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It’s Lonely Being A Green Marketer in Cincinnati

Wed, Jan 13, 2016 @ 12:18 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Marketing, Green Building Marketing, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Cincinnati Marketing, Branding Agency, Graphic Design Agency, Industrial Marketing Agency, Design Agency, Cincinnati Marketing Firm, Advertising Agency


Last week our office was on top of the Cincinnati Business Courier's Greenest Projects in the Tri-State for the third year in a row. I wish I were not leading this list.

Let me explain.

We LEED Certified our office Platinum for less than $12 per square foot. We did all of the work, LEED documentation and I was the LEED AP on the project. But very few businesses are doing it. It doesn’t take money; it takes time and common sense. Not designy, not cool, not expensive, not fashionable, not somebody else's opinion of what is beautiful. Learn more.


You don’t build sustainably just to save money. The money part is out of sync with life and ecology. But that doesn't mean sustainability has to cost more. Money is only something we all agree has value. In the future, we will agree that nature has value as well. The ecologies of the planet are more productive rather than monocultures that benefit a few. Photo from the Wilderness Society

When I learned about the holistic LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, process; I went all in, started a new brand, Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy, and created the Greenest project in the Tri-State. Big deal, only emersion DESIGN, Melink Corporation and Greensource Cincinnati are Green Building practitioners that have LEED Platinum offices. This article is in response to being the number one office on the Cincinnati Business Courier's Greenest Tri-State Projects list three years in a row. I want to reach out to others that want a more environmental reason to build a project. It doesn't cost more, it performs better, and it tells a more realistic story about our environment and the future of mankind. Our office was included in an article titled, "10 of the World's Greenest Offices."

Like all civilizations, all of the questions of the past are still present. The only thing slowly growing and becoming more accurate over time is science, it will provide the answers. In the '70s, we looked to ecology for the answers. At the time, ecology was a young science and didn't have the answers. Now the study of ecology has a path to the answers. We need to continue to learn and take action. I'm using all of my marketing knowledge to offer the public a chance to learn more. Join us at the South West Ohio Chapter of the USGBC's tours of local Green Homes this year. It's a small group of only a few hundred that are interested. Even fewer commercial project owners are interested or even know what's possible. The first words out of their architect, engineer and builder's mouth is, "Green is more expensive." That's expensive in their mind; it doesn't have to be in yours. Please get in touch if you have any questions about building sustainably or subscribe to our Green tour announcement newsletter. Hopefully next year we won't be the Greenest in Cincinnati.

Living Building Challenge Green_Building Marketing-1.jpgThe Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy is a great example of the future (photo) and my new favorite building.

Chuck Lohre LEED AP ID+C is president of Lohre & Associates Marketing Communications, which specializes, in industrial marketing. In 2007, he started Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy a Green Building consulting firm specializing environmental education, LEED Documentation and Green marketing. Chuck’s on the boards of Greater Cincinnati Earth (Day) Coalition and ReSource.

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Kick Ass LEED Platinum Green Marketing

Wed, Jul 29, 2015 @ 08:00 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Marketing, Green Building Marketing, Marketing Strategy, B2B Marketing, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Cincinnati Marketing, Cincinnati Marketing Firm


We compare NYC's Frye store with Lohre & Assoc.'s LEED Platinum Commercial Interiors

Yesterday we visited the Frye store in NYC's SoHo neighborhood. You might recognize Frye's heritage as a shoe and bootmaker, but today it's a lifestyle fashion brand. The Spring Street store serves as one of its flagship locations and this particular one earned LEED Platinum. The store manager didn't know much about the LEED certification (and the store doesn't point out its LEED status through graphics), so we enjoyed filling him in on what we saw and suspected. Both Lohre & Assoc. and Frye obtained LEED Platinum under v2009 so it's a direct comparison. Using credit sheets for each, we were able to quickly scan and compare the projects.

Frye Boots Green Marketing outside

Here's what we found: Frye didn't have much control over the store's exterior (one of the neighborhood's iconic iron facades) or landscaping and heat island effect, so it didn't score any points for site selection -- Lohre received 5 of 5. We both got all possible points for dense urban setting and alternative transportation.

 Frye Boots Green Marketing entrance 2

How Frye managed 11 out of 11 for water reduction I'm not sure because I didn't go into the restrooms. Lohre received 6 points for 30% water use reduction from a 1992 baseline. Frye must have installed a waterless urinal in addition to low-flush toilets. We both got points for a low-flow shower to encourage bicycle use.

Frye Boots Green Marketing LED

We both received maximum points for reducing lighting power density. Lohre's is .35 watts per square foot. In looking at Frye's light sources, they seemed too hot to be LED and many of them were incandescent. It's possible Frye may have claimed one type of light source, but another source actually made its way into the store. I didn't see any lamps I could specifically say were LED. The under shelf fluorescent appeared to be low-power T5s. To achieve the 5 out of 5 for Lohre, we used only LED and fluorescent. Frye got one point for lighting control versus Lohre's three. We have occupancy switches in every room, not the type of control you need in a store where lights need to be on during operating hours.

Frye Boots Green Marketing incandesent

Frye earned 5 out of 10 points for high-efficiency HVAC. Lohre couldn't score any in this category because it was beyond the scope of the project. The HVAC was already installed in the space when we moved in and we didn't change it. Ours was a SEER 10 AC, we'd assume that Frye would be a SEER 16 (and higher) demonstrating quite an improvement over ASHRAE 2007 code standards. We both got the maximum points for using Energy Star electrical equipment for over 90% of plug loads. Also, we both recevied points for enhanced commissioning and paying for our own gas and electricity. Commissioning has demonstrated that it saves 15% in energy use. Lastly, both projects were granted 5 points for purchasing renewable electricity.

Frye Boots Green Marketing old electronics

Regarding materials and resources, both projects signed 10-year leases which encourages less resources for moving and renovating. Lohre's project was able to retain all of the interior divisions in the space but Frye did not. Both projects received 2 points for limiting construction waste management. Lohre had zero waste -- recycling minimal amounts of carpet and aluminum blind scraps.

Frye Boots Green Marketing reuse

Both projects received 2 points for material reuse. Lohre reused aluminum blinds (trimming them to fit). Frye may have received points for reusing architectural window frames (above) as room partitions. Frye wasn't able to reuse any furniture (though they incorporated antiques into the store's fixturing systems), but Lohre reused all furniture from its previous location. Frye managed to use twice as much recycled content percentage in its project as Lohre. Both received 2 points for sourcing materials from within 500 miles of the project. Neither project was able to incorporate rapidly renewable materials, like cork, into the projects. Lohre was granted 1 point for using wood harvested from non-clearcut forests.

Frye Boots Green Marketing entrance

In indoor environmental quality Lohre got the point for providing a CO2 sensor. Neither project increased fresh air by 30% but both got credit for protecting air quality during construction. Frye flushed the store out with fresh air before occupancy to receive 1 point. Both projects used adhesives, paints, flooring and composite wood that didn't contain excess Volatile Organic Compounds. Only Lohre provided walk-off mats and improved air filters. Then again, only Frye used low-VOC ceiling and wall systems. Both projects provided well-designed thermal comfort systems and verified with employee surveys. Lastly, Lohre was able to provide quality views to the outside, not likely for Frye's shotgun configuration.

In conclusion, both projects can be very proud of their achievements. Frye is considered the first LEED Platinum store in New York and Lohre & Assoc. the first LEED Platinum Marketing Communications firm in the world. The Frye store was first class and a premier quality product presentation. Just wish I'd gone ahead and purchased those $218 dress shoes!

I read "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things" by Michael Braungart and William McDonough on the flight back to Cincinnati and wonder about Frye's sustainable shoe manufacturing process. Lohre & Assoc. on the other hand could consider what it means to provide more sustainable marketing communications. At the end of the book, it provides insight for continuing education; practice what you preach and making it fun. If you consider shoes that don't degrade materials you wouldn't want to breathe, also consider marketing that doesn't encourage unnecessary consumption.

If you enjoyed this blog post you might want to learn more about our LEED documenation services.

describe the imageRequest your free guide to obtaining LEED Certification on your office, building or home.

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The Heartbreak of Green Building Consulting for LEED

Fri, Feb 07, 2014 @ 10:39 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Consulting, Marketing, Green Building Marketing, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Cincinnati Marketing Firm


You've submitted the required materials -- dotted all the "i"s and crossed those "t"s -- and now you wait. The anticipation of getting your LEED review back from the USGBC is high. When you get the email you're hoping for the best. After you start reading the review, your heart sinks because the sustainable sites prerequisites wasn't met. The PDF file was corrupted by a computer, somewhere. Why didn't they ask for it again? The plans were perfect and everything was duplicated on them anyway. You're in a knife fight and they just knocked your knife away.

So here's our story. On water efficiency, we really screwed up the full-time equivalent flush and flow calculations. Easy enough to fix.

Green Building Consulting LEED PlatinumDidn't get the two minimum points for energy. That sinking feeling sets in. It would have been so easy to use an HVAC system that had an exterior fresh air supply, but those systems are unheard of for small office projects. We've never seen them used except for large public buildings. Some mumbo jumbo about baseline fan power that you've never heard of before.

Where do they get this stuff?

No mention of it in any reference manual. No third party resources. No engineer you've spoken to even wants to speak about it. There must be a secret green room somewhere that gold colored engineers hang out. Funny, it doesn't seem like any of the local chapter members are hiding anything. And don't look to any HVAC manuals to help. The ones that are used for educating today's journeymen were written in the '40s and have nothing to do with smaller systems. In the end, we'll sort it out. Carefully solving the riddle character by character. The reviewers know what they are talking about and know exactly what is needed. It will take you several days to let the comments sink in and then you will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But you only have one bullet left in your gun, and it's $800 to appeal. That's 20 percent of our fee. We're going to have to suck it in, clear our head and launch eQUEST.

There's a supplemental heater on the third floor for conditioning the kitchen. We pretty much ignored separating it in eQUEST and combined the capacity to one system in eQUEST as we had done before for another project. USGBC doesn't like that. We don't know how to do that in Wizard view. And, it just gets worse in Detailed view. I don't think we have the brain power for it. Pray for us. As with most LEED reviews, what worked for the last project won't necessarily work for this project. And the final insult, we use Cincinnati's 100-percent, Green-e renewable electric provider, but the USGBC acts as if they have never heard of such a thing and we're not sure how to explain it for the third time since we only have one bullet left.

Materials no problem. A monkey could do it.

Interior environmental quality runs into another road block with the minimum air supply. What are you to do? There is no exterior air supply. The common way engineers calculate fresh air is by how leaky the building is! Pretty ludicrous but don't try to find any place to read about it. Once again, we're going to have to read, read, read and read again the reviewer's comment and sleep on it, to uncover the riddle that needs to be solved. What do they mean our design doesn't meet thermal design criteria? The plans call for 21 fulltime equivalents and that's what we are using, but there are only two persons in the whole building now and no offices or plans for how all those other folks would occupy the rest of the empty building.

Green Building Consulting PlaqueBut we're confident, that's part of the challenge and the fun. We have achieved LEED Platinum on our first two projects and we're only trying for Gold on this one. And we get the problem children. Projects that are so screwed up and abandoned. Way over budget. We only do it because the owners are well intentioned and they are wonderful projects. We may get the opportunity to create the first LEED Platinum Certification Version 4 in the city from the start. That would be a relief. Then we could only blame ourselves instead of the darkness. LEED is extremely difficult to achieve high levels. There are only a handful of professionals that know how to do it in any major city. But, if it was easy everyone would do it. And the USGBC is nearly bulletproof. That's why it's such a valuable certification. Recognized world wide as the highest standard in sustainable design. We'll come out of this knowing more and proud of our achievement.

We hope the new Version 4 reference guide will be able to help us understand the HVAC systems and the credit documentation requirements for energy modeling. Forums are great, but most times you just go to a room with other people with the same problem. We are depending on the USGBC to provide us with the educational material to achieve their goals. Now if the client will understand that you only get two out of three. High quality and low cost. The time component will suffer.

If you don't want to make the same mistakes, you would like to read, "A Step-by-Step Guide for Finding a Green Building Consultant"

Chuck Lohre, LEED AP and Documentation ConsultantFor a no obligation green building consultation for your home or office please contact Chuck Lohre, LEED AP ID+C. He'll go over the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Reference Guide with you and offer helpful suggestions for Green Building Consultants, Architects, Interior Designers, Building Material Suppliers and Contractors. You can even borrow the Reference Guide if you like. Article from the Cincinnati Business Courier.

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Manufacturing Industrial Brand Marketing, part 3

Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 11:40 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Ideas, Industrial Advertising, Industrial Branding, Branding and Identity, Marketing Strategy, Business to Business Marketing, Advertising, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Business to Business Advertising, Branding Agency, Cincinnati Marketing Firm, Branding


Brand types are as varied as successful businesses types

Most companies have various divisions -- new products, old products, engineering services, parts and service. Sometimes Company A purchases Company B and rebrands it to conform to Company A's existing corporate industrial marketing. Perhaps they can weather the disruption and transition. That's if customers don't mind what Company A calls itself as long as they get the same quality and service offered by Company B.

 Industrial Marketing Branding

But if the structure of the Company B is disrupted and the resources removed that would allow continued success, it is doomed to failure. Sometimes blamed on poor branding, it really is a problem with the basic business strategy. Puppies and bunnies can live together if raised together, but can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Basic industrial products and services often operate on slim margins, below 20%. Metal fabrication is sometimes priced by the pound, but it's size, weight and wear parts that really matter to a chemical processing machine or rock crusher. A company that has survived for generations making a basic kettle on 9% margins can't be required to generate 20%+ margins in the way a new proprietary drug manufacturing reactor equipment can.

Industrial Marketing Branding

The trick is to have a business strategy that nurtures high-margin offerings and aligns with growing market forces, not force a simple piece of equipment to generate profits it can't and the market won't pay for. Only once in a generation will there be enough food to feed two Emperor Penguins' young, most likely only one will survive.

If the reason for the business's being isn't appropriate, no amount of branding will make it so.

Strategic growth brands buy great companies and make them better. Other brands, buy undervalued companies and sell piecemeal thereby making a profit. The worst brands burden their new acquisitions with unrealistic charges to pay off the purchase price. Strategic growth brands have a technological advantage, an advantage they grow themselves by educating their employees, inventing new technologies that satisfy exactly their core markets and reinforce their company foundations. Other brands find cheaper ways to make a commodity.

Industrial Marketing Branding

Strategic growth brands are experts on problem solving. They see a possible purchase and know they can solve the market problems, purchase the company, and rebrand just enough to give confidence to their customers. They then proceed to correct problems and grow market share. Over time the old brand name may go away, but the awareness and customer base will not. Turtles are survivors because they are designed for that reason.

To conclude, use the brand to solve business problems. If it doesn't help business, it's a problem.

Typically these are the types of industrial manufacturing brands and their strategy:

  • One brand with one strategy to evolve into future markets
  • Several brands with individual strategies but an overall parent logo bug with not much more oversight
  • Many unique brands and different strategies, maybe no parent company identity if each is profitable
  • Another related company owned by a larger company, typically a competitor that is then managed by the larger internal competitor or kept as a competitor (awkward!)
  • An unrelated company purchased by a larger company because its assets are worth more than the purchase price, hopefully the assets aren't need to operate profitably
  • Companies that don't want any relation to the parent company and have their own solid brand and strategy
  • No brand, no strategy, go to work and put out fires.

Regardless of what type of company it is the management needs to decide if they are going to let the customers decide what the brand means or are they going to decide what the brand means to the customer. Customers only know the bare minimum about any company's brand. They only purchase a few products from the company and know all about them and what they mean to the profitability of their company. If you let your customers decide what your brand means you will have many different brands to manage. To be a forward looking brand, one that in proactive and evolving, upper management needs to clarify what they want the brand to mean and communicate it memorably and often. Your customer will never say, "I didn't know you offered that!"

If you liked this post you might like to read others in the series:

Part 2, Brand strategy reflects the business strategy

Part 1, Introduction to industrial branding


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