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Case Studies  > Northwest Illinois Residence
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The insulated concrete wall system is visible from the home’s exterior and complements the stonework along its base.
A family from northwest Illinois turned to Farr Associates to help them design their sustainable dream home. The building is basically one room deep with a long southern exposure. This orientation maximizes winter solar gain and daylighting, while shading blinding hot, east/west exposures. Direct low/high cross ventilation also helps to moderate temperatures throughout the year.

Precast concrete floor planks were leveled with a vaulted topping slab system derived from Roman times. The result is a design that does quadruple duty as the structural floor system, offers thermal mass for a passive solar heating system, provides radiant heat through an airducting system and enhances the beauty of the home with a stained floor finish.

Significant energy savings are achieved through the use of an insulated concrete wall system on the home’s exterior. The wall system is an R-35; whereas a typical 2-by-4 wood frame wall might have R-factor of 13 to 17. This wall system is similar to the adobe homes build by native Americans thousands of years ago, which retained cool air during the day and transmitted stored heat back into the home at night.