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Concrete house in Greene County will be energy efficient, tornado resistant

Former Springfield City Councilman Dan Chiles and his family are building the innovative concrete house.

May 16, 2012|by Linda Russell, KY3 News |

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Former Springfield City Councilman Dan Chiles is building an innovative house in western Greene County that he hopes will be an example for others.  The home is designed to be energy efficient and storm resistant.

"It comes from limestone from nearby, and I think it's pretty," said Chiles, talking about his main building material: concrete. 

"Our big challenge as architects is to try to have a home feel with all this technology," said Jennifer Wilson of nForm Architecture.

It's concrete construction with purpose.  The concrete walls soak up the sun's heat and, in this experimental design, do more. 

"Of course, when he first came to us, that's crazy talk," said Dave Robertson of Prestressed Casting Company. 

Chiles wanted the insulated prestressed concrete walls used frequently in commercial construction, but with an additional feature.  Tubing running through the walls lets water control the temperature.

"We have very small circulators that run off the photovoltaics," Chiles said.

"We liked the idea of it, because you're taking concrete, which stores energy so well, and, instead of just passively sitting there and holding that and releasing it, you capture it and do something else with it," said Robertson. 

The home will be attached to the electric grid but most of the power will come from 39 solar panels on the garage. 


"My goal is to be carbon-free and not be part of the problem that's causing the pollution of the planet," said Chiles.

The house's roof will also be green. 

"Where it's not white, it should be vegetation," Chiles said.

A giant culvert will eventually become a 4,000-gallon tank to collect all the rainwater from the roof, which will be used to water plants, and maybe more someday.

The roof even includes a concrete cap to help this home stand the test of a tornado. 

"It's not a FEMA structure because it's got too many windows in it, but we borrowed a lot of ideas from what FEMA requires," said Chiles.

It's a design with the future and environment in mind. 

"That is our ambition, to build something that's extremely long term, structurally sound, and something you can pass on to many future generations," said Chiles.

The Chiles family is using all local materials and labor in constructing the house.  They also have a website all about the construction process and technology used.

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