In the age of building green and being conscientious about our environment, it can be difficult to look past the newest technologies, building materials and techniques being used to achieve
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
(LEED) certification. While these new buildings boast tremendously low utility costs and feature other green amenities, they can never achieve the built-in value present in historic structures found in neighborhoods like Over-the-Rhine, the West End and throughout much of the city.
Not only do historic structures boast an enormous built-in value, but many historic neighborhoods like Over-the-Rhine were built around pedestrian and other modest forms of transportation. By repopulating these neighborhoods in a sensitive way cities have the chance to capitalize upon the historic and green value the neighborhoods hold.
So while many historic structures must clear the energy efficient hurdle, they are way ahead of the game when it comes to proximity to mass transit, walkability, and natural green design. These opportunities have many Over-the-Rhine advocates looking forward to an entire LEED certified neighborhood.
The first structure of that kind is the Lofts of Mottainai
located at 13th and Republic streets in Over-the-Rhine. The historic 100-year-old structures were completed earlier this year by HGC Construction and the project has achieved LEED Silver status; making it the first in the LEED for Homes Mid-Rise program in Cincinnati's center city.
"Our renovation of these historic structures serves as a perfect model of how older buildings can be brought back to life using environmentally responsible materials to create beautiful and energy-efficient living spaces in an urban setting," said president of HGC Construction
Mike Huseman of the Lofts of Mottainai - which derives its name from aJapanese expression meaning 'something is much too valuable to waste'.
Next on the list is the Belmain
condo project on Main Street which is also in historic Over-the-Rhine. Developers are also working towards LEED certification which they anticipate achieving by the time a certificate of occupancy is issued.
This all comes at the same time that the Over-the-Rhine Foundation
released its "Over-the-Rhine Green-Historic Study"
which examined four prototypical buildings in the neighborhood and asked if it was possible to redevelop the properties in a historically appropriate manner, to be "green," and do so within a budget that would make them sellable in the Over-the-Rhine housing market.
Writer: Randy A. SimesPhotography by Scott Beseler
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