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Is Your Office Future Proof?

December 18, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

By Matt Baker

“The greenest building is the one that’s already built.” So goes a common mantra in sustainable construction. When a building is ill-suited for today’s way of life, you don’t tear it down, you alter it. This is how vintage structures can maintain their charm while staying relevant in an age that demands more comfort, safety and sustainability. But sometimes this isn’t enough. Preserving the past is one form of sustainability, but so is anticipating the future.
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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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Ed Begley Jr. is Optimistic About the Environment (And He Thinks You Should Be Too)

March 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Baker

“There were no energy saving thermostats then, there were no compact fluorescent bulbs, there wasn’t a fraction of the things that we have today. We’ve come a long way.”

“You don’t run up Mt. Everest,” Ed Begley Jr. likes to say when encouraging people to live as sustainably as they are able, not as they feel that they must. “You get to base camp and you get acclimated. Then you climb only has high as you can.”
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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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