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Museums: Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry to Build Green Home


During its 75th Anniversary year, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry will build a functioning, three-story modular and sustainable "green" home in its own backyard to showcase the ways, big and small, that people can make eco-friendly living a part of their lives, highlighting unique home technologies for the 21st century.

The home, conceived by Michelle Kaufmann Designs and built by All American Homes, will be the basis for the exhibit Smart Home: Green + Wired, Powered by ComEd and Warmed by Peoples Gas, which will be open from May 8, 2008 until Jan. 4, 2009. This will be the first time that a museum has built a fully functioning exhibit home of this kind on its grounds.

Celebrating exciting new directions in sustainable living and spectacular, environmentally friendly technology, the exhibit will offer guests guided tours of the 2, 500 square-foot home and grounds, located in a park on the east side of the Museum. Within the home, visitors will be able to view the latest innovations in reusable resources, smart energy consumption, and clean, healthy-living environments in a contemporary setting.

With the help of Wired magazine, "smart" technologies will be incorporated throughout the home, including a full-home automation system that allows homeowners to control heat, window coverings, lighting, security sensors and cameras. A touch screen will track electricity and water consumption in the home on a real-time basis. The technologies will demonstrate how a home can inspire lifestyle choices and be equipped to save resources while residents are away, as well as keep a home and its occupants protected. The Smart Home: Green + Wired garage will house the latest in low-emission and energy-efficient vehicles from Honda.

How the Home Will Be Built

The modular home is being constructed at the All American Homes’ modular construction facility in Decatur, Ind. The module structure is constructed on an assembly line and takes approximately three weeks. In this precision-engineered and climate-controlled environment, All American is able to build homes 60 percent faster and in a more environmentally-friendly way than traditional site-built construction.

Home Interior

The interior architecture, which is inviting, sophisticated and family-friendly, will demonstrate the use of natural light, open spaces, energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, and energy-efficient building components to maximize a healthy-living environment. The materials chosen, from the windows to the fixtures to the counters and floors, will tell a compelling story of sustainable engineering and eco-friendly design. Guests will see how rainwater runoff can be collected for landscape irrigation; how toilets can be equipped to use waste water from the shower and bath; how spray-in foam insulation can create a completely sealed building, resulting in better air quality, a quieter home and greater energy efficiency; and how recycled bottles and fly ash can create beautiful bathroom countertops.

Smart Home: Green + Wired is a must-see exhibit for anyone who wants their home, and life, to be smarter, more efficient and more in tune with the environment than it is today. This exhibit will require an additional timed-entry ticket, which will be $10 for adults and seniors and $5 for children 3-11. Advance tickets will be on sale at by Feb. 15, 2008. Smart Home: Green + Wired is additionally supported by sponsors Honda, Motorola and Dominick’s.


About the Museum of Science and Industry.
The Museum of Science and Industry’s mission is to inspire the inventive genius in everyone by presenting captivating and compelling experiences that are real and educational. The Museum first opened its doors on June 19, 1933. In 2008 — more than 175 million guests later — the Museum commemorates its 75th Anniversary with a year-long celebration. For more information, visit the Museum’s Web site at or call (773) 684-1414 or (800) GO-TO-MSI outside of the Chicago.


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