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This past week, Energy Diagnostics of Valparaiso, Indiana completed the initial LEED accreditation walk-thru for our new single-family residence in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.  These energy auditors are serving as our Green Rater on the project, certifying the LEED process as it unfolds and ultimately, certification. Originally developed as a LEED-Silver project, it appears a Gold certification is readily obtainable.  Sustainable highlights include:

  • a geo-thermal system
  • whole house radiant in-floor heating
  • a rooftop photovoltaic array
  • a green roof with a sizable rooftop vegetable garden
  • insulation that far exceeds energy codes
  • high performing windows from Marvin
  • a storm water rain garden, locally sourced and sustainably harvested hardwood flooring from WD Flooring
  • high percentage of LED light fixtures
  • commitment to recycled and sustainable finishes.


Through these elements it's evident that our owner/clients are committed to setting an example for sustainable urban design in the Midwest.

One issue we've encountered during the LEED process is the lack of a specific category for the LED lighting we have specified.  Our Green Rater has said that he will appeal directly to the USGBC on our behalf for credit consideration.  In this case, special innovation credits will be issued and applied to our LEED point total prior to accreditation.

We believe that we will have the first all-LED recessed-lighted home in the City of Chicago.  Using Tech Lighting's Element fixtures we are able to achieve a very low profile, clean aesthetic across all of the ceilings while also saving tremendously on energy costs.  LED technology, albeit a newer technology in the residential lighting market, is highly energy efficient, reducing yearly energy bills by half as compared to compact fluorescent and with better light quality.  In comparison to incandescent, the savings can be up to 40 times as great.

Stay tuned as the project develops!  The large lot and courtyard design are taking shape.

Additional construction images:[gallery]