Energy Engineer’s House | 2619 North Central Park Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 view map
This home demonstrates major renovation on a limited budget to create a safe, comfortable, and cost effective living space

SIZE: 3,900 square feet

Exterior Insulation
LED light fixtures
3-zone control system
Energy recovery ventilator
New power ventilated water heater
Low flow fixtures
Hot water re-circulation pump
ENERGY STAR appliances
Installed conduit to roof for future PV

ComEd Rebates and Discounts


The Energy Engineer’s House was built in 1908. At that time houses were not insulated at all. Wagons came around to dump piles of coal in the basement for heat and cooking. Indoor plumbing and electricity were available but uncommon.

There had been only two previous owners. While they did add a few modern amenities over the years, by 2014 everything was at end-of-life. For better or worse, not much had changed in over 100 years. However, there was potential; the structure was sound, the original woodwork was beautiful, the basement had high ceilings, and there was a huge unfinished attic.

As the homeowners started a family, this home was under a tight renovation budget. They wanted to preserve and honor the historic character while upgrading the comfort and energy performance, providing a more open layout, and creating a kitchen fit for two cooks.

They chose to focus their efforts on insulation and sensible infrastructure upgrades instead of fancy features and finishes. They sort-of stayed on budget, accomplishing everything for less than $80/sf.

Although the owners had help from some talented professionals, they did a lot of the engineering, design, and finish carpentry themselves. They refurbished and reclaimed where they could and are still working on decorating.

Despite heavy everyday use by 5 people, the home performs wonderfully. It operates at a zero-energy-ready level, or about 40% the energy use of a typical home. This home is extremely comfortable, with the residents walking around barefoot even when there’s a polar vortex outside.