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Ecologically Conscious Intentional Community Green Home Tour

Mon, Apr 24, 2017 @ 03:14 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Green Building, Green Home Tours, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, Green Home Design, Ecologically Conscious Intentional Community


 Earnshaw Ecohouse 600.jpg

WHAT: Earnshaw Ecohouse, USGBC Green Home Tour
WHERE: Address will be sent after registering, Mt. Auburn, Cincinnati
WHEN: Wednesday April 26, 2017 6 to 8 pm

This conscious community home’s goal is to be off the grid in 2017. You’ll learn some simple but very effective ways to limit energy use as well as reduce water consumption and eliminate waste. Their garden is an example of permaculture principals. All within a very low budget.


Earnshaw Chicken Coop IMG_9024 600-1.jpg

From their site, "The Earnshaw Ecohouse is an ecologically conscious intentional community. Our mission is to model and promote community sustainability and become an off-grid household by 2017 through four key practices:

  • reducing consumption,
  • providing and advocating for the care of local ecosystems,
  • supporting local enterprise, and
  • facilitating dialogue about sustainable communities

Earnshaw Gray Water 5 Gal Buckets IMG_9027 600-1.jpg

The community mission of the Earnshaw Ecohouse is to foster cooperation and sustainability among our Mt Auburn neighbors. Our work in the community begins by identifying existing community projects. Whenever feasible, we will integrate our own resources to nurture our neighbors’ projects or we will develop new projects."

Earnshaw 250 Gal Rainwater Tank IMG_9039 600-1.jpg 

Our host, Robbie Ludlum, "From Cincinnati originally, I joined the Air Force at age 18 which allowed me to see some of the world and live abroad while turning wrenches on jets.  After 6 years I was honorably discharged and began a few years of traveling which include backpacking Europe extensively, spending a year living on the side of the road while I cruised the States on my motorcycle, and going on a winter expedition through northern Maine traveling via snowshoes and toboggan. Currently I’m majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Environmental Studies at the University of Cincinnati. I’m most interested in living off grid and being a part of a community of like-minded people."

About the Green Residential Committee of the Southwest Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Coucil - Mission: To provide education on sustainability in everyday tasks by promoting household environmentally sound practices to transform the way homes are designed, built, and operated enabling healthy, prosperous and environmentally and socially responsible living.

Committee Chair: Toni Winston, Tiburon Energy

Contact to Volunteer or Participate: toni@tiburonenergy.com

Green Home Tours: No charge for USGBC Ohio members (you can bring a guest), join the Ohio Chapter. If you don’t have a USGBC Ohio membership registered account, go to www.usgbc.org and click on “Account” in the upper right. A window will come up, click on the “Don’t have an account? Create one.” Once you register your free account, you should be able to pay your dues for the “USGBC Ohio Chapter”. You don’t have to register as a USGBC business. Non-members are asked to donate $15 per person at the door. Contact Chair Chuck Lohre to register for the tours or be introduced to any of the owners of past and future tours, Chuck@Lohre.com, 513-260-9025. Sponsored by The Sustainable Partnership of Cincinnati, a group of businesses offering sustainable products and services to create sustainable homes and offices. Learn more at www.tspcincy.com.

Learn more and see all past and future tours.

Sincerely, Chuck Lohre

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Adaptive Reuse: New Life for Old Buildings

Mon, Apr 03, 2017 @ 09:48 AM / by Krista Atkins Nutter posted in Green Building Marketing, Green Building, Green Home Tours, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, Green Home Design, Adaptive Reuse


Adaptive-Reuse-2.jpgI'm excited to introduce you to this cool project in Vermont, so I thought I might as well do an entire article about adaptive reuse design.  Adaptive reuse is exactly what it sounds like - it's taking an old, abandoned, or derelict building and adapting it and making it useful for another purpose.  I'm sure you've seen this done many times in your area, like when an old school is turned into apartments or condos, or an old train station is turned into a museum.  Most often, the building has some historic or significant value, but it can even be turning an old warehouse into lofts or condos.  Adaptive reuse is a significant contribution to sustainable design by reducing the use of resources, reducing waste, saving historically significant architecture, and re-connecting a place to its past and community.

(The carcass of the abandoned Moran Municipal Generation Station, on Burlington's lakefront, inspired Tad Cooke (left) and Erick Crockenberg. Their charge: Turn the cavernous interior into an "innovation space." | Photo by Bear Cieri)

The exciting project I'm talking about comes from two college guys in Vermont.  Needing a capstone project for their degree, the two paired up and proposed a project to convert an old coal power plant into a cultural center in their Vermont town.  Not only was their project proposal approved for their capstone project, but they also contacted the mayor and other major players in town to propose the project in actuality - which rarely happens with college capstone projects!  Here's a link to the project: Senior Project | Sierra Club   Check out their project, but make sure you come back here to read below about some of the significant adaptive reuse projects we have right here in Cincinnati!

Adaptive-Reuse.jpgThere's a lot of reuse going on in Cincinnati - you can see my post here about the 19th century brewery in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood being converted into a music venue and cultural hall.  There's also the 1915 Ford Manufacturing Plant on Lincoln Ave. in Cincinnati.  Now housing engineering offices, it once was the manufacturing location for Ford Model A's and Model T's.

(Photo is by John Leming, "Just so that you can see the similarities in design, here is the restored plant in Cincy. These plants were designed by Albert Kahn, and they represent early reenforced concrete construction. The Cincy plant is on the National Register. Again, the Benson Ford supplied me with more information than one could possibly expect.")

There's also the Precinct Steakhouse, a high end restaurant created in the old Cincinnati Police Patrol House Number 6 in the east end Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood.

And one certainly can't forget Union Terminal on the west side - now housing the Cincinnati Museum Center (which is the Cincinnati History Museum, the Cincinnati Children's Museum, and the Cincinnati Natural History Museum).  It also still serves as the Amtrak station.  It's still one of the most beautiful examples of Art Deco architecture in the world.

Adaptive-Reuse-Cincinnati-Art-Academy.jpgAnother truly unique project that's local to Cincinnati - is the old Home Quarters home improvement store in Oakley that was converted into a Crossroads Church by Champlin Architecture.

And of course I shouldn't forget the Bavarian Brewing Company's building over in Covington, Kentucky that was converted into a night club and entertainment complex called Jillian's.  Jillian's is gone, but the building is still there - I believe it might even be available.  Any takers?

(Photo of another adaptive reuse project in OTR Cincinnati, the Art Academy of Cincinnati. It was one of the first LEED Certified projects in Cincinnati. Photo by Chuck Lohre.)

Adaptive reuse is part of the urban revitalization that's happening all across America.  Find out what's happening in your town and do what you can to support it!


Nutter Residence.jpgAbout the author: Krista Nutter, (LEED AP, MS Arch, NCIDQ ) is a design educator and administrator at a CIDA-accredited program, a sustainable building consultant, and designer/owner of an award-winning, Energy-Star 5+, passive solar, solar electric, high-performance green home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her home was on the USGBC Cincinnati Green Home tour in 2015. Learn more about it at the house blog.)

If you would like, "To do the right thing" Send Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy's Chuck Lohre an email and he'll treat you to lunch and a ...

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Hampton Residence - USGBC Green Home Tour

Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 03:04 PM / by Krista Atkins Nutter posted in Green Building Marketing, Green Building, Green Home Tours, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, Green Home Design


Hampton Residence 2.jpgThe Southwest Ohio USGBC Residential Green Building Committee’s March 2017 tour showcased the Hampton Residence on Walnut St. in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, an 1860 Italianate structure with three full floors, an unoccupied attic loft, roof-top deck and a full basement. The home was originally built as a 6-unit tenement property, but has been renovated into a single family home. The hosts of the tour were owner/architect Steve Hampton and his wife Jennifer Parr. From the beginning of the tour presentation, it was clear that visitors would be learning lessons in patience and compromise.

Hampton Living Kitchen.jpgHampton purchased the property in 1999 for $5,000. At that time he stabilized the structure and rebuilt the roof to make the structure water tight. The rest of the renovation would have to wait, as Hampton worked on other projects and as he says, “life got in the way” for a while. After 15 long years of patience, and plenty of time to perfect the design in theory, the time became right to begin the restoration in earnest. The renovation was essentially a total gut renovation with Hampton salvaging as much of the original building as possible. The owners began by opening up the interior and addressing the energy efficiency and sealing of the building envelope. They chose high efficiency dual-pane replacement windows with true divided lites in a matching pattern to the original windows, and a product called InSoFast, a foam insulation panel, to insulate the interior side of the original 8 to 12 inch brick masonry exterior walls. The south shared “party wall” of the home (the wall the home shares with the adjacent building) was left as exposed brick. The roof was insulated with 9-10 inches of closed cell spray foam insulation, and a new basement floor slab was poured over two inches of foam insulation, after drainage and waterproofing measures were completed.

Hampton Living Above.jpgThe primary heating source for the residence is zoned hydronic radiant floor heating supplied by a 95% efficiency natural gas fired boiler located in the basement. Each floor is designated as a separate zone with its own thermostat, as is the master bathroom. The boiler also supplies hot water to the domestic hot water system throughout the house as well. Another feature on the domestic hot water system is a closed loop recirculation system to keep the water in the lines - so that fixtures on the upper floors, far away from the basement boiler do not have to waste water by needing to wait for cold water to run out of the lines before the hot water arrives on the fourth floor powder room. To install the radiant floor heating, PEX flexible plumbing lines were installed on the existing subfloor and were then embedded by pouring 1 ½” of gypcrete or a type of lightweight concrete, followed by a glue-down ¾” tongue and groove oak wood floor. The original wood floors having been lost to water damage allowed the home owners to use the gypcrete product which, because of its thermal mass, increases the efficiency of the radiant system by assisting the heat distribution evenly. Gypcrete also provides significant acoustic sound reduction, fire resistance, and floor leveling. For back up heating (on days when the radiant system might prove to be too slow to respond to Cincinnati’s significant temperature swings, there is a heat pump and air handler which also provides ventilation and air conditioning in the summer. The home also features a Heat Recovery Ventilation unit (HRV) to increase efficiency of stale air removal, and fresh air intake and distribution. The air handler and HRV are located in a mechanical closet on the unoccupied fourth floor.

Hampton Master.jpgThe layout of the home is a significant change to a home of this era. Hampton and Parr revealed that a compromise between modern and historic details played a significant role in the entire renovation – including the layout of spaces. Upon entering the side entrance to the first floor of the residence, visitors are welcomed into a small foyer with a staircase leading to upper floors. To the front of the house is a home office and to the back of the house is a bath and guest bedroom. In the foyer is also access to a set of stairs leading to the basement. Taking the stairs to the second level, visitors find the master bedroom and bath, a main bath, and an additional bedroom. Continuing up to the third level, visitors reach the main living area including the living room, kitchen, dining area, and den. The stairway continues up to the unoccupied fourth floor where there is access to the mechanical closet, loft overlook, powder room, and a door to the rooftop deck. The central core on all floors from basement to the fourth floor is a future elevator shaft. Currently, the shaft serves as a huge storage closet on each floor. The floor structures on each floor of the closet can be removed to accommodate a residential elevator, and an elevator pit was planned in the basement when the new slab was poured. The possibility of a future elevator speaks to the planning and importance placed on longevity as a concept of sustainability. (You can read my article about longevity as sustainability here. You can use this link, or the one from Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy once you post the Longevity article there)

Hampton Baby.jpgThe Hampton Residence also illustrates how historic properties can support sustainable concepts. Consider material reuse, the use of local materials (bricks, lumber, etc.) and labor, and a design that emphasizes natural ventilation. In addition, the home’s location is located within a densely populated urban area, near public transportation and services, so it fares favorably in the Neighborhood and Linkages areas of the LEED for Homes rating criteria. The project is currently in the approval phase of LEED H Certification, and Hampton is hopeful for the anticipated LEED Silver approval. The city of Cincinnati tax abatement for LEED certified properties are a significant incentive to design sustainably and seek certification.

Hampton and Parr also designed the interiors themselves, utilizing Hampton’s architectural training and emphasizing the art of compromise. They vowed to keep as many historic elements that they could, but juxtaposed them with modern design elements as well. Nowhere is this more evident that in the 3-story stairwell with original railing details, plaster, and exposed brick walls, directly adjacent to modern stainless steel cable railing and translucent colored glass panels. The way other small historic and modern details play off of each other reminds visitors that the home is both from the past and present.

You can see a list of vendors and products recommended by the tour homeowner here.

To see a photo album of this home tour, please visit: pix.sfly.com/CRjw-jEk

Nutter Residence.jpgAbout the author: Krista Nutter, (LEED AP, MS Arch, NCIDQ ) is a design educator and administrator at a CIDA-accredited program, a sustainable building consultant, and designer/owner of an award-winning, Energy-Star 5+, passive solar, solar electric, high-performance green home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her home was on the USGBC Cincinnati Green Home tour in 2015. Learn more about it at the house blog.)


If you liked this post you might like another Atkins post, "Aging in Place: Longevity as Sustainability,"



If you would like to "Do the right thing," join me for lunch. Click the button to send me an email.
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