LEED-Qualified Home

An unprecedented green construction project in Wilmette.

We had a singular vision with the homeowners – to build the first certified LEED-H Platinum house in Wilmette, Illinois, without losing sight of the needs of an energetic family of four. This included goals to minimize air conditioning and artificial lighting and maximize natural sources of renewable energy.

To extend sun exposure and bring in natural light, the house was created in an L-shape and includes passive, photovoltaic and solar thermal technology in the design. Large eaves shade the glass in summer months and allow solar gain in the winter.

A geo-thermal system is cross-tied into the solar thermal panels to provide hot water, radiant heat and cooling while the main staircase is open from the basement up to a third floor loft, acting as a chimney for natural ventilation to all floors. This energy efficiency technology is further complimented by insulation that far exceeds code minimums.

Building materials were also sourced to be as energy efficient as possible. FSC certified wood was used for framing, cabinets and trim. Reclaimed barn-beam heart pine was used for flooring throughout and air quality is well tended to by the hardwood surfaces and an energy recovery ventilation unit (ERV.) High-recycle content galvalume was used for a long-lasting metal roof surface.

Moisture is well managed by native exterior plantings and a rain garden in the rear yard to ease site water runoff from storms. Downspout rain chains act as a capillary for rain flow and FSC cedar rainscreen exterior siding allows air to dry all sides of the wood after a rain.

This residence is a testament to effective ways to minimize our impact on the environment while living in guilt-free comfort.

Photography: Leslie Schwartz Photography

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From the Homeowner

"You don’t know what you don’t know on a first build. Thank you for taking real time to explain the “why” behind the options at every fork in the road. We have total confidence that our house is not only high-quality eco-conscious technology but also “high consideration” – having balanced the smart choices for the building’s integrity with our family priorities at every turn."

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