Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry has created a functioning, three-story modular and sustainable "green" home in its own backyard to showcase the ways that people can make eco-friendly living a part of their lives.
The home -- which was designed by Michelle Kaufmann Designs(TM) and built by All American Homes(TM) -- is the basis for the original Museum of Science and Industry exhibit Smart Home: Green + Wired, Powered by ComEd and Warmed by Peoples Gas, which is open from May 8, 2008, through Jan. 4, 2009.
This marks the first time that a museum has built a fully functioning exhibit home of this kind on its grounds. And after a comprehensive review of the home's plans, materials and design in relation to the City of Chicago's Chicago Green Homes Program, the Smart Home has also been named "Chicago's greenest home."
The exhibit offers guests guided tours of the 2,500-square-foot home and grounds, located on the east side of the Museum. Within the home, guests are able to view the latest innovations in reusable resources, smart energy consumption and healthy-living environments in a contemporary setting.
With the help of key participant Wired magazine, the home will incorporate "smart" technologies, with a focus on energy efficiency, making greener choices and homeowner awareness. For example, first thing in the morning, the home's automation system clicks on lights, raises the shades and cues wake-up music. The motorized skylight in the ceiling opens when detectors sense a cool breeze (saving air conditioning) and digital electronics in the plants send voicemail when they need water.
The interior architecture demonstrates the use of natural light, open spaces and energy-efficient building components. Guests learn how storm water runoff can be collected for landscape irrigation, how recycled glass bottles can create beautiful bathroom tile--and more. The interior also includes unique furniture and accessories, including a couch covered in fabric made from recycled t-shirts and an ash dining table made with wood from a fallen tree.
Landscape and Green Roof
In the Smart Home's native and sustainable landscape, guests explore the possibilities of a sustainable vegetable garden, rain gardens and other vegetation--how they can be used for food, indoor climate control and water conservation. The home's roof is covered by a green-roof garden as well as photovoltaic film, which will harvest daylight and provide much of the home's energy.
Smart Home: Green + Wired is a must-see for anyone who wants their home, and life, to be smarter, more efficient and more in tune with the environment. For the full release and images, visit http://www.msismarthome.org. Smart Home: Green + Wired, powered by ComEd and warmed by Peoples Gas, is also sponsored by American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; Dominick's; and the Motorola Foundation.