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updated: 4/11/2013 4:55 PM

Geo exchange efficient system energizes Fabyan Villa Museum

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Hannah Walters

Geneva IL-- When the Fabyan Villa Museum reopens next month, visitors won't see any major changes, even though the historic house has undergone a major systems upgrade.

"That was a main goal in the design of the new heating and cooling system", says Lynn Dransoff, director of the Villa Museum. However, the Villa museum and its visitors will experience the benefits of a state-of-the-art geothermal system that was installed this past fall in the Villa Museum, a 100+ year old Frank Lloyd Wright redesigned house. The new system utilizes water for both heating and cooling, and will remove the extremes of heat, cold and humidity from the interior environment, providing protection for the interior structure and artifacts and comfort for visitors, volunteers and staff. Staff working in the museum this winter has noticed the even and responsive heating of the system.

The mechanicals for the historic house were placed in the basement and underground, and reproduction floor grates were used where new ductwork needed to be vented.

The project was funded with grant money secured by Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, which operates the museum and funds from the Forest Preserve operating budget. The system was designed by Mark Nussbaum of Architectural Consulting Engineers, in collaboration with Johnson-Lasky Architects. Both firms have extensive experience with similar projects, including the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield and Ragdale House in Lake Forest.

The Villa Museum, located in the Fabyan Forest Preserve on Rte. 31 in Geneva, will open for tours beginning May 1st. Visit for details.

Preservation Partners is sponsoring a presentation on the new system this Saturday (April 13th) at 10 a.m. Mark Nussbaum will address "Historic Buildings and Green Technology-renewal from the ground up" at the Villa Museum. Call 630-377-6424 to register or for additional information.

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