LEED for Homes Public Awareness Credit for Dennig Residence, 1507 Republic

Downtown Professionals Decide to Stay in OTR As Empty Nesters

Chip and DeDe Dennig are going back to the neighborhood his ancestors immigrated to on Bremen Street, renamed Republic St. in 1918.

After a complete renovation of 1507 Republic Street, formerly 125 Bremen Street, Chip and DeDe Dennig are putting the finishing touches on their home. The project was 2 years in the making and the owners are hoping to achieve Gold LEED certification by the end of October. This certification involves the adoption of stringent green practices to produce a home that is energy efficient and uses resources in an environmentally responsible way, from highly efficient HVAC systems to the use of plumbing fixtures that reduce water flow. For example, all shower fixtures are 1.75 gpm. Rainwater will be captured from a downspout and used for drip irrigation to care for the native, drought tolerant plantings in the permeable portion of the courtyard. The use of insulation and efficient doors and windows reduce energy consumption considerably. Original flooring was reused in three of the living spaces in the home.

Chip and DeDe are moving from Anderson Township. Their kids have grown up and moved out. They saw Washington Park being built and when the streetcar was funded OTR reached critical mass.

From Cincinnati.com, “Cincinnati wasn’t always proud of its German heritage. The echo of the anti-German hysteria a century earlier has remained. It’s in the names of 10 streets, which the city renamed during World War I.

Now after nearly a century, German names will once again adorn these roads. Three streets will go back to their original German names: Woodrow (Berlin) Street in Price Hill and Stonewall (Hamburg) and Yukon (Hanover) Streets, both in Over-the-Rhine. They’re small streets. Only one, Yukon, has a residence – a rental unit whose owner, the Model Group has supported the name change, according to city officials. Seven streets will retain their current names, but the original German names of seven streets will hang below the street signs as honorary designations. They are: Republic (Bremen) Street in OTR; Edgecliff (Brunswick) Point and Merrimac (Hapsburg) Street, both in Walnut Hills; Panama (Vienna) Street in California; Orion (Wilhelm) Street and Beredith (Schumann) Place, both in Pleasant Ridge and Connecticut (Frankfort) Avenue in College Hill. That way residents won’t have to change their address labels.”

The Dennigs had historian, Ann Senefeld, do research on the history of the home in 2015. The first record of the lot was in 1789 and the first recorded resident of the building was Tice Matthias a shoemaker in 1849. Other early tradesmen were carpenters, teamsters, blacksmiths, furniture makers and coppersmiths.

On June 13, 1883 the following article appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer, “A Widow’s Slice – Magdalena Schneider’s Attempt to Get Into the Great Beyond. Mrs. Magdalena Schneider, a widow, residing at No. 125 Bremen Street, attempted suicide early yesterday morning by cutting her throat with an old butcher knife. She arose from her bed about half-past four o’clock and sliced her throat from ear to ear. Her daughter thought she heard water trickling on the floor, and, lighting the lamp, she discovered her mother bleeding from a horrible-looking wound. The woman, who is fifty-seven years of age, was removed to the hospital as soon as possible. Where her wounds were dressed. There was no immediate danger of her dying last night, and it is possible that she may recover. She has been acting queerly of late, and temporary insanity is the only cause assigned for her action. She resided on the third floor of the house mentioned with two daughters. Maggie and Mary, both young women, who assist in earning a livelihood for the little family.”

Residents of the building came from Hannover, Prussia, Badin, Bavaria, and Warstenburg Germany.

The Dennig ancestors lived all over OTR from 1880 to 1915 on Mansfeld, Wade, Elder, Bremen, Mulberry, Broadway, Elm and Vine Streets. Chip’s Great Grandfather Bernard Heinrich Dennig (1845-1912) was a tailor on 390 Broadway in 1870.

Architect, Graham Kalbli, said about the challenging project, “Taking a project like this from concept to completion is a source of great pride for us. We are thrilled to see the Dennigs move into their new home that we have worked together to create. This was a big endeavor for Chip and DeDe, and we enjoyed collaborating with them to create the best project possible.”

Cincinnati history of tax abatements

Since 2002, the city of Cincinnati has granted 10-year tax abatement on structures. In 2007, the city added an additional five years to the tax abatement for those receiving LEED Certification. In 2011, the tax abatement for LEED became a bit more layered and difficult. Now, owners must achieve LEED Silver to receive a tax break on the first $285,000 of the structure’s value. LEED Gold has a limit of $565,000, and it’s unlimited if you achieve LEED Platinum. Because of the tax abatement, nearly every new home in Cincinnati is LEED Certified and builders have become quite familiar with how to do it cost effectively.


LEED for Homes Certification level credit decision story

The LEED for Homes Rating System provides a basis for quantifying the benefits of green homes, thereby facilitating the widespread construction of more sustainable homes. One of the first steps in planning a LEED home is to adjust the certification thresholds based on the material and energy impacts. All else being equal, a large home consumes more materials and energy than a small home over its lifecycle. LEED compensates for these impacts by adjusting the thresholds for each award level. Thresholds for smaller-than-average homes are lowered, and thresholds for larger-than-average homes are raised. A home’s threshold for LEED Gold may be 72 points. A 4,500-sq.-ft. home with five bedrooms would be about 85 points.

In the end, the homeowner will have a well built and third-party certified home. Passing the blower door test alone is significant. Blower door tests are used to prove the air sealing quality of the construction. During the test the home is depressurized to -50 Pascal and measurements are recorded throughout the home to verify that outside air isn’t leaking into the home at a rate higher than required. It proves the home won’t be drafty and uncomfortable. Contrary to those builders who tell home owners that homes need to breathe for fresh air, it is much better to control the ventilation rather than allowing shoddy construction of leaky vapor barriers to supply fresh air to the home.

The LEED Certification system is broadly categorized into five equally important parts that demonstrate measurable environmental benefits: Site, Water, Energy, Materials, and Indoor Environment Quality. The following is a review of the features of this home according to the LEED for Homes system.

Prerequisites include building above the 100-year floodplain, not habitat for endangered species, built no closer than 100 feet to water or wetlands, land that wasn’t a public park and land that doesn’t have prime, unique or soils of state significance. Excavated topsoil was reused; runoff was controlled, so it didn’t contaminate storm water sewers or erode hillsides.

The Innovation and Design Process section of LEED includes Integrated Project Planning, which maximizes opportunities for integrated, cost effective adoption of green design and construction strategies. A Preliminary Rating is arrived at as early a practical, conduct a preliminary LEED for Homes meeting, with the participation of the key members of the project team and Green Building Consultants (the LEED for Homes Certification Provider) to target the level of LEED, select credits and the parties accountable. Typically this includes holding monthly meetings to review project status, introduce new team members to the project goals, discuss problems encountered, formulate solutions, review responsibilities and identify next steps.

The Integrated Project Team is formed to maximize the opportunities for integrated, cost-effective adoption of green design and construction practices the builder/developer assembles an integrated project team and all team members involved in various project phases.

A big help with this is the Professional Credentialed with respect to LEED for Homes and they act, as at least one principal member is a LEED for Homes Accredited Professional

The Innovation and Design Process section also includes the Durability Management Process, which promotes durability of high performance of the building enclosure and its components and systems through appropriate design, materials selection, and construction practices. Prior to construction, the project team will identify risks, responses regarding pests, storm damage and moisture control measures.

The home’s plans include the following features: No paper backed backer board or carpet in tub, shower and spa areas, no carpet within three ft. of the entryway, drain and drain pans for tank water heaters and clothes washers in or over living areas, exhaust conventional clothes dyers directly to outdoors.

Durability Management requires that the builder have a quality management process in place to ensure installation. A third-party verified these durability conditions.

Innovation or regional design incorporates additional green design and construction features with measurable environmental benefits.

Location and Linkages includes site selection, which is a very important aspect of sustainable homes. This home isn’t in a floodplain or built within 100’ of water or wetlands. The infill site with existing infrastructure didn’t replace prime farmland or parkland and build on habitat or threatened or endangered species.

Preferred locations guidelines encourage the building of LEED homes near or within existing communities. This project was an infill site, which means at least 75% of the perimeter immediately borders previously developed land. It was built on a previously developed lot and uses Existing Infrastructure because it is within ½ mile of existing water and sewer lines.

Community Resources / Transit require it to locate close to basic resources such as arts and entertainment center, bank, convenient store, daycare, fire station, cleaner, library, pharmacy, places of worship and schools. This home achieved Outstanding community resources / transit because it is within ¼ mile of eleven, ½ of 14 and 60 transit rides per weekday. The highly desired urban location encourages walking, physical activity, and time spent outdoors it is located within ½ of a ¾ acre of a public open space.

Although the focus of green building is typically on the built structures located on a site, the design of the site and its natural elements can have a significant environmental impact; it utilized Erosion Controls During Construction. Site clearing and earth moving can contribute to considerable runoff, leading to soil erosion and alteration of natural drainage patterns both on and off-site.

The Minimizing Disturbed Area of Site credit is automatically granted to high-density construction, in recognition of the fact that compact development enables communities to set aside land for conservation. Place the home to minimize drainable pattern changes, schedule construction in phases to minimize disturbance and clearly marks areas that not to be disturbed. Maintaining vegetation in those areas.

The Sustainable Sites category of credits includes landscaping, non-conventional turf, and drought tolerant plants such as Russian sage, lavender, black-eyed susan, hellebore, hosta and arborvitae. Since the provision and distribution of potable water is costly and energy intensive, particularly during dry periods, a more sensible strategy is to design landscaping that requires less potable water. The Dennig residence also included no invasive plants, excluded conventional turf.

The Sustainable Sites category of credits includes prerequisites to prevent construction runoff from damaging sewers and preserve topsoil. This is accomplished by managing some of the runoff from the roof with a rain barrel and including a permeable garden on site.

The home’s integrated nontoxic pest control methods by sealing external cracks, joints, etc. with caulking and installed pest –proof screens. There are no wood-to-concrete connections. Typically all cellulosic (wood type) material is treated with borate product to 3′ above foundation as an additional pest control measure.

LEED encourages use of compact development patterns on buildable land to conserve land and promote community livability, transportation efficiency and walkability. The Dennig residence is located in a Very High Density Average of 20 or more dwelling units per acre.

Water Efficiency is a very important category of LEED. It includes Water reuse, which is demonstrated by a rainwater harvesting system, which includes a rain barrel to capture water for landscape use. Water efficiency measures included a high-efficiency irrigation system including drip irrigation for 50% of planting beds, separate zone for each type of planting, timers for each zone, and sensors that recognize it has rained and no irrigation is needed.

Very high efficiency fixtures and fittings were selected for indoor water use. Average flow rate is 1.75 gallons per minute, and 1.10 gallons per flush

Regarding Energy & Atmosphere, Data from the homebuilding industry indicate that roughly 1.5 million new homes are built each year and that the average size of new homes has doubled in the past 50 years. As a result, total U.S. fossil fuel use in homes has been steadily increasing. The average American consumes 5 times more energy that the average global citizen, 10 times more than the average Chinese person, and nearly 20 times more than the average Indian.

Optimizing energy performance measures improve the overall energy performance of a home by meeting or exceeding the performance of an Energy Star labeled home. A Home Energy Rating System (HERS) analysis verification of the energy efficiency of the home will be performed. A rating of 35 will mean that a home is 65% more efficient than a typical home in Cincinnati. No ozone damaging HCFC refrigerants are used in the air conditioning system.

The choice of building Materials and Resources is important for sustainable homebuilding because of the extraction, processing, and transportation they require. Activities to produce building materials may pollute the air and water, destroy natural habitats and deplete natural resources. Construction and demolition wastes constitute about 40% of the total solid waste stream in the United States.

Environmentally preferable products increase demand for environmentally preferable products and products or building components that are extracted, processed, and manufactured within the region. The country of origin was requested for each wood product. A species is considered tropical if it is grown between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

Waste management practices require projects to reduce waste generation to a level below the industry norm. Construction waste management planning investigated and documented local options for diversion and measures which resulted in diverting at least 25% or more from landfills.

Americans spend an average 90% of their time indoors, where levels o pollutants may run two to five times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Many of the pollutants found indoors can cause health reactions in the estimated 17 million Americans who suffer from asthma and 40 million who have allergies, contributing to millions of days absent from school and work. Indoor Environmental Quality requires combustion venting which limits the leakage of combustion gases into the occupied space of the home. Indoor environmental quality included no unvented combustion appliances, carbon monoxide detectors in rooms that share a door with the garage; all fireplaces have doors, and space, water-heating equipment is designed with closed combustion. Typically no fireplace or wood stove or design one with back-draft prevention, behind glass doors, or catalytic converters are specified.

Controlling indoor moisture levels to provide comfort, reduce risk of mold and increase the durability of the home is part of moisture load control. The Dennigs installed dehumidification equipment capable of maintaining humidity at or below 60%. They meet ASHRAE Standards and only exhaust air to the outdoors, not the attic or interstitial spaces.

Outdoor Air Ventilation measures reduce occupant exposure to indoor pollutants by ventilating with outdoor air. Prerequisites included bathroom and kitchen exhausts meeting ASHRAE Standard 62.2 airflow requirements, air is exhausted to outdoors and an Energy Star labeled bathroom exhaust. Third-party performance testing was performed to verify proper installation.

Enhanced local exhaust use occupancy sensors, automatic humidistat controller, automatic timer or continuous fan. It included Third-party performance testing

Distribution of space heating and cooling included providing appropriate distribution of space heating and cooling in the home to improve thermal comfort and energy performance. Room-by-room load calculations ensure ducts are installed accordingly. A typical home has improved the distribution of space heating and cooling including a return air opening of 1 sq. inch per cfm of supply and continuous supply air flow rates in each room tested and confirmed. Very high performance MERV 13 filters were installed.

Indoor contaminants were controlled during construction and the design allows for contaminant control, which includes design for shoe removal and storage space near the primary entryway.

A Preoccupancy flush was performed to rid the home of contaminants that built up during the construction process.

Radon testing was done and controls put into place if needed.

The Dennig home has no garage, which can be a source of harmful CO.

Some homebuyers may know very little about green home construction. They may be unaware of the green features in the home, or they may be unfamiliar with how to use and maintain them. Without adequate training, the full benefits of the LEED measures likely will not be achieved. The homeowners will receive an operator and training manual as well as a one-hour walkthrough. Provide the home’s occupants with LEED checklists and forms, manufacturer’s manuals, and cleaning and maintenance guidance. The Dennigs will also receive two hours of enhanced training in addition.

Awareness and education requirements include this article as part of the LEED Certification. It will be published online at Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy and the local USGBC’s Chapter site once certified. LEED Signage was posted on the site.







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