MSI to debut eco-friendly “green” home

By Nora Yucel

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) will build a fully functional, sustainable “green” home in its own backyard as part of the MSI’s 75th anniversary celebration. The three-story, modular, 2,500-square-foot home, featuring innovative “smart” technologies, will be the centerpiece of the Museum’s Smart Home: Green + Wired exhibit, open from May 8 through January 4.

The home, created especially for the museum by Michelle Kaufmann Designs and built by All American Homes, is the first home of its kind to be built as an exhibit on museum grounds. The exhibit will showcase environmentally conscious designs such as a rooftop garden and solar panels, recycled construction materials, and a sustainable vegetable garden in a modern setting.

In partnership with Wired magazine, the home will also incorporate “smart” technologies like a full-home automation system and electronic touch-screen tracking of electricity and water consumption. Homeowners will be able to control heat, window covering, lighting, security sensors, and cameras as well as trace their home consumption in real-time.

The landscape around the home will be shaped using environment-replenishing concepts and indigenous plant species. Tours will explore the process of building a garden and how it can be used for food, indoor climate control, and water recycling and conservation.

The exhibit is aimed to inspire environmentally conscious lifestyles in the 21st century. “It’s good that this exhibit is happening near the University. Hopefully it will help influence people on campus to consider green building options in all the new construction and renovation projects that have been happening lately,” said Lee Walsh of the student environmental awareness group Green Campus Initiative.

The home will be completed at the All American Homes construction facility and will then be transported to the Museum and set on its foundation in the park on the east side of the Museum in late February. Final interior work, furnishing, and landscaping will be completed in time for the May 8 opening.