Michael Yannell, owner of this, the greenest-built home in Chicago or perhaps anywhere, is hoping to find out if his $1.6 million experiment will pay off. To ‘pay-off’ would be for this 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home to earn the highest ever LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-Platinum rating by the United State Green Building Council to date. The results of the voluntary third-party certification, a green-building benchmark of energy and resource efficiency standards, are expected to be announced this month.
The Yannell Zero Net Energy Home, while it may be the greenest home ever built, might also qualify as having the most out of the ordinary roof design (perhaps to hide the 48 roof-mounted solar panels?) in Chicago real estate. Located on a residential stretch of Ravenswood Avenue, to say it sticks out amongst the traditional neighboring homes would be an understatement. Designed by the architects of Farr Associates and built by Goldberg General Contracting, the construction wrapped up in early 2009.
The performance of the home, assuming it achieves its LEED-Platinum goals, is astonishing as much as it is expensive. Utilizing virtually every technology available for energy efficiency and resource efficiency, the roof has 48 solar panels. Other technologies include, geothermal heating & cooling, photovoltaic electric system, solar hot water, radiant heat, rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse and a mass wall plenum that will actively and passively heat and cool the space year round. If the design works as advertised, Mr. Yannell should be able to sell electricity back to ComEd.
Other interesting aspects include recycled rafters from the previous structure on the site, countertops made from recycled paper and the practice of xeriscaping (dry adapted plants that are drought tolerant with lower watering requirements) of the exterior gardens.
The homeowner’s website greenhomechicago.com has enough information and thousands of pictures to keep your green-formation seeking self busy for hours. Enjoy!