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Cleveland museum will build a green home

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will construct a home that represents the future of energy-efficient housing. SmartHome Cleveland will be built on Museum grounds and open to the public this summer for viewing in conjunction with an exhibition about climate change.

SmartHome Cleveland was designed using the Passive House methodology, a standard of energy performance. The house will be built using a wall system based on structural insulated panels. Construction should be completed in early June, when it will become a temporary exhibition. 

Designed without a furnace, SmartHome Cleveland will be 90% more energy efficient than a typical home, according to the exhibit organizers. It will be constructed using sustainable materials and furnishings, advanced stormwater and healthy housing techniques, and biophilic design to connect occupants to nature.

Three elements distinguish "passive house" structures from typical houses: high levels of insulation, with walls up to 18 ins. thick; a carefully sealed building envelope with minimal air leakage combined with efficient heat-recovery ventilation for superior indoor air quality; and ultra high-performance windows -- typically triple-paned.

"SmartHome Cleveland will give thousands of people hands-on experience with the most advanced, practical and attractive techniques of green building and energy conservation," said David Beach, director of GreenCityBlueLake Institute, the center for sustainability at the Museum. "It will also raise design standards in Northeast Ohio by increasing awareness of passive house principles, and can help make Cleveland a center for advanced design."

SmartHome Cleveland will be on display from June to September 2011. Afterward, the house will be moved to a lot on Wade Park Avenue in Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood and become available for purchase.

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