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Chicago’s Greenest Smart Home Worth a Visit

March 11, 2010
Home energy-efficiency and eco-awareness are certainly topics and concerns that today’s new home buyers are concerned about. The Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry’s smart home exhibit has been refreshed for 2009 and worth a visit — either for the first time or even if you’ve been there previously. This home of the near-future, built in the museum’s backyard is a study in green sustainability and home monitoring and automation. Built in a modular fashion, the redesign includes a trend-setting bold, new color scheme, the addition of a “green” baby nursery, new technologies, wind power generation and earth-friendly landscaping.
Chicago Museum of Science and Inudstry

Chicago's Greenest Home

The home's modular design adds to its eco-friendliness. The home, open until January 2010, was designed by Michelle Kauffman Designs and built by All-American Homes, and showcases how homes in the near future might use reusable construction and design resources, utilize smart and renewable energies and provide healthy living environments for the inhabitants. The home’s updated landscaping plan includes new techniques for space-saving urban gardening, including vertical gardening and even EarthBox gardening, where food is grown above ground in a highly-controlled environment. According to EcoHome Magazine’s original 2008 coverage of the exhibit, the 2,500 square foot home features an open, loft-like design. The three-story home features a green roof, sliding doors and large windows, and sun shades to help light, heat and cool the home. The home utilizes photovoltaic (PV) film on the roof, generating 15% to 20% more energy than traditional solar panels. The article states that the home’s annual energy consumption is estimated at a cost of $1,977, compared to a typical home of the same size’s $3,230 annual bill, a savings of $1,253. Open spaces and eco-friendly building materials such as bamboo flooring make this one eco-smart home! The home contains building materials that were largely recycled or renewable, including bamboo flooring, recycled glass tiles, LED lighting, biocomposite countertops, Energy Star-rated appliances, air filtration, fiber-cement siding and spray-foam insulation. Conservation of natural resources is accomplished through low-flow shower heads, water-saving toilets and a grey water recycling system that reuses the water in toilets and for irrigation. Home automation and monitoring are also featured, as is digital music server system. Sensors detect when house plants need watering and a energy dashboard allows the residents to monitor and adjust their consumption, based on recorded data. Before you head off to the exhibit, visit the Museum of Science Industry and Industry’s special section of their web site to meet the home’s architect, learn about its home automation “smart” technology and watch a time-lapse video of the home’s construction — four months of building in less than 90 seconds! Certainly, this is a home designed and built on more of a “what if” premise. However today’s buyers of new homes — especially like those being designed and built by CL Design Build— could incorporate many of the technologies and ideas into their home designs. Contact us at our to see how we might bring the home of your dreams to life.

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