Our clients desire a flexible, urban, and green home for two that can
accommodate their extended family and friends.
This house will be built on a double lot of 40' x 77'. The lot is situated 3 miles west of the Chicago Loop. It sits in between other vacant lots in an area with turn-of-the-century brick and stone buildings.
Side yards are required to be 4' wide but are allowed to be up to 4' above ground. The rear yard is required to be as least 30’ deep, but 60% of its area can be occupied with an accessory building with a maximum height of 15'.
On the West yard, we will build an open terrace 3' above ground all the way to the lot line. On the East yard, we will provide access from the alley to the street and utility meters, a place for a tree, and a carport.
The dining terrace connects the passer-by to the garden with a visual connection to the canopy tree in it. The building’s façades are draped with ivy. Windows on both the North and South walls give the building a porous feel.
A layer of mosses, herbs and grasses cover the building’s roofs. The accessible green roofs encourage bio-diversity and absorb water runoff, while insulating the interior and protecting the roof from thermal shock and ultra violet deterioration.
We divided the house into four zones. Bathrooms are stacked and ventilated as an isolated area of higher moisture and heat. The kitchen is ventilated as an isolated area of higher moisture, heat and odor. The living and dining spaces are located on the West side of building, where one can enjoy the last rays of the evening sun after work. The detached multi-use space is employed as part of the garden and is occasionally heated and cooled. It will be 11' – 5'' tall to allow as much southern light in the garden as possible.
In summer, the operable windows allow cross ventilation. The tree in the south garden provides beauty and summer shade. In winter, warm sunlight floods the shallow rooms through large south-facing windows. These windows provide a multitude of views to the outdoors.
The aero turbine is an innovative wind-electric generator designed by Bill Becker that is ideal for this residential urban setting. It works well with the variable direction and turbulent winds of Chicago, generating 1500 watts at 30mph. It is self-regulating and generates power in wind speeds between 7 mph and 120 mph. The aero turbine will be placed with its axis running north/south to harness prevailing winds. It uses a safe high-torque / low speed rotation that prevents machine "runaways". Snow and ice are slid out of the turbines instead of propelled. This turbine is quiet because of its sinuous movement. Since its first installation, the aero turbine has a record of zero animal deaths. The aero turbine costs $7,500. This will decrease with time as its popularity increases.
Photovoltaic (PV) Panels:
PV panels are used in conjunction with the aero turbine because sunshine and wind have complementary peak periods, i.e., wind is strongest during the months when sunshine is often weakest and vice versa. Energy from the sun is the most abundant energy source on the planet. The photovoltaic process converts solar energy directly into electricity. We are providing structural support and electrical infrastructure for the PV panels. We will be installing them when their efficiency will reach 25%.
The geothermal system will provide the main source of heating and cooling for this house. Installation involves six fluid-filled loops embedded into 4-inch diameter holes in the earth. These holes are drilled down to the bedrock and filled with bentonite.
The solar heat panels will work in unison with geothermal heating to provide hot water for baths, showers, cleaning dishes, laundry, and radiant floor heating.