From the elaborate green roof garden to the high-powered vacuum toilets in the basement, hidden in downtown Cincinnati on E. Eighth Street lies a eco-friendly treasure.
GreenSource Cincinnati, founded in 2008 by Ez Housh, showcases green technologies in a working restored home. What was built as Cincinnati’s mayor’s home now operates as GreenSource Cincinnati, a subsidiary of Monroe Mechanical, which promotes sustainability and produces certifiable energy savings for business and residential clients. Installation and maintenance for these technologies are provided by Monroe Mechanical and its residential “sister” company, and Ez’s namesake, HOUSH.
The driving force behind GreenSource Cincinnati is the growing need for less energy use. “The planet is growing and our resources are shrinking,” says Ez, whose father founded Monroe Mechanical in 1954. “America especially is about 5 percent of the world’s population but uses 60 percent of its resources. Let’s face it; we’re wasteful. If we conserve more, people less fortunate can have more.”
Housh, and his family, have big hopes for GreenSource. “With GreenSource Cincinnati, we plan to serve as a technology resource center for not only Cincinnati but all of Ohio and Kentucky,” says Elizabeth Housh Reynolds, Ez’s daughter who also works for GreenSource. “We plan to lead by example through our energy-efficient building practices, and influence architects and engineers who will then go on to build and design other energy-efficient buildings.”
Service is a family tradition for the Houshes, and Ez’s dedication is obvious when he talks about GreenSource and all that his family does in and outside of the community. “Our main goal is to keep people comfortable,” he says. “We are not here just to make money, but because we enjoy it. We are just like the guy playing music on the street.”
His daughter agrees. “I like what I do because it matters — it is a job that changes the way people think and act by encouraging environmental responsibility through building practices,” Elizabeth says.
The company is not only helping others stay green but they also practice their own methods. They run as paperless of a business as possible; employees actively recycle, shop local and use compost. “Day to day, everything in the building we use is recycled, and scheduled to turn off then the building is not in use,” says Ez.
Partner company Schneider shares the goal of staying green and promoting sustainability. Jim McCorkle, district manager of critical power and cooling services for Schneider Electric, is a good friend of Ez Housh and one of the original GS partners.
“I worked with Ez back at Monroe when he was still coming up with the concept of GreenSource,” says Jim. “It works out great for the both of us because Ez designs the work and Schneider Electric provides the resources to package everything together for the customer to provide a solution.”
Although the top technologies used at GreenSource are primarily European, Housh points out small changes people can make to save energy and money. “Insulation is the most important thing that people need to focus on first,” he says. “Tighten the envelope by sealing the cracks and keeping the bad stuff out and good stuff in.”
By Jasmine Evans
Evans, a winter 2011 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, wrote this story as part of her Journalism capstone seminar, Communicating Sustainability. Look for more Communicating Sustainability stories on Soapbox in coming weeks.