Senior Living Rehab Aces LIHTC Green Requirements

The road to LEED Gold certification is not without challenges.

Cincinnati—The newly renovated 60-unit Chimes Terrace Apartments in Johnstown, Ohio, earned a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold rating. The energy consulting and green building certification services at the community were furnished by Cincinnati-based Sol design + consulting.

Chimes Terrace Apartments is developed and operated by Columbus, Ohio-based National Church Residences. It was built by Ruscilli Construction Co. and designed by Berardi & Partners. The community offers 36 one-bedroom independent living apartments and 24 assisted living units for age-62-and-older and mobility-impaired people.

Each apartment features highly-efficient split system PTAC heating and cooling equipment. Concrete structural insulated panels for wall and slab floor construction generate enhanced R-values.

Additional features that were instrumental in the property gaining LEED Gold certification include ENERGY STAR refrigerators and bath exhaust fans, CFL and LED lighting, 100-percent drought-resistant landscaping and low water use plumbing fixtures. Allergen-reducing MERV 8 air filters and Green Label Plus carpet aid in ensuring healthy indoor air quality, essential for older individuals. In addition, the existing building foundation, wall and roof framing were reused.

“It is an affordable housing project and gets low-income housing tax credits,” Sol president Sanyog B. Rathod told MHN. “And as part of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, projects need to satisfy green requirements. LEED is one of the programs that allow projects to meet the green threshold requirements for low-income tax credits in the state of Ohio. The minimum expectation is only to get the project certified. [That is] the base level, and 15 more points gets you to Silver, 15 additional points to Gold and 15 more to Platinum.”

Among the challenges Sol faced was meeting the envelope leakage test target.

“One of the mandatory requirements of LEED is to do an air infiltration test to measure how much air is leaking into the building, and how much air is leaking from one unit to another unit,” Rathod reported.

“There are mandatory limits on that leakage. On renovations, that can be challenging. We have to work closely with the construction team to make sure they are sealing the envelope carefully to ensure minimum air leakage.”

Chimes Terrace Apartments is conveniently situated near supermarkets, financial institutions, drug stores, dining, shopping, services and houses of worship. Transit stops and a public park are just steps away. Among the recognized green building attributes, especially in buildings housing older adults, is access to community resources and public transportation.

The controlled-access building enables residents to benefit from an on-premise National Church Residences coordinator, whose role is to orchestrate an array of services, activities and special transportation initiatives.

“I think we do take pride in renovations that are LEED certified,” Rathod said. “This is one more project that adds to our portfolio of renovation of existing buildings that achieve LEED Gold certification.”