Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chicago Home Hides 48 Rooftop Solar Panels

In a traditional Chicago neighborhood, Michael Yannell's new courtyard home has a distinctive butterfly-shaped roof that hides its 48 rooftop solar panels from street view.

This gorgeously green abode, designed to produce more energy than it uses, has other nifty design features. It's composed of two wings that are connected by a foyer, entered via a courtyard. One wing has a two-story living, dining and kitchen space and the other has a den, two bathrooms and three bedrooms.

The private U.S. Green Building Council, which sponsored the conference, gave this project the top or platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) award.

The residence, completed last year and chosen as "This Week's Green House," scored a whopping 114.5 points -- far more than the 90 required for the platinum rating. It has green elements throughout, from its materials with recycled contents --cardboard countertops, Oceanside tile, walnut flooring, Forest Stewardship Council– to its Energy Star appliances, WaterSense plumbing fixtures, green roof and solar power.

"We wanted passive solar to be a large component in heating the home," Yannell told our group, noting the walls of custom-made, triple-pane Marvin windows on the South side that capture the rays but have large overhangs to prevent overheating in the summer. The north side, which has few windows, is mostly a plenum wall of architectural concrete masonry units that hold the solar gain.

The home has a massive 10-kilowatt solar array, composed of 24 panels on each wing. "Most people don't even know they're there," said Yannell, a pharmacist at Rush University Medical Center, citing the V-shaped roof that largely obscures their view. He says they collect far more energy than the home needs in the summer, sending excess power to the grid, which he draws from in the winter.

Yannell also has solar thermal water heating and a geothermal heating and cooling system that's composed of three vertical wells dug 250 feet deep.

All these features and high-end finishes didn't come cheap. Not including land costs, Yannell says he spent $1.6 million ($500 to $600 per square foot) on his dream home, designed by Douglas Farr of Farr Associates and built by Goldberg General Contracting.


1 comment:

Carrie Reagh said...

Amazing! I would LOVE to see every element of this home. Wow.