LEED® for Homes Project Vies for Zero Net Energy: Yannell Residence

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

4895 N. Ravenswood, Chicago, IL 60640  Map

Michael Yannell

Farr Associates

4895 N. Ravenswood

4895 N. Ravenswood

The Yannell Residence is a new two-story plus basement, 2,675 sf home seeking LEED® for Homes Platinum certification. We haven’t seen many LEED® for Homes projects in Chicago (the Mauceri Residence recently earned a Gold certification), mostly because the program has been in pilot phase for years, but the USGBC has finally sent it for final member approval. The home also seeks to be one of Chicago’s first zero net energy homes – a challenging goal that can only be demonstrated by studying a year’s worth of utility data after the home is completed.

Nearly every energy conservation measure possible is applied in order to reach the zero energy goal: spray foam insulation contributes to R-30 walls and an R-40 roof, and triple-pane argon-filled windows provide an exceptionally low 0.17 U-value. An combination mass wall/plenum air return system provides active and passive solar heating, while the remaining heating and cooling are provided by a geothermal system.

The project has received city approval and is seeking state approval for a greywater and rainwater harvesting system that will be used both for toilet flushing and irrigation. The inverted roof visible in the rendering is designed for rainwater collection, but also cleverly hides the solar hot water and solar electric panels that round out the energy approach. This is a nice example of a design statement and two different performance goals all working in tandem.

An interesting feature of LEED® for Homes that doesn’t receive a lot of discussion locally is a durability plan, which focuses primarily on moisture control (e.g. both through the building envelope and in wet locations). This is another example of the increasing overlap between ‘green construction’ and ‘quality construction’ – most of the durability concepts have long been considered best practice, but are still overlooked in the typical spec-built American home.

Finally, there are a variety of site-related green aspects, including 100% pervious paving, two green roofs, and a zero-turf landscape design, which contributes to a planned Certified Backyard Habitat. Other project team members include MEP engineer dbHMS, landscape architect McKay Landscape Architects, structural engineer Senffner & Associates, and general contractor Goldberg General Contracting.

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