Local developer shows off 'green' home

December 31, 2010 3:44:28 PM PST
Thomas McGrath wants his house to be certified as the greenest home in the Chicago housing market.

ABC7 visited the North Side property several months ago while it was still under construction to see the guts -- like tubing being installed in the ceiling so the property will have radiant heating and cooling in both the floors and overhead.

"We wanted a very even and uniform heat. There's also some efficiency in that as well, so we use less energy over the lifetime of the building," said Thomas McGrath, developer.

The bare floors have now been covered with a mixture of concrete and up to 50-percent fly ash.

"Fly ash is the left over ash from a coal fire power plant. So you burn coal to produce electricity and there's all this ash left over," McGrath said.

When McGrath set out to renovate the 150-year-old house, recycle and re-use were top priorities. He installed 15 doors that had been donated from the American Bar Association -- some with the etchings still on them. The hardwood flooring is the original four-and-a-half inch plank and the stairs were created from the lath board that once supported the plaster in the walls. He also kept an eye toward energy efficiency is also key.

"It's heated through solar thermal panels that are on the roof of the building. The glycol solution is captured in this tank and it runs up to the ceiling through the roof and heats this 110-gallon holding tank. This tank will heat all the floors and provide all the heat for the building," said McGrath,

The solar panels affixed to the garage are incorporated into the design to create a canopy for the rooftop deck.

McGrath is expecting the home to earn the highest level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council because of his efforts. He should find out whether he hit the target by spring.

"There was a couple of LEED platinum buildings that were built by homeowners, but this will be the first LEED platinum building for sale in the city of Chicago," said McGrath.

A 1,000-gallon cistern was installed beneath the house to collect all of the rainwater from the roofs of the house and garage. That water can be used to care for the landscaping.

To get more particulars about the house visit: elementalbuilding.com


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