West Town GreenStar Retrofit (2219 W. Cortez St.)

The West Town GreenStar Retrofit is a historic landmarked two-flat in Ukranian Village that was converted to an efficient, healthy, and modern single-family home, while keeping interior and exterior historic character details.  Special emphasis was put on indoor air quality and indoor-outdoor connections.

The homeowners are a medical doctor specialized in sustainable healthcare, and a sustainability manager for sports events. Bringing these priorities home, the design focuses on non-toxic materials, good ventilation, low energy and water use, and the biophilic health advantages of light and views of nature.  The kitchen, work, and family zones have views of the sun-filled south garden, an oasis in the urban environment containing native plants & fruit trees, rain garden, vegetable garden, chicken coop, apiary, and a patio.  Outdoor connection and daylighting is also optimized through the skylight on the top level which spill light down the staircase.

Indoor air quality began by ensuring that all materials, finishes, and cabinetry contained no added formaldehyde wood products, Greenguard certified sealants, caulks, adhesives, and non-toxic, zero-VOC paints.  The energy strategy began with effective insulation and air sealing, and included high performance windows and doors, solar thermal (hot water) and solar photovoltaic (electricity production) systems which support electric vehicle (EV) charging and high-efficiency smart lighting and appliances.  HVAC is supplied by a combination of radiant heat (fed by a high-efficiency boiler and infrared radiant floor heat), super-efficient mini-split heat pump air conditioning and heating, and supplemental heat and air conditioning energy recovery ventilation (CERV).

This project is pursuing GreenStar Certification, which is based on the five pillars of green: Energy, Healthy, Water, Materials, and Place.