The Smart Home

Photo: JB Spector, Museum of Science and Industry

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The Smart Home: Green + Wired
The three-story, 2,500-square-foot Smart Home, an exhibit on the campus of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, is the ultimate "green house." Anne Rashford, the museum's director of temporary exhibits, says the home was built to show people what a fully functioning, eco-friendly home can look like. "Everything works—it is not a prop house," she says. "You could take a shower, you can flush the toilets. All of the appliances work, and that has always been the mission of the museum—to have real artifacts."

The home was designed by architect Michelle Kaufmann to be material, energy and water efficient, as well as comfortable and stylish. Solar panels, a rainwater collection system and a wind turbine are just some of the outdoor furnishings that make this home eco-friendly. The landscape, designed by Chicago area Master Gardeners is organic and features plants native to the Chicago area. "Native plants don't need a lot of water—they are used to our Midwest environment and they thrive here," Rashford says.


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