Get Smart: The Smart Home

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Photos Courtesy Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
The Smart Home’s sustainable gardens feature native landscaping, rainwater harvesting, food production and more.

Outside Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, the Smart Home: Green + Wired–a three-story, 2,500-square-foot modular home designed by Michelle Kaufmann Designs and built by All American Homes–features reused and reusable resources and innovative energy-efficiency technologies. It is almost twice as efficient as an Energy Star home and three times as efficient as a typical Chicago bungalow. The exhibit is open through January 4, 2009.


• GREEN ROOF SYSTEM includes a photovoltaic solar film, which provides much of the electricity, and a roof garden to add insulation and reduce stormwater runoff.

• HOME AUTOMATION SYSTEM saves energy and money by simplifying the automated control of lighting, window coverings, heating, air conditioning, audio and security. A motorized skylight turns off air conditioning and opens when it detects a cool breeze.

• HEATING, VENTILATION AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS use narrower ducts than traditional systems, which make the air flow from the vents faster, heating or cooling a room in less time.

• DUAL-PANE, LOW-EMISSIVITY WINDOWS by Pella Windows and Doors optimize energy  efficiency, natural lighting and ventilation, saving 10 to 24 percent on heating and cooling.

Additional features:

• Chandelier is made from recycled light bulbs.
• Icynene spray-in-place insulation reduces energy consumption by up to 50 percent and doesn’t offgas VOCs.
• Concrete bowl is made from countertop over-pours.
• Zero-VOC interior paints provided by Yolo Colorhouse.
• Midcentury chairs from a resale shop were reupholstered in Brentano Fabrics biodegradable faux leather.
• Table is made from fallen ash tree with low-VOC finish.
• High-strength Warmboard tongue-and-groove plywood subfloor panel–combined with a low-mass, radiant heat floor panel–creates a radiant subfloor that heats space with low water temperatures, reducing energy costs by 20 to 40 percent.

For more information on the Smart Home exhibit, visit