Furnace-Free House


Inside and out, this is a complete “green” house. Designed using Passive House methodology with energy consultant CTI, the house achieves 70% better energy performance than a new built-to-code house, while stylishly fitting the block. Walls and roofs were constructed from 12” Structural Insulated Panels, and triple-glazed Loewen windows completed the high-performance thermal package. Materials and fixtures were selected for efficiency, recycled content, local production, non-toxicity, and durability. Landscape design uses native plantings, a water garden, and permeable paving. As an all-electric house, it uses heat pumps for space conditioning and water heating, and features a pellet stove for supplemental space heating.


“Tom designed our house, which was the first passive house (type) project in Cook County, Illinois. He brought us innovative ideas and followed up on every detail to create a beautiful and functional home that serves as a model in our community. Tom is sincere in his desire to create attractive, environmentally responsible projects that relate visually and functionally to their surroundings. Tom listens carefully, responds to clients’ concerns and communicates effectively with contractors. We’d hire him again.”


Owner of Furnace-Free House, Oak Park, IL



General Contractor
Onewatt Construction


Energy Consultant
Conservation Technology International


Structural Engineer
Ingenii LLC


Third-party Testing and Verification
Green Dream Group


Hausman Photography


Chicago Tribune, May 28, 2019, “Chicago winter without a furnace or gas bill: Passive houses make it possible and are slowly catching on”
Chicago Tribune, February 18, 2011, “No furnace, but the heat is on”
Green Community Connections.org, February 2012, “Green Architecture & the Future of Ecological Design”