Cooking Light's Fit House incorporates a lot of green ideas.
Tria Giovan

Eco-Friendly Ideas

You can learn a lot from a house, especially the Cooking Light FitHouse in Chicago. This home is full of environmentally friendly (and dare we say, even responsible) features planned into the construction. Step inside this green living house and come out with some good ideas for your own home.

A central location saves gas and time.
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Location Is Key

While we all can’t live in the heart of town, look for a location where you easily walk or ride a bike to the grocery store or local restaurants and shops. If you’re just going a few blocks, leave the car in the driveway. This house is located roughly two miles from downtown Chicago and close to mass transit (the “El”).

Local stone saves on pollution.
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Exterior Materials

When making selections, keep with the green-building idea of using materials that can be sourced within a 500-mile range of your home. Look for locally quarried limestone and marble rather than having it transported in.

Low-VOC paints and flooring help limit pollution.
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Low-Emission Products

Look for low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, flooring, cabinetry, and insulation. These will not release significant toxins into the air, which could be harmful and cause breathing problems.

Air filters help remove pollutants.
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Heating and Cooling System

Air filters help to remove some of the pollutants in the air, but there are new filters that remove 99% of allergens from the air. This house has multizoned thermostats so the system can maximize efficiency as heating and cooling needs change from floor to floor.

Note: Trane CleanEffects air cleaning system was used in the FitHouse.

Regulating water heating saves a lot of energy.
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Watch Water Use

Regulate water heating to help save energy. In this house, as the demand fluctuates, a processor regulates the amount of water being heated by a high-efficiency, ENERGY STAR qualified boiler. Storage tanks recirculate the hot water, allowing the boiler to turn on less often.

Thick windows keep in heat and out cold.
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Triple-Paned Windows

Besides being some of the most energy efficient available, they also seal out noise.

The rooftop terrace is made of recycled rubber and plastic.
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Recycled Roofing

Although the roof of the FitHouse may look like slate, it’s actually made of recycled industrial rubber and plastic. (Note: This is the rooftop terrace. But you have to admit, it's prettier than the actual roof.)

The kitchen has a chalkboard backsplash.
Tria Giovan

Extra Insulation

Ordinary studs -- supports that hold up interior walls -- are set flush against exterior walls. Here, the studs are offset half an inch, leaving room for insulation between studs and the exterior walls. This extra insulation maximizes heating and cooling efforts to keep your bills low.

Natural light brightens these rooms.
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Natural Light

Clerestory windows help provide natural light, which floods from the penthouse down the staircase to the floors below. The more natural daylight you have, the less electric light you need.

Plants are a good rooftop accessory.
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Rooftop landscaping provides extra insulation, absorbs rainwater, and reduces reflected sunlight.

The wood used on the rooftop deck is recycled.
Tria Giovan

Recycled Decking

Trex decking used on the garage-top terrace is made of a combination of reclaimed wood and recycled plastic (mostly grocery bags).


Adapted From Cooking Light

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