The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers reports that recycling buildings is one of the most beneficial “green” practices. They say older and historic buildings comprise more than half of the existing buildings in the U.S., and retention and reuse of these buildings preserves the materials, embodied energy, and human capital already expended in their construction.
In keeping with green building concepts, HGC renovated our own offices using an open floor plan to maximize natural light.
We cleaned the existing masonry walls by shot blasting and cleaned the exposed wood ceiling with a dry-ice blasting process.
The materials and finishes we used for the build-out were primarily recycled or salvaged or chosen for their environmentally friendly nature. During demolition, much of the company’s history was resurrected and incorporated into the project.
- Lyptus – We used this material for the trim. Lyptus comes from Eucalyptus plantations in Brazil, which are managed and grown to sustainable forest certification standards. Lyptus compares to other exotic hardwoods and has a 15-year renewable harvest span with higher yields per acre.
- Entry Doors – Company founder Richard Huseman salvaged these in the 1960s from the Alexander McDonald House “Dalvey” in Cincinnati’s Clifton neighborhood. The house was built in 1881 and demolished in 1961 to allow for the construction of a school. The doors had been in storage since 1961 and were brought back to life with our renovation.
- Concrete Counter – The counter in the kitchen area is made of concrete with a steel frame. Concrete counters are made from limestone, an abundant material.
- Desk Countertops – The countertops are Skyblend particleboard. This type of particleboard is produced with phenol-formaldehyde (PF) binder instead of urea-formaldehyde. Also, Skyblend particleboard is made from western softwood fibers and is Green Cross-certified by Scientific Certification Systems as being made from 100 percent recycled fibers.
- Waterless Urinals – HGC installed two waterless urinals, which conserve on average 40,000 gallons of water per year.
- Redwood Siding – We salvaged approximately 500 board feet of this siding from a notable condominium project in Cincinnati’s Mt. Adams neighborhood. Rather than hauling this material to the dumpster, we stored the siding and reused it as interior wall finish material.
- Flooring – We resurfaced the building’s original oak floors and covered other areas with carpet tiles salvaged from a previous project.
- Lighting Control – We installed a motion sensor switch in restrooms to assure lights are employed only when rooms are occupied.
- Windows – We installed new thermo pane operable double hung windows to increase energy efficiency. We refurbished the old single-pane windows to use in office partitions, allowing natural light to enter the building core.
- Handrails – We welded together salvaged steel to form functional handrails and railings.
- Ceiling Tin – Ceiling material left over from a renovation of the Tristate’s historic Showboat Majestic helped us create a unique office space.
- Oak Panels – These were salvaged from a downtown office lobby. Again, destined for the landfill, these materials were saved and incorporated into the interior finish.
- New Hardwood Floors – Remnants from an installation at the Contemporary Arts Center in downtown Cincinnati were incorporated into our office flooring. Anyone familiar with the angular nature of the CAC will understand why we had off-falls to work with!
- Other Reclaimed Materials – From perforated metal panels to tongue and groove bead board, materials traditionally destined for landfill were instead preserved and repurposed in our home office building.
With renovations complete, HGC had six new workspaces, four offices, a kitchen area and open conference space, a new co-op area, and new front offices.
Also, we met our goals of providing new, highly functional work areas within an existing, recycled space. We incorporated green building principals through creative repurposing of materials and increased energy efficiency.
For more information, consult this feature in the Cincinnati Business Journal: