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The Joys of a LEED Platinum Green Office and How You Can Achieve It

Tue, Jan 07, 2014 @ 01:25 PM / by Lauren Campbell posted in Green Building Consulting, LEED Certification, Green Building Materials, Green Building

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The front of  the Lohre & Associates LEED Platinum Building

A LEED Platinum office attracts fantastic employees. A Green Building Consultant can help you achieve it.

We all know that a vested interest in the future is what keeps businesses operating. What better way to showcase your investment than working in a green building? Not to mention, the employee perks associated with green building: cleaner indoor environmental quality, more natural lighting, green cleaning products, and more; all of these components contribute to the wellness, health, and productivity of your employees. Helping them stay happier and productive longer. 

In addition to happier, more productive employees, as a business owner you get to be a part of the joyful process of LEED building. Learning the how, why and what of LEED gives individuals a peek into the green building industry and offers a green educational element to your building and to your business. There is something to be said when you take a building materials client through your office and show them all of the sustainable measures you have taken, especially when most of these measures include new technology resulting in a cleaner environment and happier employees. 

One example of utilizing newer technology is having a net zero waste building. This means that all energy the building uses is derived from renewable resources and sometimes generated on location, with the use of geothermal, solar panels, or even a small wind turbine. In addition to energy, net zero waste also means no water waste. Collecting, treating and reusing all water within a building is quite a feat; requiring rain water collection and treatment of black water (sewer grade water) to potable or drinkable water. This typically requires utilizing newer technology, but will give the building owner, residents and/or employees a sense of leadership knowing they are not contributing to our already tapped clean water resources.

No One Wants A Headache

Having your building LEED certified is quite an undertaking and one that cannot be done alone. An entire team of individuals is necessary and a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) is recommended; there is even a point given to those projects who utilize a LEED AP. LEED AP's make the documentation process a little less difficult. They also bring a more sustainable mindset to your project, helping everyone stay on the 'green' track. Having a key individual to effectively communicate the importance of documenting each and every aspect of a project is the difference between having a smooth, fluid project or a large, shuddering headache. 

Green Marketing CompanyRecently, there has been some green building scrutiny: they  take longer to build, they are more expensive, etc. While there is an immense amount of time management that goes into a green building, having open communication and a dedicated team helps alleviate most of those issues; and yes, up front costs can be higher, but many businesses see larger ROI's within the first few years of operating in energy efficiency alone. This doesn't take into account longer employee retention, more productive employees, or the health care savings associated with green building. Overall, green building is a smart investment. Article from the Cincinnati Business Courier.

As an employee who works in a LEED Platinum building, I can attest to the cleaner, happier environment. It was important to me to find an environment that lined up with my core values and doing so makes working so much more enjoyable. It is exciting to be a part of something that is helping our environment, our city, and our corporate culture. 

Lauren Campbell LEED GA, Internet Marketing at Lohre & Associates.


If you liked this blog post, you will also enjoy this one on "How Volkswagen 'Greened' its Chattanooga Assembly Plant."


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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LEED Certification Documentation for Your Home or Office

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 @ 01:13 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in LEED, LEED Certification, Green Building Materials, LEED Platinum Certification, Green Building, Cincinnati Advertising Agency

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By planning ahead, you can LEED Certify your home or office for little or no additional expense.

At Lohre & Associates, we self documented our own offices to the LEED Platinum level for only $12 per square foot for the complete office makeover including application fees. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-governmental, non-profit agency founded in 1993. LEED has become the most widely accepted Green Building standard.

The office remodel included:Lohre   Shickel Design Building

  • New carpet
  • Energy Star copier
  • Flat-screen computer monitors
  • Occupancy lighting sensors
  • 100% LED or CFL lighting
  • Low-flow toliet adapter
  • Integral hand-washing station above water closet
  • Pellet stove
  • Mini-blinds
  • Glass display case
  • Green electricity
  • High-efficiency air filter
  • Entrance mats
  • Carbon Dioxide sensor
  • Mini-FridgeLohre   Zero Irrigation Landscape

The U.S. Green Building Council publishes reference guides to the various types of Green Building Certifications: residential, commercial office, new construction, schools, retail spaces and existing buildings. The first thing you will want to do is purchase the appropriate guide for your project and learn what Green building products and features to include. The following examples are from the five different LEED Green Building categories: site, water use efficiency, energy use, materials, and indoor environment quality.

Site of the building, home or office

The best Green building will be the reuse of an existing structure. Orientation to the sun and dimensions of the building can reduce energy use by about 25%. Light-colored concrete parking lots and roofs are cooler than black asphalt. Shade from trees and gardens will also help cool the site. Access to public transportation and community services are important to limit automobile use.

Water savings and efficiencyLohre   Rain Pot Barrel

City-water water use can be limited by capturing rain water. Interior water use can be limited by efficient-flush and flow fixtures. Limiting storm water runoff is also also an objective of a Green building. Rain gardens, green roofs, pervious parking lots and walking paths can help keep rain water where it falls.

Energy efficiency

Air leak sealing and insulation are the most important investment for a Green building. Sealing the air leaks in existing buildings with high-performance spray foam can deliver the benefits of both at the same time. 

As you reduce the requirements of an HVAC system, you reduce the size, the expense and cost. Renewable energy systems such as generating electricity from solar panels or hydro-electric, and sawdust pellet stoves can also reduce the use of fossil fuels. Operating and maintaining your HVAC systems at their most efficient is an important feature of Green buildings.

MaterialsLohre   Sawdust Fuel Pellet Stove

Use reclaimed or salvaged building materials wherever possible. Materials with recycled and regional content help reduce the environmental impact of your building. Cork, linoleum, bamboo, agricultural waste plywood, and castor oil content in spray foam are materials that take less than 10 years to grow and reduce the use of hard wood and similar limited materials.

Indoor Environment Quality

Green buildings are very tight and don't have drafts from air leaking through the building. This makes it important that harmful chemicals contained in some paints, caulks, cleaning agents, furniture and floor coverings aren't allowed into the building. The gas appliances also have to operate without leaks. Green buildings have better views to the outside, thermal and lighting controls.

Once you have decided on the location and design of your building, you'll purchase the materials meeting Green building standards. Green building construction has minimal waste and a builder with experience working on a LEED project will help reduce waste. Once your project is done, you can gain Green building points by using it as an educational tool to teach others.

Green buildings are at least 20% more energy efficient and 30% more water efficient than code buildings. By Certifying your project LEED, occupancy rates and resale value will be higher. LEED Certification includes a commissioning agent who serves only the owner of the project. It is your third-party verification that your project was built and will operate to the highest standards. There is no other Certification like it available. If you build inside the city of Cincinnati you may qualify for tax abatements on the structure. There are also tax incentives for HVAC and energy-efficiency windows, insulation and other products and services.

How can we help?

Want to discuss a Green Building project? Review sustainable building materials? Learn how to save water? Have a presentation made to your organization? Lohre & Associates' Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy division can help with any of these requests. We did 100% of the work and documentation on our own LEED Platinum office and currently expecting LEED Platinum on a new construction project. We are also working on the LEED Certification of the Frank Lloyd Wright Boulter house in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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