program. We've installed Geothermal heating/cooling, high R value recycled insulation products, etc. Green building in my opinion is more of an approach to construction. The first thing to remember is conserving what already exist is a green as you can get. Improvements which relate to the buildings energy consumption are often the most cost effective (and popular with increasing energy cost).
As far as resources go, the US Green Building Council is one very good resource. They offer workshops for members and non-members on tech, methods and products. There is a journal call Environmental Design and Construction which I highly recommend subscribing to, I've attached the link below.
I am not very familiar with Evanston's building department (we do most of our work in chicago), but you may want to ask if they have permitted green projects and see if they will put you in touch with the owner/builders.
I strongly believe that in our particular climate, Geothermal HVAC is the best upgrade that can be made to an existing structure. Combined with a good evaluation and upgrade of the buildings thermal envelope, it is very effective at "greening" older buildings.... more