THE JETSONS LAND IN CHICAGO
Our client wanted his new-zero-energy home to deliver a message to people of means. Rather than focus on quantity by spending one’s wealth building an enormous energy-consuming home, one could choose to focus on quality, and spend less money commissioning an architecturally-distinctive, right-sized, zero-energy home. In response Farr Associates designed the first home in the Midwest with the rigorous goal of achieving Net Zero Energy—to produce more energy from renewables than it consumes from the grid over the course of a year.
The house is designed to reduce energy use passively: south facing glass maximizes solar gain during cold weather while long overhangs exclude heat during warm-weather. The home’s two east-west wings form a sheltered courtyard. Two-types of solar panels capture energy: photovoltaic panels generate most all of the home’s power needs, solar thermal panels supply heat for domestic water and radiant floors, and a geo-exchange system uses the soil under the house as a heat sink year-round, rejecting heat in summer and extracting it during the winter. Rainwater is harvested through the butterfly shaped roof for all irrigation needs. Despite having a roof designed explicitly to catch rain, the Illinois plumbing codes prohibited using rainwater indoors. As a creative work-around, the home features the first residential greywater system in Chicago, reusing water from the washing machine for toilet flushing.
The project’s design got an enthusiastic endorsement from Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin in the form of a full two-page spread explaining the homes features titled Jetson Green. The project certified as LEED for Homes Platinumwith the then-highest number of LEED credits ever—115.5—making it the greenest home in America.
Client: Michael Yannell
Location: Chicago, IL
Certification: LEED for Homes Pilot - Platinum
Awards: 2009 AIA Illinois Sullivan Award