By Nancy Harty

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — A more than century-old greystone in Hyde Park is the most energy efficient home in all of Chicago.

The owner and developer of the two-story home at 54th and Ellis expects certification any day now from Germany’s Passivhaus Institut. The designation requires it meet standards more rigorous than LEED or other designations.

Contractor and owner Mike Conners installed drywall that gets rid of VOCs, triple pane windows and an air barrier that helps keep the home at a constant temperature from the third floor to the basement.

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An inside look at the most energy efficient home in Chicago. (WBBM/Nancy Harty)

“There’s a joke that goes like this – you can heat a house with a hairdryer and cool it with an ice cube – it’s haha, but it’s true,” Conners said.

The stairs are made of oak trees from Skokie and Evanston, further reducing the home’s carbon footprint.

Cement board on the exterior was installed in what’s called an “open rain screen” that keeps water from seeping into the home while helping moisture get out. Conners said that prevents mold – something he saw a lot of after removing materials from a prior renovation.

The four-bedroom, three-bath home is on the market for $1.7 million.

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Energy-efficient heating and cooling system (WBBM/Nancy Harty)

Conners said the price includes solar panels that will make it energy self-sufficient.

“We will produce more energy than this house will consume for all uses – heating, cooling, hot water, lights, computers, the whole nine yards,” he said.

Even without the solar panels, he estimates it would only cost about $1,400 a year to power the 35-hundred square foot home.

That’s compared to $5,900 in a standard renovation home.

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