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Smart Home Chicago at Museum of Science and Industry

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A three-story house now stands outside the Museum of Science and Industry. But it's not just any home. It's a Smart Home.

The pre-fabricated modular home, which stands where the U-505 submarine was before it moved inside, will open to the public on Thursday. It looks at how we can better use our energy sources.

"This is our Smart Home created as a demonstration of sustainable building materials, sustainable living," said Michelle Kaufmann, architect of "Smart Home".

Recycled wood is everywhere in Kaufmann's design. No trees were cut down for the structure, which has energy efficient appliances. A tank-less water heater provides instant hot water and remote controlled window shades go up and down at the touch of a cell phone. Rooftop solar panels also take a big bite out of the electric bill.

"Right now we're creating more energy ... even on a gray day ... than we are using at this time," said Kauffman.

A green roof provides insulation- and a garden. Plus, a water reclamation system saves rainwater for future use.

"It's really about giving people choices and options to help the environment," said Anne Rashford, Museum of Science and Industry. "It's a message."

Heating, cooling, water and electricity cost the average Chicago bungalow owner about $3,000 a year. The Smart Home cuts that price.

"This home is going to be less than half. It would be about sixteen hundred dollars," said Kaufmann.

For more about the Smart Home, visit MSIChicago.org.

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museum of science and industry, local, frank mathie
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