OK so I am sorry about ripping off Nat. Geo. and especially their brilliant photogrphy. Plus the hours that it takes could be better used. Please click the link below and see the photos for themselves.
Joining the mainstream never really interested Frank and Lisa Mauceri. Both proud dreamers even before they met at a Los Lobos concert back in college 20 years ago, the Mauceris use outside-the-box thinking as a creative technique to nurture their eco-friendly life. By merging their record company ambitions and their love of the environment they have created an environmentally inspiring live/work space they hope will ignite the imaginations of their Chicago community and colleagues in the recording industry. Their newly renovated building, a former old corner store and bar located in Chicago’s artistic Bucktown neighborhood, is the United States’ first and only residence that is LEED certified—a green-building rating system designed by the U.S. Green Building Council—generating its own electricity through the use of solar panels and wind turbines, and using geothermal heating and cooling.
Although the couple was on a traditional corporate track—Frank worked as an attorney and Lisa worked in finance—they dreamed of ditching the 60-hour work weeks that were feeling increasingly pointless. As devoted rock-and-rollers, they wanted to dive headfirst into their musical passions. After stints in Cleveland and Reno, the pair decided to reinvent their life in Chicago. “Chicago stood out to us,” says Frank. “The Windy City has one of the strongest green initiatives in the country and is striving to be the greenest metropolitan area in America.”
Photography made possible by National Geographic Image Collection; Dawn Kish, photographer.
With the help of a green-savvy architect, they en a building plan that includes two wind turbines, electric panels, geothermal heating and cooling 1,900-square-foot green roof that serves as the yard. “The wind turbines in combination with th< panels should create at least 40 percent of a electricity we need. Under ideal conditions it will 100 percent,” says Frank. And there’s even a d that the Mauceris’ system might produce more than is needed for their home, in which case trn electricity is distributed back to the city’s energj and they receive a credit on their electric bill. 1
As with any construction project, there were stm blocks. Despite Chicago’s green reputation, the residential height restrictions prohibited buildinj wind turbines. But by working with the city, the c helped Chicago create new ordinances which i exempt wind turbines from the height restriction
“Our neighbors are really fascinated by what’s hap on the roof,” says Lisa. “We had to get the okay them to do the wind turbines, and they were like go for it.’ They had no problems at all.” One of couple’s favorite design features is the use of o record bits in the flooring material, which they hi to create. Frank smashed the records with a ha and then Lisa ground the bits with a blender. *l really personal way to recycle and it really sere ‘us,'” says Lisa.
“I felt, and still feel, that the more people I tell i this way of living, the bigger positive impact I’ll I and the less negative impact we will all have on environment,” adds Frank.
Plan for the Future
The 5,600-square-foot structure offers plenty of room for their record company, Smog Veil Records.
Frustrated by the amount of waste in the music business the Mauceris are running Smog Veil under strict green guidelines. One first
step is starting to release in MP3 format instead of as CDs. “We’re are eliminating the use of jewel cases and using Cardboard packaging instead
, replacing paper press kits with PDF’s. offering downloadable digital booklets from our website instead of CD inserts, and taking the
message of greening the music industry to others in the hopes that they will implement those practices within their business,” says Frank.
In addition to these moves, the Mauceris say they practice the everyday acts that anyone can do: being careful about the amount of energy
they use in the office, recycling paper, and composting. “We’d also like to replace our inefficient delivery truck with a waste-vegetable-oil,
biodiesel, or electric model,” says Lisa. Measuring their efforts is an important part of the Mauceris’ plan.
“It’s important for us to be able to track what our efforts do,” he says. “We’re taking special care to measure how much
paper we’ve used in the past in our business and how much we’ll be using once our
green agenda is fully implemented. “In the music industry, the one thing that’s going to make a difference is showing
that the implementation of green practices within your business reduces your overhead and increases your net profits.
” Like so many people who crave an epic life they can be proud of, the Mauceris kept their eye on the future and harnessed
their dreams. “Now I feel like I can go sleep at night under this very green roof and feel good about. myself, my house, and
the way we choose is Lisa. “If I can make a difference, even if its avery small personal difference, I’m glad to do it.s our
dream come true.”
When asked if she and Frank view themselves as dreamers, Lisa responds with an affirmative
yes: “Absolutely. It’s always important to be optimistic about life and what you’re doing so you’re not stuck in a bubble.
I think you see limitless possibilities when you’re dreaming, and then it gives you excitement
and the vision to keep going forward.”