Can a historic building become highly sustainable?

While energy efficiency, green design, and sustainability may seem like over-used buzzwords, becoming stewards of our natural and built environment is a bona fide concept that is here to stay. In the urban real estate market, there is a common perception that it’s impossible to combine environmentally responsible building techniques with historic preservation, much less accomplishing both in a fiscally responsible way.

As the region's recognized sustainability expert, emersion DESIGN was invited by the Over-the-Rhine Foundation (OTRF) to be a part of a holistic, multi-disciplinary team charged with bridging the gap between green and historic. This Integrated Design Team (IDT) consisted of a group of industry professionals, government officials, and local educators who were harnessed together to discover and analyze potential challenges and opportunities for incorporating “green” building design into a historic renovation project.

In essence, the OTRF sought to thoroughly investigate four buildings in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district to determine whether they could be restored to become LEED certified, within specified government standards, in a cost-effective manner. The resulting “OTR Green-Historic Study” found that, when all disciplines work in harmony, it is feasible to unite sustainable design and historic restoration in a beautiful and affordable way.

LEED Tax Abatement

Historic Tax Credit

Historic Preservation

Historic Building Analysis

Sustainable Design

Merging Historic and Sustainability Guidelines

Design Standards

Over-the-Rhine Foundation
Project contact
chad edwards