Three-Story Single Family with Green Features

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

2202 N. Orchard, Chicago, IL 60614 Map

Private Residence

Dirk Denison Architects

2202 N. Orchard

2202 N. Orchard

The Orchard Residence is a 9,700 sf, 3-story plus basement single-family home currently under construction (6,600 sf with basement and garage). This is the largest home we’ve covered yet and is certain to raise some eyebrows because of the materials and energy consumption associated with such size, although it is worth noting it will be home to a large family. Most customer luxury projects include advanced features such as renewable energy equipment or ground-source heat pumps, but the green features on this home are mostly the basics.

The most advance energy feature here is the use of spray foam insulation (still unusual although increasing in popularity). There are also automatically controlled shades – something only affordable in high-end homes, but allowing shades to automatically lower and reduce heat gain as the sun moves around the building. Water is stored and reused for irrigation – normally rain barrels are used on a home, but here a concrete tank is incorporated in the basement design. There is also a green roof on top of the (four-car) garage. Beyond these, there’s the usual low-VOC finishes, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and FSC-certified wood. A note on FSC wood: I recently learned that Home Depot will soon begin training sales staff and clearly labeling FSC wood – the product has been available at Home Depot for a while but no one could tell you what was certified and what wasn’t!

Finally, although I avoid playing architecture critic, I must point out the context of this project – it is a few blocks north of the area experiencing controversial development of even larger homes on much larger lots (more here and here). Given that context, this project is almost modest!

Other project team members include MEP engineer BES, structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti, landscape designer Douglas Hoerr, lighting designer Filament 33, and fish tank consultant Bryan Schuetze (there is an extensive aquatic collection and a basement room dedicated to equipment for the fish tanks!).

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