Harmony House for Cats’ new shelter isn’t just doing something good for Chicago’s felines — it’s also doing something good for the planet.


The no-kill animal shelter is slated to be the first Net-Zero Energy commercial building in the city, meaning the amount of energy created by on-site renewable energy sources annually is greater than amount of energy the building uses. In addition to its Net-Zero Energy status, the shelter is also pursuing LEED Platinum certification.


The 7,085-square-foot shelter is powered by 14 geothermal wells, 20 solar thermal panels and 96 solar photovoltaic panels, and it features three adoption playrooms, three admission rooms, four special-needs suites and a medical ward. Designed around a landscaped courtyard, the building also provides virtually every room with natural light and outdoor view that both the cats and the volunteers can enjoy.


“The spacious rooms give the cats more room to play and lots of sunlight, and they adore looking outside at people and dogs passing by. Cats in every room of the shelter will be able to nap in the sunshine, and look out at the trees and plants,” said Harmony House Board President Ann Dieter.

The new shelter, which was funded by an anonymous donor who wants to inspire others to incorporate green technology into buildings, also has other energy-saving features, including sensors that turn off lights when a room is unoccupied.


“The building provides a sustainable operational future for Harmony House through the construction of a high-performance building that provides a replicable model to other nonprofit organizations,” said Dieter.


“It’s like a dream come true for the cats and the staff and volunteers that raise funds and care for our cats.”


Harmony House for Cats is a cageless, no-kill shelter that rescues and places about 100 injured or abandoned cats annually. For more information about the organization, visit hhforcats.org.


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