Green Restoration and Gamble House Revisited

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, Green Renovations, In The News, Old House History

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post concerning green restoration, and the compromises I have sometimes had to make when having to decide between my old house’s character, budget concerns, and being green. There have been times I haven’t been able choose an option that seemed to satisfy all three areas. I recently happened upon two very interesting green restoration articles.

Green Restoration of Old Houses

The first article is actually a video from OldHouseWeb’s friend Matt Grocoff at Greenovation.TV. The video is informative, interesting, and entertaining. It explains how purchasing new green products for an old house restoration is not always the best option. A friend of Matt’s is restoring the basement in his old house, and is thinking of replacing the old maple floors with bamboo. He discovers that refinishing the maple floors may be the greener option.

The second article is from a Fayetteville, North Carolina newspaper, and concerns a lady who is starting a business to provide advice and help for people wanting to do a green restoration. Kim Van Borkulo has a degree in environmental design from the University of Massachusetts, and has been working in home and landscape design her entire career. When she decided to restore her 18th century Fayetteville home, she wanted to do it in an environmentally friendly way, but could only find guidelines for the green construction of new buildings. She did her restoration using Energy Star and LEED guidelines for new homes, but is working to help others desiring to do a green restoration of an old house, and she provides many tips in the article.

Gamble House Demolition Postponed, and Perhaps Cancelled

Another blog post I wrote concerned the historic Gamble House in Cincinnati and its possible demolition. The house was built 180 years ago by a member of the Gamble family, of Proctor and Gamble fame. It is now owned by a conservation group that seems to be intent on having the old house torn down. They were trying to force Cincinnati to speed up the normal time it takes to issue a demo order, but a judge stepped in and sided with the city, so the demo order is going through the normal channels, and taking the usual amount of time. That has allowed enough time for the old house to receive landmark status, which should further delay or permanently stay the demo order. As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, I plan on continuing to follow this story about a preservation/conservation group that is intent on having a historic old house torn down.


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  1. 4 Responses  to “Green Restoration and Gamble House Revisited”

  2. Aug 29, 2011
    Thanks for the update Ben, I hope they are able to save the home. It looks like it was quite a house at one point in time, and there is no reason why it can't be again.
  3. Ben
    Aug 29, 2011
    You might like to know that a representative from the Cincinnati Preservation Association mentioned at a workshop today (3/28) that they are working to purchase the Gamble house in order to purchase and save it, and are soliciting donations on their website in order to do so: http://www.cincinnatipreservation.org/gamble
  4. Roger
    Aug 29, 2011
    It is true, when restoring a house not all the materials necessarily have to be green, you might be hurting your wallet and the environment by doing so, especially with the raw materials. But I still believe you can't go wrong when it comes to the lighting system, always save energy by going green there.
  5. Paul
    Aug 29, 2011
    "Green" is such a relative term in the construction industry. I have heard of people building "green" homes that were 7000 sq.ft.! Which is better, to buy sustainably harvested bamboo(that is shipped across the ocean on a diesel ship) or plain old pine that is cut and milled locally? Whenever a product is labeled green, you have to also judge where the product originates from...resource use is tremendous when we are just shipping products around the globe.