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Chicagoland’s First Passive House

December 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

While it was popularized—and now thrives—in Germany and Scandinavia, the passive house concept actually started in the 1970’s, at the University of Illinois. The technology stagnated in the US after the energy crisis receded, though it took off in Europe.

But, as more developers and consumers in this country accept sustainable architecture, the search is always on for the next superlative in green building. Currently, a passive house truly is the greenest option for new construction. It will likely be some time before another technology dethrones it.

So when the Lema Family decided that they wanted to build a durable, super-efficient home, it wasn’t long before they decided to build a passive house in suburban River Forest, the first certified passive house in the Chicago area.
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The Superior Wall System That You’re Not Using

March 15, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

By Matt Baker

Slice any single-family house built in the last hundred years in half and you’re likely to find the same thing again and again: dimensional lumber and fiberglass insulation. It has been the standard way to build for so long, it seems at times like it may be the only way.

But stick-built homes have many flaws. they don’t hold up to powerful storms, for example, and are susceptible to termites, mold and fire. And it’s not just safety issues. They are hard to effectively insulate and guard against air and moisture infiltrations. Even if you are able to put in stellar insulation, every stud is a thermal bridge that allows unwanted heat to seep in or out, depending on the season.
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