About 40 years ago, the Hough neighborhood of Cleveland was one of the poorest areas of the city, according to one local civic activist. Today, however, it has become a changing neighborhood as federal money and visionary investors have enabled entrepreneurs and residents to renovate and restore buildings to their former beauty.

One excellent example is the renovation of a historic building on the 1800 block of East 81st Street, which had been designed by one of the foremost architectural firms in the nation, Searles, Hirsh & Gavin. The current owner, intent on restoring the exquisite exterior of the building, still wanted modern-day comforts inside, including a high-performance HVAC system equipped with fiberglass duct board supply and return ductwork.

An Alternative Needed

Built in 1909, the Cuyahoga Telephone Co. building is today a designated Cleveland landmark. Cuyahoga Telephone Co. was one of the first independent, non-Bell telephone companies in the nation. Based in Cleveland, it eventually merged into what became the Ohio Bell Telephone Co., which later merged into Ameritech.

Jim Ellia, owner of Efficient Heating & Cooling, reviews plans for the mechanical system his company installed at the former home of the Cuyahoga Telephone Co. in Cleveland.
Over the years, four major additions were made to the building, which includes an in-ground indoor swimming pool on the first floor. At one time, it served as home of the Afro-American Cultural and Historical Society. At present, it has become the home of a Cleveland family.

Over a six-month period, Efficient Heating & Cooling Inc., of Maple Heights, Ohio, designed and installed a mechanical system that includes high-velocity heating and air conditioning units, radiant floor heating, boilers, hot water tanks, and ductwork fabricated from CertainTeed Ultra*Ductâ„¢ Gold rigid board.

"Our heating and cooling service team was able to give the owner everything he needed for a quiet, comfortable, draft-free home environment," said Jim Ellia, owner of Efficient Heating & Cooling.

The contractor has often recommended to clients a 2,000-fpm, high-velocity comfort air system, but was faced with a dilemma recently when the custom ductwork that usually accompanies the system became unavailable.

"We had to find an alternative and knew that sheet metal duct would not be a viable choice," explained Ellia. "We needed a thermally and acoustically superior duct system that was pre-insulated and easy to work with. And we knew that working with sheet metal in this situation could be a nightmarish prospect."

Jim Ellia is shown fabricating sections of ductwork made of CertainTeed Ultra*Duct Gold duct board in the basement of the historic home.

Answer Fits The Duct

The duct board that Ellia chose has a number of features that satisfied his needs. The airstream facing is designed to significantly reduce the amount of nuisance dust generated during fabrication compared to other standard duct board. In addition, the manufacturer said its new board can handle systems operating at twice the velocity as the previous generation of its standard duct board.

"Now we use it on every high-velocity job we do," said Ellia.

The duct board met the approval of the Efficient team, too.

"It makes for an easier, cleaner install," said Ellia.

Fabrication of the duct board was done on site at the historic home by technicians who had received special training provided by CertainTeed. The 1-inch duct board, which has an R-value of 4.3 and an NRC of 0.75, according to the manufacturer, was fabricated in sizes that ranged from 7 inches by 7 inches to 9 inches by 9 inches. Small-diameter flex duct was also incorporated into the ductwork design.

Architectural detail on the exterior of the Cuyahoga Telephone Co. building says “Princeton Exchange, Independent Telephone, Local and Long Distance.” The building is located on a street originally name Princeton.
On the renovation project, Efficient Heating & Cooling used approximately 800 square feet of Ultra*Duct Gold, supplied by 66-year-old Robertson Heating Supply Co., with headquarters in Alliance, Ohio, as well as 26 locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Efficient Heating & Cooling, founded in 1988 and serves the northeastern Ohio area, is pleased with the duct board.

"Plus, quiet performance was very important to our new homeowner, and we knew this board would deliver what he was looking for," said Ellia.

Publication date: 11/21/2005