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Harmony House Cat Shelter is Chicago’s First Net-Zero Commercial Building
Designed by Farr Associates and dbHMS, Harmony House for Cats‘ brand new shelter is Chicago’s first net-zero commercial building, and is pursuing LEED-NC Platinum certification. Adorned with a striking bright orange and white exterior, the 7,085 square foot single-story building on the city’s north-west side provides state-of-the-art facilities for its feline residents, and it’s powered by an impressive array of geothermal wells, solar thermal panels, and photovoltaic cells.
Officially opened on July 8, Harmony’s House’s high-performance shelter is constructed around a central courtyard, which provides daylighting for the facilities and allows both human and feline residents to have a constant connection with nature. The no-kill shelter is also cageless, which means, as Harmony House Board President Ann Dieter explained “cats in every room of the new shelter will be able to nap in the sunshine and look out at the trees and plants.”
The expansive facility’s heating and cooling mechanisms are powered by 14 geothermal wells and 20 solar thermal panels, with additional photovoltaic panels to ensure that the building can generate more power than it requires. Harmony House’s new shelter provides the non-profit with three adoption rooms, four special needs suites, a medical ward and a treatment room to support its work caring for and placing around 100 injured and abandoned cats and kittens each year.
Images courtesy Harmony House
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