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The greenest home in Chicago

Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

I'm always trying to find the next easy thing to do to go green- changing out my showerhead, carrying a nalgene water bottle instead of buying bottled water, or recycling my old running shoes. But one Chicagoan has gone above and beyond those little things and built the greenest home in the Midwest.

I attended a lecture at the Chicago Archictecture Foundation yesterday by one of the home's architects, Farr Associates Jonathan Boyer


Jonathan says the home's green features actually make it so the home produces more energy than it consumes. Its owner, Michael Yannell, still pays an electric bill so that there is electricity to the Northwest Side home. There's also a hefty cost associated with building the home: Jonathan estimates about $500-600 per square foot.


The 2,675 square foot house is designed in a U shape, with one side of the U just one story tall and the other two stories. The connecting foyer has a heating system that can be turned on and off so you don't have to pay for heating in that part of the building during the winter.

The home also re-uses graywater from rainwater runoffs and the bathtub in the plumbing system (Jonathan says they even considered waterless toilets). This was an expensive feature, running aout $40,000 and costing the builders a lot of time in getting approved by the city. The butterfly roof houses photovoltaic panels while allowing them to reflect into the middle of the roof rather than giving off glare to the street.

The home is heated by a geothermal system, which essentially stores the heat given off by the airconditioning in the summer to be used in the winter. A green roof over the garage and planned landscaping give it the finishing touches any green home would need.

A lot of green and architectural blogs have already coverd the Yannell home. Here's a few:








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