It used to be a tavern, but now a century-old building at 1825 W. Wabansia Ave. in Bucktown has a new label: the first home in Chicago to go green under new initiative designed especially for homes.
LEED for Homes was launched in November by the U.S. Green Building Council to rate environmental impact and energy efficiency in private residences. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a program developed by the USGBC to benchmark sustainable buildings.
Several existing LEED programs have already been applied to green condo towers around the city, but this program was developed specifically for single-family residences and multifamily properties no higher than three stories. The two-story brick building was the only one in Illinois to take part in the program’s two-year pilot phase.
Owners Frank and Lisa Mauceri live in and operate Smog Veil Records out of the home. After spending time in Cleveland, Ohio and Reno, Nev., the pair sought an eco-friendly locale in which to grow their business, according to a writeup in the Chicago Tribune.
It took a bit of wrangling to convince Chicago officials to change the building codes to allow for the home’s more esoteric features, including two 10-foot wind turbines on the roof. Wilkinson Blender Architecture oversaw the gut rehab of the building, and the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Alliance for Environmental Sustainability documented the project’s sustainable aspects and submitted the paperwork to the USGBC.
The live/work building features a number of other green elements, including recycled construction materials, a green roof, energy-efficient appliances and terrazzo flooring made from recycled vinyl records.
Laureen Blissard, vice chair of the USGBC’s Chicago chapter, has a serendipitous connection to the project: The building was formerly owned by her grandfather, who operated the Wis Tavern on the premises a generation ago.
“When they had the open house in September, they invited my whole family to come,” she recalls. “It was a cool tribute to him – here was his old building, and it had a new purpose and a new use.”