The Cooking Light Magazine FitHouse in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

CHICAGO - Once a year, the consumer magazineCooking Lightgets involved in building what it calls a FitHouse that focuses on “a healthy and balanced lifestyle” as well as “green building standards.” The concept began in 2002 with a home in Hoover, Ala., followed by projects in Big Canoe, Ga.; Castle Rock, Colo.; Austin, Texas; and Atlanta.

The 2007 FitHouse that debuted this month was targeted for the upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood on Chicago’s north side near DePaul University.

To meet the healthy and balanced criteria, the FitHouse has indoor and outdoor kitchen space, wine and juice bars, rooftop decks, a home theater with motorized screen and room darkening shades, a home fitness center, steam room, body spa, and a penthouse Zen (meditation) room with natural lighting and an intentionally technology-free approach with the exception of speakers for music if desired. And there are two outdoor Zen patios with one being for conversation and the other for solitary reflection.

The green aspect was part of the effort to make the FitHouse a prototype for Chicago’s proposed residential green building standards. It has a dry river bed that collects rainwater for landscape irrigation, and rooftop decks that are composed of more than 50 percent planted material for optimum roof insulation. There is recycled leather tile in the powder room, 90 percent post-consumer waste carpet in the basement, recycled tire rubber flooring in the exercise room, recycled compressed paper countertop in the wine bar, and woven outdoor chairs and tables made of recycled materials.

Then in the green equation is the critical heating and air conditioning for a home in a Northern city renowned for its wide ambient temperature ranges.

Here the developers of the project called upon Trane, wholesaler distributor Mid-Way Supply of Zion, Ill., and Deljo Heating & Cooling of Chicago, an Independent Trane Comfort Specialist dealer.

Bob Clement of Deljo Heating & Cooling checks out the basement HVAC system in the Chicago FitHouse.

The HVAC participants’ part of the project was not only to provide year round indoor comfort, but also to do so while reducing energy bills and improving IAQ. The equipment included Trane XV90 furnaces that convert over 90 percent of fuel into usable heat to warm the home more cost effectively; Trane XL19i heat pumps; Trane CleanEffects™, an air filtration system designed to eliminate up to 99.98 percent of allergens from the filtered air and trap particles down to .1 microns in size, Trane Total Home humidifiers, and Trane Total Comfort controls.

Deljo President Bob Clement and his crew installed two systems in the four-story, 5,000-square-foot-home that is rectangular-shaped to fit the available land.

One system is in the basement to meet the needs of a bedroom, office, the recreation room with the movie screen, and the exercise room (with sauna) on that level as well as the main floor above with a dining room, kitchen, and family room. The second system is on the top floor. It addresses the needs of the aforementioned Zen room as well as the three bedrooms and three baths on the floor below.

Posing in front of the system on the top floor of the Chicago FitHouse are, from left, John Malec, then a territory manager for Trane; Bob Clement of Deljo Heating & Cooling; Penny Burrow of Mid-Way Supply; and Adam Tolan, territory manager for Trane.

Clement, whose company has 45 employees including eight service techs and 12 installation crews, worked with John Malec of Trane to evaluate the complex sizing requirements and design a system to meet the unique needs of the somewhat oddly shaped multistory residence that also had to have high quality indoor air.

Kohler products were used for much of the plumbing, including showerheads with DTV interface for personalization, steam units, and hydromassage.

The house opened in early June for tours for several months but also was put on the market by City View Real Estate Group, the general contractor. Initially, speculation was that it would carry a $3.5 million price tag.

Information on Trane is available at; Kohler at; and general information on the house at

Publication date:06/25/2007