In July 2000, the City of Chicago's Department of Environment and Department of Housing invited entries for a national competition to identify creative modifications to their existing New Homes for Chicago program that incorporate innovative, energy efficient technologies and sustainable building practices. F10 House's entry was one of 10 selected from a field of 70 domestic and international submittals for a second Design Development phase. F10 House's cutting edge design was one of five case-study designs chosen for construction and was completed in summer 2003.
F10 House is based on a concept developed in the mid-1990s to address a global environmental crisis brought on by human activity that is causing a projected mass extinction of 1/5 of all living species in the next 30 years. Buildings are a major contributor to this crisis. They consume 42% of all energy, 30% of all raw materials and create 40% of all air pollution. Using the four strategies of size reduction, improved efficiency, extended life span and impact reduction, F10 House strives to reduce life-cycle environmental impacts by a factor of 10 compared to the average home built in America today.
F10 House demonstrates to the general public that sustainable design doesn't have to look any different than traditional housing. It revitalizes the community by utilizing a vacant lot and motivates the surrounding neighborhood citizens to make improvements to their own homes. F10 House's energy-efficient features, such as the passive ventilation system, solar chimney, and sod roof, demonstrate to the local, regional, and national community that sustainable design can reduce environmental impact as well as living expenses. With the Neighborhood Housing Services' six open houses, neighborhood citizens were able to tour F10 House to learn new ways to improve the efficiency of their own homes.
Although there was no formal community planning process, the community was very involved throughout the project, from the local alderman's endorsement to strong community participation in the public open houses. These open houses drew large crowds and positive responses from the local citizens. In addition, F10 House is featured in the Chicago Architecture Foundation's educational resource, Schoolyards to Skylines: Teaching with Chicago's Amazing Architecture. This booklet is designed for teachers of kindergarten through eighth grade to give students a tangible connection to their city using buildings, sites, and people in the region.