Pre-made Chicago Home Aspires to be Green

December 29, 2010

What’s that flying across the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it’s Chicago real estate!

And not just any Chicago real estate. It’s the city’s first prefabricated home that aspires to be LEED Platinum certified.

the home being placed by crane on its foundation

Martin Konopacki Photography took this picture of the prefabricated home being transported to its Chicago foundation.

Square Root Architecture broke ground in Chicago’s West Town in August for the project. While a crew laid the foundation and set up utilities and gas work, another crew created the home in an Indiana factory.

The home was transported on truck beds and placed on its foundation last month via crane at the corner of Ohio Street and Noble Avenue.

Among the home’s green highlights:

*The shell of the home was cost-effectively created to be well-insulated and energy-efficient.

*The home’s utilities will use 50 percent less energy than standard homes.

*There will be individual heating units in each room, so if no one is in a room, the heat can be turned off.

*Hot water will come from a solar thermal system, including two solar thermal panels on the roof.

*The roof will also include a vegetative green roof and deck.

*Energy-efficient lighting and Energy Star appliances will be installed throughout.

*There will be six exterior rainwater barrels.

the prefab home

Square Root's rendition of the prefab house.

Prefab housing is not a new concept. It’s pluses: It’s quick and it uses sustainable materials.

Negative: It can be expensive.

Square Root has attempted to make this project affordable, however.

“We’re trying to be pioneers here and prove that it can be done,” Jeffrey Sommers of Square Root told “It’s the perfect time because of the economy and energy crisis we’re in. People are ready to receive a product like this.

“Our goal is to use this first prefab project as a prototype for energy-efficient and affordable housing here in Chicago . . . and we intend on building many more!”

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