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SMPS - CPSM Exam - Industrial Marketing Research

Fri, Nov 24, 2017 @ 03:35 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Business to Consumer Marketing




Industrial Marketing is Real People & Real Relationships making Reality. You're not selling lip stick.

The Certified Professional Services Marketer exam will make you an excellent resource for your company and your career. It brings together a rock solid methods for understanding your company's strengths and getting new work in new industies. It's not hard to continue to get work similar to your current expertise. All you need to do is very high quality work, on time and on budget.

It's much more difficult to enter new markets that you don't have experience in and no body knows you. The CPSM Domains of practice show you how you start with your people and their talents and grow from there. The case study uses a firm that has designed schools and illustrates how they used industrial marketing research to sucessfully grew into a similar building type, high end retirement homes.

Marketing Research Word Cloud.png

In the case study we are using to study for the exam, the new management person has been given he task to manage the business development team. From the case study:

"Thanks in large part to your efforts as the marketing coordinator, Gilmore & Associates has successfully transitioned into a new market. The firm used to only be known for designing K-12 educational facilities, but with a few high-visibility retirement community projects under its belt, it's begun to establish itself as an expert in this niche of older adult healthcare.

Firm leadership has recognized your role in this transition by offering you a management position. You agree to take on the responsibility of coordinating the efforts of staff and consultants to accomplish marketing goals and objectives, and ensure that every step in the sales process-from BO to writing a proposal-continues to run smoothly.

1. What are some processes that you could put into place to ensure the best possible outcomes for your marketing staff's performance?

2. What should be included in a pipeline report to help you track activity, hold your team accountable and ultimately help your firm reach its annual growth goals?

3. You notice that many members of your team express discomfort with their BO role. How can you create a training program that will build the skills that they need to develop more confidence in this role?

4. One of your team members has decided to go back to school to study nursing and you need to hire someone to fill the open marketing associate position. What can you do to make your firm an appealing choice to job seekers?

5. What steps can you take to promote a firm-wide BO culture?"

Items one and two are with regard to the research you need to keep up with. Also in the answer key are a few other bullets regarding research.

"Answer Key

1. What are some processes that you could put into place to ensure the best possible outcomes for your marketing staff's performance? 

• Set clear expectations. Measure each staff member's knowledge areas and skill sets, and, based on those results, develop metrics by which they will be evaluated. Also encourage them to gain additional training and certifications, where needed.

• Provide opportunities for your staff to find a mentor or coach. These relationships can greatly enhance their professional development over both the long and short term.

• Establish clear lines of communication and provide regular feedback. Have regular team meetings about current and planned activities, as well as more informal one-on-one discussions about how each person is performing.

• Help them to develop a PDP that identifies a path for their individual professional development within the organization.

2. What should be included in a pipeline report to help you track activity, hold your team accountable, and ultimately help your firm reach its annual growth goals? 

• Information about each lead, including which staff member brought it to your firm's attention, which staff member will head follow-up activities and whether the lead is a previous client or a prospective one Information about the market and service sector that potential new work is associated with

• A rough approximation of how much revenue that the project might bring into your firm and how much it will cost to pursue it

• How likely you are to win the work based on what you know about the opportunity "

The underlined sections relate to research. You need to be aware of the landscape you are working in. Research does that. You have to be sure the market is there and that you will be able to profitably work in it. Your research will go into a pipeline report for your management. The history of a market will confirm the amount of work available and your obtaining some percentage of that work will how your staff accountable. Without knowledge of available work and your obtaining it, you have no marketing plan.

I'll go through the contents of the Marketing Research Domain 1 and comment on each section as a review for my test. Remember, my interest in all this is to move my advertising agency from industrial to architectural and engineering work. I already have my fair share of the industrial accounts in the region. The built environment and building materials market is much larger and the agency will have more opportunities to grow during this resurgence in the economy.

Domain 1: Marketing Research

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1. Research Fundamentals

1.1 Understand the Value of Market Research to Your Firm

1.2 Understand Basic Marketing Research Definitions and Principles, and the Different Types of Research and Research Designs

1.2.1 Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis: The Foundation of Strategic and Marketing Planning Process

I'm not sure how this fits into the research component but you don't want to go after the wrong business sector. Donald Trump said, "Never get into a new market on a downturn." This is exactly what I realized when I tried to get into the building market and the economy collapsed. So I put it on the back burner until now when times are good in infrastructure.

SWOT is important because you can only grow based on your strengths. You must enter related markets first. For the agency it has been internet marketing, it's an easy transition to new markets on the internet because it's more important to know the programming first and the industry second. Both help.

A lot of the time, I go to large trade shows to do research. Back in the 90s I decided to go to the huge machine tool show in Chicago to visit regional companies on the show floor. I spent days reviewing the directory locating companies in greater Cincinnati. I must have visited three dozen firms and introduced myself to the VP of Sales. To make a long story short, I got the account but the VP left for another company in Milwaukee. Two months later I was working for them.

1.2.2 Life Expectancy of Products, Services, and Market Trends

1.2.3 Primary vs Secondary Research-What They Are and When to Use Each

For a lot of small firms this comes down to the numbers and your gut feelings. The most important thing about working for a new company is the chemistry between you and the client. It's nearly impossible to understand most of the chemistry inside a client. You have to rely on your champion to help you navigate.

1.2.4 Quantitative vs Qualitative Research-What They are and When to Use Each

First you have to have a large enough market. Second you have to be liked by your client.

1.2.5 Exploratory vs Confirmatory Research

Explore to find new markets, do an experiment to confirm your hunches.

1.2.6 Evidence-Based Marketing

Sam Walton, the founder of Walmat used to fly around a region he was considering for a story. From the air it's easy to see the neighborhood density and the traffic patterns.

Another great technique in marketing is to do a survey and share it with your prospects of sell the data to your competition. Here''s a blog post that I have collected all of the Green Building Marketing research done in the US, http://green-cincinnati.com/how-to-create-green-building-marketing-communications/.

1.3 Research Steps

1.3.1 Define the Problem and Narrow the Research Objectives

What is my problem? Not enough consistent work. Good clients feed us regular work. Media, blogging and ad words are regular work. Most recently, a new internet development services web site has created a regular stream of work. We are looking at that experience much more closely to see if we can do the same with 3D illustration and industrial photography.

1.3.2 Collect the Data

1.3.3 Analyze the Data

1.3.4 Present the Findings Verbally and/or in Writing

For inspiration on presenting complex concepts go to The Work of Edward Tufte and Graphic Press. A sentence on one of the most popular pages on our site https://www.lohre.com/literature-design

1.4 Ethical and Legal Issues Related to Marketing Research

Ethical Guidlines.jpg

Everyone cheats on their taxes a little bit. Do you really have morals? Do the right thing.

1.4.1 Utility

1.4. 2 Justice

1.4.3 Rights 

1.5 Key Terms

2. Review and Refine the Focus of Your Research

2.1 Conduct a Company Audit

None of our keywords rank very high. They are typically very hard to rank for because marketing over saturates the internet. The ridiculous strategy to rank high for esoteric keywords is pretty dumb. Why would anyone want to waste time writing blog posts for "Industrial Google Ad Word Strategies?"

2.2 Define Your Research Objective

I don't think the lack of consistent work is the real problem. The tree of us need to be busy enough to keep three part time assistents busy. Three is the magical number that you are reaady to hire a new person. We only recovered from our last resession and hired Myke on full time three years ago. We are growing but the pace is way too slow. The economy is doing very well now and there is a lot of work.

2.3 Document Your Research Objective 

The Domain book has a great example of a company that asked What? and didn't ask 'What's most important?

2.4 Determine Relevant Data Points 

Includes measuring ROI on a marketing brochure, I've never seen an ROI for literature. They are used to prompt the sales force to present the marketing message in sequence. One brochure was done in 1977 and only reprinted until 2000 when the company went out of business. I guess longetivity is one measure.

2.5 Key Terms

3. Sourcing Secondary Research and Monitoring Data and Trends

3.1 Identify Sources of Relevant Data

3.1.1 Categories of Resources

3.1.2 Literature Search

3.1.3 Data Mining

3.1.4 Conduct an Audit of the Information Available Internally

3.2 Monitor Social, Demographic, Cultural, Economic Trends/Monitor Industry-Related Market Info/Monitor Federal, State, Local Regulator}' Matters

3.2.1 Maintain a Network of Contacts to Keep Abreast of Relevant Markets and Trends

3.3 Set up Systems to Gather, Store, and Monitor Data

3.3.1 Internal Reports

3.3.2 Research-Gathering Marketing Intelligence 3.3.3 Marketing Research Systems

3.3.4 Analytical Marketing System

3.4 Real Simple Syndication (RSS) Feeds

3.5 Key Terms

4. Designing and Conducting Primary Research Studies

4.1 Establish Your Research Plan (Design the Research Study)

4.1.1 Determining Your Budget

B + K x R x 1/F

BUDGET = Profit KOST at stake x Percentage research will reduce RISK x 1/ROI of new market

We'd like to increase sales by $300,000

$1,000 = $30,000 x 30% x 1/10th

4.1.2 Estimating Time

4.2 Understand the Best Applications to Gather the lnfo􀀚rmation Needed

4.3 Understand How to Administer the Research

4.3.1 Define the Sample Size

As a rule of thumb, a minimum reasonable number of completed surveys or interviews is 25.

4.3.2 Encourage Participation

4.4 Surveys

4.4.1 Types of Surveys

Client satisfaction feedback 
Market intelligence thoguht leader

4.4.2 Survey Methodologies Overview 4.4.3 Creating Effective Surveys

4.4.4 Types of Questions

4.4.5 Using/Reu􀀊ing Survey Intelligence

4.5 Ethical Considerations

4.6 Conducting your Own Research vs Hiring a Consultant

4.7 Key Terms

5. Forecasting/Modeling

Forecaasting is the ability to predict a future event. The goal is to make the best decision.

5.1 Introduction to Forecasting and its Value to the Marketer

5.2 How to Forecast

5.2.1 Create Scenarios to Prepare for the Future 5.2.2 Anticipate Wild Cards

5.2.3 Iterative Rolling Forecasts

5.3 Trend Assessment Techniques

5.4 Introduction to Knowledge Management and Data Modeling

5.4.1 Marketing Information System (MIS)

5.4.2 Decision Support System (DSS)

5.4.3 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

After years of trying to think about what would be the best CRM, I've decided to just use sacks of business cards!. They worked well on the show floor and are a great ligthweight way to prepare for checking in with old and new prospects at the next show. Some of those names will get entered into my iPhone contact list.

5.4.4 Data System

5.4.5 Model System

5.4.6 Marketers and IT

5.5 Key Terms

6. Analyzing/Interpreting Research

Everytime I go to a new show the most important research I do is to take the time to sit down and review the show guide. There is where I force myself to read the name and address of each company. Of course that doesn't work with the new trend in shows, not to publish the addresses of exhibitors. 

6.1 Review/Verify Data

6.1.1 Validating Primary Research

6.1.2 Validating Secondary Research

6.2 Sort, Code, and Enter Data 

6.2.1 Manipulating Quantitative Data

Averages are just that, a median in the middle data point on the list of samples. 

6.2.2 Manipulating Qualitative Data

6.3 Interpret/Apply Your Results 

6.3.1 Evaluating Qualitative Data

6.3.2 Evaluating Quantitative Data

6.3.3 What to Avoid

6.4 Key Terms

7 Document/Present Findings

7.1 Understand the Basics of Communication Methodology

7.1.1 Best Practices for Reporting Findings in Different Forms

7.2 Information to Include in Your Report

7.3 Creating Visuals

7.3.1 Comparison Charts

7.3.2 Contribution Charts

7.3.3 Distribution Charts

Marketing Research Word Cloud.png

7.3.4 Trending Charts

7.3.5 lnfographics

7.4 Key Terms

8. Case Study Activity

The case study section follows the path of the engineering firm getting out of schools and into retirment homes on the hunch of their CEO. Research confirms his hunches: young familes are growing up and growing old. Surveys find the skills you have to serve the new market and a better Customer Relationship Management program to keep the business development team on the same page.

9. Glossary

10. Related Resources 










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Society for Marketing Professional Services - Certified Professional Services Marketer Study Guide Epiphany

Thu, Nov 23, 2017 @ 12:01 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Marketing, Green Building Marketing, Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Business to Consumer Marketing, Featured

1 Comment



The last case study activity gives an excellent overview of the entire process for studying for the exam.

I've been studying for the Certified Proffessional Services Marketer exam ever since I joined SMPS in 2004. I wanted to grow the agency in the building industry and on the advice of Pete Strange, the president of Messer Construction, I joined SMPS. He said it was the best way to get into marketing into the AEC space.

I joined and was accepted quickly into the group by a great bunch of marketers for local architectural, construction and engineering companies. Served on the board under Alison Tepe Guy and Jason Ulmenstine for a few terms. It was going well, and I was learning a lot until the market crashed in 2008. Nearly 50 percent of the professionals in the industry were out of a job.

I put studying for the exam on the back burner in lew of passing the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional exam and getting my office awarded LEED Platinum in 2011.

This type of marketing is much more closely aligned with the type of industrial marketing Lohre & Associates has been doing my entire 40-year career; large, expensive mining, chemical, electrical and mechanical machinery. Selling the design and construction of a building is very similar.

After several failed attempts to properly study for the exam, this year the local chapter, led by Melissa Lutz of Champlin Architecture, developed a study group and incentives to pass the exam by the end of the year. It's crunch time and I'm working hard to re-read and absorb all the materials to pass the exam. The building industry has finally recovered and there are excellent opportunities to do more work in this industry.

The exam is broken up into six different domains: Marketing Research, Marketing Planning, Client & Business Development, Proposals, Promotional Activity, and Management. It was after the last page of the last book that the whole field came into focus for me. I'm going to use that case study as a jumping off point to write about the entire Markendium as SMPS calls it and hopefully hard wire the knowledge in my brain to pass the exam.

The epiphany came when I realized that all of industrial marketing comes down to people. Marketers are the ones that research other people, plan to reach other people, learn to engage with other people, make proposals for people, plan activities and manage people.

Everything about industrial marketing revolves around this simple case study that follows the path of a successful young college graduate that gets recognized and becomes a leader. That's what I want to do. Just goes to show you are never too old, 64, to learn something.


From the Markendium:

"This Case Study Activity allows you to reflect on and apply the key concepts that you learned in this Domain to a real-world scenario.

Each Domain includes a scenario about the same organization, Gilmore & Associates. The scenario is presented to you, followed by several questions. You can also elect to view the recommended solutions/ responses for each question posed, which are located on the next page. This case study can be used in many ways:

You can individually reflect on the questions after reading the scenario, and write your own notes/responses to each question. You can then check your ability to apply the key concepts against the recommended solutions/responses.

You can pull together a small group and use this scenario to drive a discussion around the challenge and to discuss solutions as a group.

You can combine a selection of the case study activities (across the Domains) into a larger scenario-based activity as a part of a professional development event."

I like the Markendium because it makes you think about the process of marketing. There is no right or wrong answer in many cases. Only different ways to approach the problem. The following is from the study guide.

"THE CPSM EDUCATIONAL PROCESS On the CPSM examination, there is only one answer that is most correct for each test question. The CPSM candidate must identify the answer generally accepted as a best practice or expose the commonly held misconception.

How Is a Best Practice Defined? A best practice is a process, technique, or use of resources with a proven record of success that becomes a standard or benchmark to which similar practices are compared. In the context of the CPSM program, the designation best practice will be applied when:

ƒthe best practice is ethical ƒ

the practice is found in current research-based literature or scholarly writing ƒ

the practice is adapted from current business literature and is tried and true in the professional services marketing field ƒ

the practice is recognized by SMPS in its own literature and publications

How Does a Candidate Recognize a Commonly Held Misconception? A commonly held misconception is an incorrect belief or opinion that results from a lack of understanding or knowledge is shared by many people. The problem inherent in this definition is, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” How do you discern if your practices of and beliefs about professional services marketing are generally accepted as best practices or commonly held misconceptions? It is often difficult to recognize when the literature is suggesting something different than what we believe or do because our brains filter the information we take in to notice the things that affirm we are right rather than to process the things that are contrary to what we believe. Learning occurs when we recognize there is a gap in knowledge or performance.

We learn when we attempt to solve problems. We also learn when we bump up against information that is obviously contrary to our belief, particularly when our own performance is under scrutiny. We learn when we discover that respected peers think differently than we do. Mostly, we learn through self-reflection, as we analyze and synthesize information and experiences to solve a problem. This study guide integrates those key elements for professional services marketer learning: self-reflection, bumping up against gaps in knowledge or performance, and understanding how other professional services marketers think. Your job as you prepare for the CPSM exam is NOT to defend that your way is the right or best way but rather to recognize that there are always alternative ways to address a challenge and to choose the more correct option given most of the time in a group of your educated, well-read peers."

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7 Tips for the One-Person Marketing Team

Wed, Nov 22, 2017 @ 01:19 PM / by Sarah Seward posted in Green Building Marketing, Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Business to Consumer Marketing


We're a big fan of TREW, here's their latest blog post by Sarah Seward, enjoy!

Before joining the TREW Crew, I spent three years working in-house as the one and only member of the marketing department. When you’re responsible for all the marketing tasks for a company, it can be overwhelming and daunting at times, so here are seven tips to make your job easier.

1. Develop an easy-to-follow marketing strategy

As the lone marketer in your company, organization is key to your success. Develop a comprehensive and easy-to-follow marketing strategy. Start by coming up with SMART goals for the year.

Do your research on marketing trends in your industry so you can decide if you want to focus your efforts on blogging, social media, email marketing, website development, trade shows, advertising, etc. As a one-person marketing team, you will need to prioritize what marketing route you take because you won’t be able to do everything on your own.

Sit down and develop a marketing strategy that details your marketing tasks for each quarter, month and week. For example, you can set a goal to create a blog post each week, a case study every month, and a new whitepaper or video every quarter. Figure out what cadence works best for you and your company when developing these tasks.

2. Create a content and social media calendar

With your content plan all mapped out for the year, create a content calendar to keep yourself organized and on–track. You can easily create this in Microsoft Excel. You can make your content calendar as detailed or simple as you want. Categories to include in your content calendar are:

  • Focused keyword
  • Content type
  • Audience Persona
  • Due Date
  • Author
  • Reviewer
  • Sales funnel position

content calendar .jpeg

Here's an example of a content calendar

With all the content you are producing, you should share all your content marketing efforts on social media. To help yourself stay organized, you can also create a social media post calendar where you can detail what posts you will share and when.

As a solo marketing department, these calendars will help lay the foundation for success and keep you organized all year.

3. Automate as much as you can

Being the only person in marketing for your organization means that you must get everything done yourself. Marketing automation is your best friend.

In this day and age, you can schedule emails, blog posts and social media posts ahead of time. This makes completing these smaller tasks quick and easy, and you won't have to worry about pausing your day to post on LinkedIn.

For social media scheduling, you have lots of good options such as Hootsuite or Buffer. HubSpot offers social media management and scheduling for those with the Basic membership and up.

Most email marketing softwares allow you to schedule your marketing emails. You can also upgrade your subscription to send automatic emails to users who complete a form on your website. This again saves you time because you don't have to personally reach out to every person who comes to your website.

You can also save time by scheduling out your blog posts in your content mangagement system. HubSpot and WordPress both give users the ability to choose when a blog post is scheduled.

4. Ask for help producing content

Your marketing department shouldn't be the only ones creating blogs. Your company is filled with people who are experts on your services and products. Reach out to these technical experts to have them write a blog post. You can have them do a simple Q&A blog post if you get resistance. For those with competitive co-workers, make it a contest by handing out prizes for those whose blog posts do the best based on website data.

You also shouldn't feel like every blog post should align with a service. Show off your company's culture by writing blog posts on after-work events, new employees, or different hobbies your co-workers have. This will show you as an authentic company that people want to do business with.

5. Attend marketing conferences to help

When you're all alone in your own department, you miss collaborating with other marketing professionals. I started attending local marketing conferences to learn from sessions how to do my job better.

I ended up finding that the best advice and tidbits came from networking during lunch or in between sessions. Questions like 'which marketing software do you use' or 'how did you get buy-in from management on a website redesign' helped inform me and lead my marketing strategy.

I would highly suggest you get out of the office for a day or two to attend a conference full of marketers struggling with the same things you are. Look for local marketing events and think about joining a marketing orgzanization, like AMA, that has local chapters. If you can get approval, go to Content Marketing Worldor INBOUND. These opportunities will help you go back to the office inspired and with new ideas.

6. Read marketing blogs and books

As much as marketing conferences helped me, so did marketing blogs and books. I started subscribing to marketing blogs because I needed to figure out our marketing strategy and stay on top of trends. Content from Yoast, Moz, HubSpot, CCO, and others helped me bring leads into our website using content marketing and SEO best practices.

As far as marketing books, I read books such as Value Proposition Design, The Long Tail, and Everybody Writes. But for me, the book that finally connected the light bulb in my head on technical marketing was Smart Marketing for Engineers. This book was written for the lone marketers at technical companies and it will give you everything you need to fill your marketing and sales funnels.


Here's my copy of Smart Marketing for Engineers with pages falling out of it because I've read it so much. 

7. Bring in expert help

As the lone marketer for a company, I used to feel intimidated and a little threatened by marketing firms asking me if I needed any help. Now, I wish I would have reached out for help on marketing strategy or a website redesign instead of feeling like I had to do everything on my own.

You should also think about hiring a freelance technical writer or an on-call website developer to help you from time to time. Building a successful marketing department takes collaboration and support from other marketing professionals.

Are you interested in learning more about developing a technical marketing strategy? Download our eBook  to start building your 2018 marketing strategy. 

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2018 Industrial Advertising & PR Plan

Fri, Oct 27, 2017 @ 04:19 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Process Equipment Marketing, Metalworking Equipment Marketing, Construction Equipment Marketing, Mining Equipment Marketing, Business to Consumer Marketing, Business to Consumer Advertising, editorial calendar, public relations planning, industrial advertising plan


Technical Article for Feintool Public Relations

Technical article in Forging Magazine

Good Technical Articles are Often More Valuable than Ads

We hear a lot about content marketing and social media (and we believe in it), but in the industrial marketing and industrial public relations world we have always been about content marketing.

We cover the entire spectrum, from print ads to web development to social media - our public relations campaigns utilize all of the working parts to get very the best results.

The fact is that ads and PR have to work together. You have to pay for your free press. We typically have two or three key publications in each market that we schedule advertising in as well as supply them with technical articles. We then repurpose those articles into emails, webinars and videos. Rinse and repeat.

We cast a wider net for our PR placements but at least purchase listings in their Buyers' Guides and Directories. That also provides high-value web site links to our clients' home pages.

Some of our clients like print and some like online only but all pay a lot of attention to their industrial advertising & PR plan.


Public Relations Technical Article for SKF


SKF Precision Technologies

"We retain Chuck on a monthly basis, under a fixed fee, to generate PR and keep Gilman in the news. The value of the PR we receive, is typically two to three times the investment we make in space advertising."

-Tom Klahorst
Vice President, Sales,
SKF Precision Technologies, a unit of SKF USA Inc.,
Grafton, Wisc. (Formerly Russell T. Gilman, Inc.)


"It is a pleasure to offer this recommendation for Lohre and Associates, a marketing consultant and media producer in southwestern Ohio.  seepex, Inc. has used their services several times and has always been satisfied with the results. 

They were used to adapt and place case history articles in trade publications and produce several high-quality graphic designs for use in a number of media, including print, web sites and electronic promotions.

Their experience with our industrial marketing publications, the technical language of the industry and personal relationships with the editors and publishers assisted us in receiving excellent placements and results.  We are sure that you will be satisfied with the results that they produce.

Best regards,

signature, Michael L. Dillon, President of Seepex, Inc. - Cincinnati Public Relations Client

- Michael L. Dillon
President, seepex inc.

 Sales Lead Generation Guide by Cincinnati Marketing Agency Lohre & Associates

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Custom LEED Home Mirrors Transformation of Northside Cincinnati Residents

Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 12:43 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Business to Consumer Marketing, Cincinnati LEED home


North West Corner 560.jpg

Several years back, Naomi Nelson and Lou Doench were living in a loft-style, high-ceilinged industrial loft across from Old St. Mary Church in Over-the-Rhine. And at the time, it was a perfect setup for the young couple.

When they wanted to start a family, they moved north -- to Northside – and into a 120-year-old home. Their new neighborhood was ideal since they’d still be close to downtown and the welcoming community offered affordable starter homes. Now 14 years later, their three kids have outgrown sharing bedrooms and no one wanted to live in the home’s third-floor attic.

And so, their search for their next Northside domicile was on.

This time they wanted better use of space, including rooms for each of the kids, a separate office space, and to eliminate non-value-added space like attic/basement which just collected stuff. They were also entertaining the idea of sustainable living while embracing the design philosophy of aging-in-place. They found the perfect double lot right on Hamilton Avenue, two blocks from their current digs.

Naomi is an industrial designer with a local consumer product goods company and had a number of specific concepts and requirements for the home. She hoped for simple and cost-effective materials, but with modern features. Oh, and no view of the three-story brick apartment building to the south. After interviewing several builders, she and Lou chose SMP Design + Construction. The Blue Ash-based firm came highly recommended and like most architects and homebuilders in Cincinnati had experience with building a custom LEED home.

“Sound building practices will get you to LEED Silver,” explains architect Aaron Kingsley of SMP. “Most of the credits are in energy efficiency, good windows and a well-sealed envelope.” LEED homes have many credits that require improved ventilation such as humidity control fans in the bathrooms and return air ducts in each bedroom for lower carbon dioxide levels.

Since 2002, the city of Cincinnati has granted 10-year tax abatement on structures. In 2007, the city added an additional five years to the tax abatement for those receiving LEED Certification. In 2011, the tax abatement for Cincinnati LEED homes became a bit more layered and difficult. Now, owners must achieve LEED Silver to receive a tax break on the first $285,000 of the structure’s value. LEED Gold has a limit of $565,000, and it’s unlimited if you achieve LEED Platinum. Because of the tax abatement, nearly every new home in Cincinnati is LEED Certified and builders have become quite familiar with how to do it cost effectively.

When Naomi and Lou first heard about the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) tax abatement, they thought it meant solar panels, something that wasn’t in their budget. As designs and budget were refined and they realized they’d exceeded $285,000, they took another look at LEED. It didn’t require solar panels and SMP Design + Construction showed it wouldn’t significantly add to the cost. Naomi and Lou decided to take the leap to LEED and start building. Normally, improved drainage, added ventilation and very specific anti-mold building materials are typical improvements and have an easily understood value on their own. They hope to achieve LEED Gold, requiring 72 credits, out of a possible 110.

The definitely modern-with-a-twist home on Northside’s major thoroughfare offers a matching close setback from the street. Even though the home is on a quite deep double lot, the Nelsons wanted to match the setback of neighboring homes and buildings.

Living Room sketch 2 560.jpg

The home’s whimsical twists are the sloped walls and columns used to add interest and drama to the mixture of textures. Think simulated fields stone, vertical siding, stucco and aluminum flashing. Imagine a traditional plumb framed wall. Create long wedges by cutting a 2-by-6 on the diagonal, flip them around and attach to both sides of the wall. It took the carpenters a while to get used to it, but it gives the home tremendous visual interest. Sloped ceiling lines are used to bring light further into the home.

Finishing touches included Forest Stewardship Council certified maple trim (the trees are harvested without clear cutting the forest and destroying the eco-system) with a clear-coat finish, black accent hardware and stainless steel staircase railing fittings. The interior aesthetic is part modern and part commercial. The architect found the perfect commercial light fixtures that fit right in with the design.
Naomi and Lou dubbed the new home “Wishful Thinking,” a moniker that came from the initial “list-everything-we-wanted-meetings” that just stuck. 

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LEED for Homes

The LEED for Homes Rating System provides a basis for quantifying the benefits of green homes, thereby facilitating the widespread construction of more sustainable homes. One of the first steps in planning a LEED home is to adjust the certification thresholds based on the material and energy impacts. All else being equal, a large home consumes more materials and energy than a small home over its lifecycle. LEED compensates for these impacts by adjusting the thresholds for each award level. Thresholds for smaller-than-average homes are lowered, and thresholds for larger-than-average homes are raised. This home's threshold for LEED Gold is 72 points. A 4,500-sq.-ft. home with five bedrooms would be about 85 points. The Nelson/Doench home at 2,300 sq. ft. and four bedrooms is average.

Living Room 1 560.jpg

In the end, the homeowner will have a well built and third-party certified home. Passing the blower door test alone is significant. Blower door tests are used to prove the air sealing quality of the construction. During the test the home is depressurized to -50 Pascal and measurements are recorded throughout the home to verify that outside air isn’t leaking into the home at a rate higher than required. It proves the home won’t be drafty and uncomfortable. Contrary to those builders who tell home owners that homes need to breathe for fresh air, it is much better to control the ventilation rather than allowing shoddy construction of leaky vapor barriers to supply fresh air to the home.

Kitchen 560.jpg

The LEED Certification system is broadly categorized into five equally important parts that demonstrate measurable environmental benefits: Site, Water, Energy, Materials, and Indoor Environment Quality. The following is a review of the features of this home according to the LEED for Homes system.

Prerequisites include building above the 100-year floodplain, not habitat for endangered species, built no closer than 100 feet to water or wetlands, land that wasn’t a public park and land that doesn’t have prime, unique or soils of state significance. Excavated topsoil was reused; runoff was controlled, so it didn’t contaminate storm water sewers or erode hillsides.

The Location and Linkages category credits include benefits for locating the home in a walkable neighborhood demonstrated by having at least seven basic community resources within ½ mile. This home achieved exemplary performance for having 28 basic community resources within 1.2 miles, such as arts and entertainment center, bank, convenient store, daycare, fire station, cleaner, library, pharmacy, places of worship and schools. The highly desired urban location encourages walking, physical activity, and time spent outdoors.

170612_4314 Hamilton_landscape plan 560.jpg

The Sustainable Sites category of credits includes landscaping, which Naomi designed, includes non-conventional turf by using Turpin Farms 1785 mix and 97% drought tolerant plants such as Russian sage, lavender, black-eyed susan, hellebore, hosta and arborvitae. Since the provision and distribution of potable water is costly and energy intensive, particularly during dry periods, a more sensible strategy is to design landscaping that requires less potable water.

Energy and atmosphere benefits feature a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) analysis verification of the energy efficiency of the home. They are hoping for a rating of around 35, which will mean that their home is 65% more efficient than a typical home in Cincinnati. No ozone damaging HCFC refrigerants are used in the air conditioning system. Hot water lines were insulated to a minimum of R4. Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) of R48 were used for the roof, R38 is required by code. The 2x6 walls are R21.

Indoor environmental quality includes no unvented combustion appliances, space or water heating equipment. The Nelson home uses a tankless water heater. Prerequisites included bathroom and kitchen exhausts meeting ASHRAE Standard 62.2 airflow requirements, air is exhausted to outdoors with an Energy Star labeled bathroom exhaust. Contaminant control includes design for shoe removal and storage space near the primary entryway.

Awareness and education requirements include this article as part of the LEED Certification. It will be published online at Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy and the local USGBC’s Chapter site once certified. LEED Signage was posted on the site. The homeowners will receive an operator and training manual as well as a one-hour walkthrough.

“LEED is a more rigorous Green Home standard,” says Kingsley, “which requires third-party testing and isn’t just a requirement to use specific materials.” The additional five-year tax abatement offered by the city of Cincinnati is the deciding factor for many homes.

Lou ans Naomi 2 560.jpg

‘We’re looking forward to moving in and growing with the landscape as the icing on the cake of our 'industrial chic' home that reminds us of the OTR urban loft we loved so much before moving to Northside,” Naomi Nelson and Lou Doench.

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Ecologically Conscious Intentional Community Green Home Tour

Mon, Apr 24, 2017 @ 03:14 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Green Building, Green Home Tours, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, Green Home Design, Ecologically Conscious Intentional Community


 Earnshaw Ecohouse 600.jpg

WHAT: Earnshaw Ecohouse, USGBC Green Home Tour
WHERE: Address will be sent after registering, Mt. Auburn, Cincinnati
WHEN: Wednesday April 26, 2017 6 to 8 pm

This conscious community home’s goal is to be off the grid in 2017. You’ll learn some simple but very effective ways to limit energy use as well as reduce water consumption and eliminate waste. Their garden is an example of permaculture principals. All within a very low budget.


Earnshaw Chicken Coop IMG_9024 600-1.jpg

From their site, "The Earnshaw Ecohouse is an ecologically conscious intentional community. Our mission is to model and promote community sustainability and become an off-grid household by 2017 through four key practices:

  • reducing consumption,
  • providing and advocating for the care of local ecosystems,
  • supporting local enterprise, and
  • facilitating dialogue about sustainable communities

Earnshaw Gray Water 5 Gal Buckets IMG_9027 600-1.jpg

The community mission of the Earnshaw Ecohouse is to foster cooperation and sustainability among our Mt Auburn neighbors. Our work in the community begins by identifying existing community projects. Whenever feasible, we will integrate our own resources to nurture our neighbors’ projects or we will develop new projects."

Earnshaw 250 Gal Rainwater Tank IMG_9039 600-1.jpg 

Our host, Robbie Ludlum, "From Cincinnati originally, I joined the Air Force at age 18 which allowed me to see some of the world and live abroad while turning wrenches on jets.  After 6 years I was honorably discharged and began a few years of traveling which include backpacking Europe extensively, spending a year living on the side of the road while I cruised the States on my motorcycle, and going on a winter expedition through northern Maine traveling via snowshoes and toboggan. Currently I’m majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Environmental Studies at the University of Cincinnati. I’m most interested in living off grid and being a part of a community of like-minded people."

About the Green Residential Committee of the Southwest Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Coucil - Mission: To provide education on sustainability in everyday tasks by promoting household environmentally sound practices to transform the way homes are designed, built, and operated enabling healthy, prosperous and environmentally and socially responsible living.

Committee Chair: Toni Winston, Tiburon Energy

Contact to Volunteer or Participate: toni@tiburonenergy.com

Green Home Tours: No charge for USGBC Ohio members (you can bring a guest), join the Ohio Chapter. If you don’t have a USGBC Ohio membership registered account, go to www.usgbc.org and click on “Account” in the upper right. A window will come up, click on the “Don’t have an account? Create one.” Once you register your free account, you should be able to pay your dues for the “USGBC Ohio Chapter”. You don’t have to register as a USGBC business. Non-members are asked to donate $15 per person at the door. Contact Chair Chuck Lohre to register for the tours or be introduced to any of the owners of past and future tours, Chuck@Lohre.com, 513-260-9025. Sponsored by The Sustainable Partnership of Cincinnati, a group of businesses offering sustainable products and services to create sustainable homes and offices. Learn more at www.tspcincy.com.

Learn more and see all past and future tours.

Sincerely, Chuck Lohre

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Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Celebration: Theme “Local Food”

Tue, Apr 11, 2017 @ 09:59 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Green Building, Business to Consumer Marketing, Greater Cincinnati Earth Day


WHAT: The 47th Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Celebration: Theme “Local Food” 
WHERE: Summit Park, 4335 Glendale Milford Rd, Blue Ash, OH 45242
WHEN: Saturday “Official Earth Day”, April 22, noon- 7 p.m.

1:15 p.m. Environmental Awards presentation
1:30 p.m. Student Recycled Costume Contest
 Earth Globe 560.jpg

This free, family-friendly event hosted by the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition, will feature over 100 vendors and exhibitors offering Earth-friendly products and interactive educational activities, live music, a beer garden, petting zoo and recycling games.

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Highlights of the day include the 3rd-7th grade Student Recycled Costume Contest and Fashion Show, presentation of the 2017 Environmental Awards, which recognizes individuals and organizations who demonstrate outstanding environmental stewardship, and a lecture series on the local food resources, the benefits of home gardening and the how to compost.

Local Food 560.jpg
Our theme, Local Food, will actively involve environmental groups, government agencies, businesses and citizens of all ages in demonstrating their contributions to the beauty and quality of life through their positive actions. The Earth Day event provides a wonderful opportunity for a day of environmental education for the public.  In addition to exhibits and entertainment, local food trucks and Rhinegeist “Cincy Made” craft beer truck will attend.

Visit www.cincinnatiearthday.com for a complete schedule of events and more details.
Earth Day poster 560.jpg

Link to poster and 40 high-resolution photos of past vendors and activities that will be at this year’s event

Members of the board of the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition and sponsors are available for radio and tv appearances before and during the event. A Ron Esposito interview with Vice Chair, Emily Cigolle; PR Director, Josh Cylde; and sponsor Green Umbrella, Director, Kristin Weiss will be aired on WVXU on April 16.

About the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition
The Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition is a (501c3) community of not-for-profit organizations, businesses, government agencies and individuals from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Tri-state region who work cooperatively and actively to promote the beauty and environmental quality of the Tri-state area.  Visit www.cincinnatiearthday.com for more information on the event.

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Adaptive Reuse: New Life for Old Buildings

Mon, Apr 03, 2017 @ 09:48 AM / by Krista Atkins Nutter posted in Green Building Marketing, Green Building, Green Home Tours, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, Green Home Design, Adaptive Reuse


Adaptive-Reuse-2.jpgI'm excited to introduce you to this cool project in Vermont, so I thought I might as well do an entire article about adaptive reuse design.  Adaptive reuse is exactly what it sounds like - it's taking an old, abandoned, or derelict building and adapting it and making it useful for another purpose.  I'm sure you've seen this done many times in your area, like when an old school is turned into apartments or condos, or an old train station is turned into a museum.  Most often, the building has some historic or significant value, but it can even be turning an old warehouse into lofts or condos.  Adaptive reuse is a significant contribution to sustainable design by reducing the use of resources, reducing waste, saving historically significant architecture, and re-connecting a place to its past and community.

(The carcass of the abandoned Moran Municipal Generation Station, on Burlington's lakefront, inspired Tad Cooke (left) and Erick Crockenberg. Their charge: Turn the cavernous interior into an "innovation space." | Photo by Bear Cieri)

The exciting project I'm talking about comes from two college guys in Vermont.  Needing a capstone project for their degree, the two paired up and proposed a project to convert an old coal power plant into a cultural center in their Vermont town.  Not only was their project proposal approved for their capstone project, but they also contacted the mayor and other major players in town to propose the project in actuality - which rarely happens with college capstone projects!  Here's a link to the project: Senior Project | Sierra Club   Check out their project, but make sure you come back here to read below about some of the significant adaptive reuse projects we have right here in Cincinnati!

Adaptive-Reuse.jpgThere's a lot of reuse going on in Cincinnati - you can see my post here about the 19th century brewery in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood being converted into a music venue and cultural hall.  There's also the 1915 Ford Manufacturing Plant on Lincoln Ave. in Cincinnati.  Now housing engineering offices, it once was the manufacturing location for Ford Model A's and Model T's.

(Photo is by John Leming, "Just so that you can see the similarities in design, here is the restored plant in Cincy. These plants were designed by Albert Kahn, and they represent early reenforced concrete construction. The Cincy plant is on the National Register. Again, the Benson Ford supplied me with more information than one could possibly expect.")

There's also the Precinct Steakhouse, a high end restaurant created in the old Cincinnati Police Patrol House Number 6 in the east end Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood.

And one certainly can't forget Union Terminal on the west side - now housing the Cincinnati Museum Center (which is the Cincinnati History Museum, the Cincinnati Children's Museum, and the Cincinnati Natural History Museum).  It also still serves as the Amtrak station.  It's still one of the most beautiful examples of Art Deco architecture in the world.

Adaptive-Reuse-Cincinnati-Art-Academy.jpgAnother truly unique project that's local to Cincinnati - is the old Home Quarters home improvement store in Oakley that was converted into a Crossroads Church by Champlin Architecture.

And of course I shouldn't forget the Bavarian Brewing Company's building over in Covington, Kentucky that was converted into a night club and entertainment complex called Jillian's.  Jillian's is gone, but the building is still there - I believe it might even be available.  Any takers?

(Photo of another adaptive reuse project in OTR Cincinnati, the Art Academy of Cincinnati. It was one of the first LEED Certified projects in Cincinnati. Photo by Chuck Lohre.)

Adaptive reuse is part of the urban revitalization that's happening all across America.  Find out what's happening in your town and do what you can to support it!


Nutter Residence.jpgAbout the author: Krista Nutter, (LEED AP, MS Arch, NCIDQ ) is a design educator and administrator at a CIDA-accredited program, a sustainable building consultant, and designer/owner of an award-winning, Energy-Star 5+, passive solar, solar electric, high-performance green home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her home was on the USGBC Cincinnati Green Home tour in 2015. Learn more about it at the house blog.)

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Hampton Residence - USGBC Green Home Tour

Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 03:04 PM / by Krista Atkins Nutter posted in Green Building Marketing, Green Building, Green Home Tours, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, Green Home Design


Hampton Residence 2.jpgThe Southwest Ohio USGBC Residential Green Building Committee’s March 2017 tour showcased the Hampton Residence on Walnut St. in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, an 1860 Italianate structure with three full floors, an unoccupied attic loft, roof-top deck and a full basement. The home was originally built as a 6-unit tenement property, but has been renovated into a single family home. The hosts of the tour were owner/architect Steve Hampton and his wife Jennifer Parr. From the beginning of the tour presentation, it was clear that visitors would be learning lessons in patience and compromise.

Hampton Living Kitchen.jpgHampton purchased the property in 1999 for $5,000. At that time he stabilized the structure and rebuilt the roof to make the structure water tight. The rest of the renovation would have to wait, as Hampton worked on other projects and as he says, “life got in the way” for a while. After 15 long years of patience, and plenty of time to perfect the design in theory, the time became right to begin the restoration in earnest. The renovation was essentially a total gut renovation with Hampton salvaging as much of the original building as possible. The owners began by opening up the interior and addressing the energy efficiency and sealing of the building envelope. They chose high efficiency dual-pane replacement windows with true divided lites in a matching pattern to the original windows, and a product called InSoFast, a foam insulation panel, to insulate the interior side of the original 8 to 12 inch brick masonry exterior walls. The south shared “party wall” of the home (the wall the home shares with the adjacent building) was left as exposed brick. The roof was insulated with 9-10 inches of closed cell spray foam insulation, and a new basement floor slab was poured over two inches of foam insulation, after drainage and waterproofing measures were completed.

Hampton Living Above.jpgThe primary heating source for the residence is zoned hydronic radiant floor heating supplied by a 95% efficiency natural gas fired boiler located in the basement. Each floor is designated as a separate zone with its own thermostat, as is the master bathroom. The boiler also supplies hot water to the domestic hot water system throughout the house as well. Another feature on the domestic hot water system is a closed loop recirculation system to keep the water in the lines - so that fixtures on the upper floors, far away from the basement boiler do not have to waste water by needing to wait for cold water to run out of the lines before the hot water arrives on the fourth floor powder room. To install the radiant floor heating, PEX flexible plumbing lines were installed on the existing subfloor and were then embedded by pouring 1 ½” of gypcrete or a type of lightweight concrete, followed by a glue-down ¾” tongue and groove oak wood floor. The original wood floors having been lost to water damage allowed the home owners to use the gypcrete product which, because of its thermal mass, increases the efficiency of the radiant system by assisting the heat distribution evenly. Gypcrete also provides significant acoustic sound reduction, fire resistance, and floor leveling. For back up heating (on days when the radiant system might prove to be too slow to respond to Cincinnati’s significant temperature swings, there is a heat pump and air handler which also provides ventilation and air conditioning in the summer. The home also features a Heat Recovery Ventilation unit (HRV) to increase efficiency of stale air removal, and fresh air intake and distribution. The air handler and HRV are located in a mechanical closet on the unoccupied fourth floor.

Hampton Master.jpgThe layout of the home is a significant change to a home of this era. Hampton and Parr revealed that a compromise between modern and historic details played a significant role in the entire renovation – including the layout of spaces. Upon entering the side entrance to the first floor of the residence, visitors are welcomed into a small foyer with a staircase leading to upper floors. To the front of the house is a home office and to the back of the house is a bath and guest bedroom. In the foyer is also access to a set of stairs leading to the basement. Taking the stairs to the second level, visitors find the master bedroom and bath, a main bath, and an additional bedroom. Continuing up to the third level, visitors reach the main living area including the living room, kitchen, dining area, and den. The stairway continues up to the unoccupied fourth floor where there is access to the mechanical closet, loft overlook, powder room, and a door to the rooftop deck. The central core on all floors from basement to the fourth floor is a future elevator shaft. Currently, the shaft serves as a huge storage closet on each floor. The floor structures on each floor of the closet can be removed to accommodate a residential elevator, and an elevator pit was planned in the basement when the new slab was poured. The possibility of a future elevator speaks to the planning and importance placed on longevity as a concept of sustainability. (You can read my article about longevity as sustainability here. You can use this link, or the one from Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy once you post the Longevity article there)

Hampton Baby.jpgThe Hampton Residence also illustrates how historic properties can support sustainable concepts. Consider material reuse, the use of local materials (bricks, lumber, etc.) and labor, and a design that emphasizes natural ventilation. In addition, the home’s location is located within a densely populated urban area, near public transportation and services, so it fares favorably in the Neighborhood and Linkages areas of the LEED for Homes rating criteria. The project is currently in the approval phase of LEED H Certification, and Hampton is hopeful for the anticipated LEED Silver approval. The city of Cincinnati tax abatement for LEED certified properties are a significant incentive to design sustainably and seek certification.

Hampton and Parr also designed the interiors themselves, utilizing Hampton’s architectural training and emphasizing the art of compromise. They vowed to keep as many historic elements that they could, but juxtaposed them with modern design elements as well. Nowhere is this more evident that in the 3-story stairwell with original railing details, plaster, and exposed brick walls, directly adjacent to modern stainless steel cable railing and translucent colored glass panels. The way other small historic and modern details play off of each other reminds visitors that the home is both from the past and present.

You can see a list of vendors and products recommended by the tour homeowner here.

To see a photo album of this home tour, please visit: pix.sfly.com/CRjw-jEk

Nutter Residence.jpgAbout the author: Krista Nutter, (LEED AP, MS Arch, NCIDQ ) is a design educator and administrator at a CIDA-accredited program, a sustainable building consultant, and designer/owner of an award-winning, Energy-Star 5+, passive solar, solar electric, high-performance green home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her home was on the USGBC Cincinnati Green Home tour in 2015. Learn more about it at the house blog.)


If you liked this post you might like another Atkins post, "Aging in Place: Longevity as Sustainability,"



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Aging in Place: Longevity as Sustainability – Krista Atkins Nutter

Sun, Mar 26, 2017 @ 11:01 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Green Building, Business to Consumer Marketing


Longevity-as-Sustainability-1.jpgWe are preparing to host another green home tour to a group of local high school students soon, so I’ve been thinking about all of the sustainable features in our home that I like to highlight on tours.  It’s been a while since we’ve hosted a student or scout group, so it will be nice to do a showing for education again. 

One of the topics that came up as I created my outline - one that I often forget about when discussing sustainability - is "Longevity as Sustainability."  One of the important concepts about building a sustainable home is making sure that you get what you really want and that it lasts a very long time, so that you don't have to replace things and contribute to the landfill problem.  For example, our exterior metal siding and roofing each have a 50 year warranty on the finish, and a lifetime warranty on the structure of the metal panels.  There's no asphalt roofing shingle on the market that can come close to that, so bam!  I never have to worry about my roof.  Ever.  That's nice, let me tell you.  Because now that my kids are older, I spend all of my time worrying about who's supposed to be where for what, at what time, and did they bring the right gear and enough snacks and water - know what I mean?  Who has time to worry about a roof, right?

Longevity-as-Sustainability-2.jpgThe other instance of longevity I thought about was in terms of the overall structure, not one specific component.  Since it’s been a little while since we’ve hosted a tour, I had forgotten one of the main aspects of our home:  the entire first floor is accessible.  That means that it was designed for restricted or limited mobility.  The front sidewalk gently slopes up to the front door with no steps, all of the walkways and hallways throughout the house are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, the microwave is housed below the kitchen counter instead of above the stove, and there's an accessible master bath, bedroom, and walk-in closet on the first floor.  In addition, all faucets and door handles are lever type, instead of knobs - to accommodate someone who might have dexterity issues because of an injury, arthritis, or simply from aging.  We also built extra wood blocking into the stud walls in the bathrooms where toilet and shower grab bars could be installed later if we need them.

An additional bit of design ingenuity of our home is the fact that there are really two master bedrooms - the main master on the first floor, and an additional master with a walk-in closet on the second floor that currently belongs to our teenage daughter.  The thought process for the second master was the fact that both my husband and I are the oldest siblings in our families.  We feel a sense of responsibility that if one of our parents ever needed constant care, we could reasonably allow them to move into our first floor master bedroom and bath, while we could comfortably move to my daughter's room upstairs without having to sacrifice bedroom or closet space!  We have an additional spare bedroom up there where my daughter could move to, or we would hope that any such moves would take place after she's left for college and out on her own.  See?  Longevity.

What longevity really amounts to is a design term that's hot right now called Aging in Place.  This is actually a design specialty now with a certification that goes along with it: CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist).  You can do an online search to find out more about Aging in Place and accessible or even Universal Design.  You can also search to find a CAPS professional in your area as well.  Some builders have CAPS qualifications and can build you a home or addition that is ready for Aging in Place.  Other CAPS designers can work with you to make changes or renovations to existing homes to make them more Aging in Place compliant.  The idea is to allow people, if they so choose, to stay in their homes as long as physically possible.  (Longevity.)

Accessible, Universal, and Aging in Place Design are much needed specialties in my field, but there's an additional, newer specialty that can either be seen to conflict or support these others.  It's called Active Design.  The idea of Active Design is to keep people active as long as possible, and it takes design ideals from large cities, Europe, and other parts of the world, and integrates them into spaces in a unique way to encourage more mobility.  Because of obesity being such an epidemic in the U.S., architects and designers are trying to encourage more active lifestyles on a more subliminal level.  Concepts in Active Design include placing beautifully designed stairways in prominent locations in the design - while elevators are more hidden or less convenient to access.  Workplace users are actually encouraged to walk more, take more mini-breaks from sitting at their desks, and so on.  The trends in homes over the past few decades has been a shift to single story or Ranch style homes or at least homes (like mine) with a master bedroom on the main level, however, Active Design encourages daily trips up and down stairs to maintain a higher activity level, which keeps muscles and bones of the body stronger and encourages more . . . . longevity.  Urban planners are encouraging biking or walking within neighborhoods by including bike racks, trails, paths, and bike lanes on roadways to encourage more activity as well.

Well, that's all I have for you to ponder today.  Have a great day and why not spend a little time thinking about your own longevity.  What type of design is for you?  Aging in Place, Universal Design, Active Design?  Perhaps a combination of all three?  There are no rules - it's your space, as long as you . . . Live Well and Dream Green!

Green-Home-Design.jpg(This week's post comes from Krista Nutter, LEED AP, MS Arch. Her home was on the USGBC Cincinnati Green Home tour in 2015. Learn more about it at the house blog.)

If you liked this post you might like, "Green Education for Our Youngest Citizens." 


Interested in learning more? Here's the "Greenest Home in the World."


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