Man builds greenest house - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man builds greenest house

CHICAGO (NBC) - Illinois is home to one of the greenest houses in the country, thanks to the determination and sweat equity of Jacek Helenowski.

Helenowski grew up in this home as a boy, and now he's turned this twin house next door into an award-winning, energy-efficient dream home.

It's not cheap to build a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient home, but by doing the work himself Helenowski managed to build his green dream house for only $80 a square foot.

The dry wall is recycled, the insulation is made from soy beans, and the ceiling is made from a burned-out Chicago building.

"Over 90 percent of the project is reclaimed from fires and from the old building," Helenowski said. "If you were to buy that, it'd be a lot of money."

That determination and sweat equity paid off in a net-zero energy home.

"It has zero energy use. It creates as much as it uses. So it is the ultimate of what we need to get to," Congressman Mike Quigley said.

While not everyone can pull this off to this degree, Helenowski feels this "go green" pioneering will pay off for future generations.

Though the Helenowski's home is extreme green, we all can begin with baby steps, such as using energy-saving light bulbs, adding insulation and switching to high-efficiency appliances.

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