This is a refreshing story of a another innovative green home in Chicago.  Frances Whitehead and James Elniski recently had their green home featured in NY Times.  It’s a fantastic rendition of green adaptive reuse.  Check the images of the living rooftop and two twirling turbines (by Windside).  Those turbines cost about $40,000,including installation, and provide about $500 per year in savings.  Still, the owners don’t mind the payback of 80 years because their perspective is guided by the realities of a carbon cluttered world.  Drastic times require drastic actions?

This live/work residence has some of the following green features: cellulose insulation, geothermal heating and cooling, solar thermal hot water and cooling, photovoltaic panels, rainwater collection cisterns, and water-saving appliances and dual-flush toilets, etc.  Perhaps the greenest feature of all is that the building used to be a blighted, 3000 sf, brick warehouse on a chunk of land with a contaminated underground gasoline storage tank.  Ugh … removing USTs can be nasty, expensive, and fraught with administrative burdens, too. 

Or maybe the greenest feature about this project is the occupants that made it happen.  For instance, take this exchange from the NY Times — does it get any greener than this? 

“When people ask me why I have those wind turbines, I always wonder why they don’t have them,” Ms. Whitehead said. “It’s like when Thoreau was in jail for an act of civil disobedience and Emerson visited him. ‘Henry,’ Emerson said, ‘Why are you in jail?’ To which Thoreau replied, ‘Ralph, why are you not in jail?’ ”

We, including myself, do a lot of talking about the costs associated with environmental action, but sometimes, you just pay the price, whatever it is.  Wouldn’t you say?

Source Inspiration:
++Whitehead-Elniski Residence [GreenBean]
++In Chicago, Tinted Green [NY Times]
++The New Face of Green Design [Chicagoist]



Snow Turbines



Photo Credits: Michelle Litvin + The Green House Chicago + GreenBean.