• Location
    Chicago, IL
  • LEED Rating Platinum
  • Awards
    ASHRAE-Illinois Chapter – Excellence in Engineering, 2013
  • Owner
    Harmony House for Cats
  • Architect
    Farr Associates
  • Completed

The new, one-story 7,085 sq. ft. shelter is a state-of-the-art facility comprised of open office, cage-free cat areas, adoption areas, and support spaces. It is organized around a central landscaped courtyard for maximum daylight and access for all shelter uses—visually and physically—to nature. It features low-VOC, recycled and regional content finishes, high-albedo paving and roofing, and native landscaping. It also boasts a very thorough and well-designed list of energy-saving and energy-producing features through the careful integration of building systems.

The building HVAC system consists of ground-source packaged heat pumps tied to a 14 bore-hole ground loop. Ventilation is provided through a roof mounted, fixed-plate ERV ducted to the ground source heat pumps. Per the ventilation requirements, the cat spaces are kept at a negative pressure relative to the rest of the building, and the exhaust from the cat rooms is sent through the ERV for energy recovery. The fixed plate exchanger in the ERV prevents cross contamination between the exhaust air and ventilation air. CO2 sensors monitor CO2 concentration in the people-space breathing zone and modulates the outside air intake. Electric unit heaters provide supplemental heat, and roof-mounted exhaust fans provide exhaust for the toilets. Energy-efficient fluorescent and LED lighting is used throughout the space, with day-lighting controls to reduce energy consumption. A net metered, 30.53 kW roof-mounted photovoltaic system consisting of 96,318-watt modules helps ensure the net zero energy goal of the project.

An integrated building automation system with occupancy sensors is used to control the HVAC system and lighting in both cat and people spaces. Additionally, this system monitors the building energy consumption by end-use including HVAC, plug loads, lighting, and hot water. Data from the system is displayed at an energy dashboard in the lobby. It is not only recorded for building calibration, but for daily course-correction of energy use by building occupants. All of these demand-reducing features were critical to achieving a high-performance building and receiving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED©) NCv2009 Platinum level certification.