What Apartment Perks Do You Really Want?

A new, "green" Chicago apartment tower recently unveiled some fancy interactive tools for its Web site in an attempt to draw attention in a tough real estate market.

Who can blame them? But do we really need interactive maps and carbon-footprint-tracking software?

New construction apartments are doing what they can to attract buyers, and in the case of Chicago's 215 West, that means beefing up their web presence, even before the building is completed.

The high rise is noteworthy because it will be one of the first LEED-certified apartment buildings in Chicago's LOOP. In a healthier housing market that might have been enough to grab buyers' attention. Not today.

The building recently unveiled fancy web features such as an interactive map that allows users to plan errands based on the carbon footprint they'd produce, and an "interactive furniture arranger" so they can avoid heavy lifting.

Sites like Ecohatchery or CarbonMe allow you to calculate the carbon footprint of your lifestyle in general, but the 21 West map is much more useful new residents to a neighborhood. The map serves a double purpose; informing of what amenities are nearby and enlightening as to which are the closest and require the least use of gas to get to.

And the furniture arranger is useful for the indecisive tenant. It allows residents to experiment with paint colors and to calculate furniture sizes, potentially eliminating the need for an interior designer - or at least reducing the designer's bill.

What apartment perks are important to you?

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