Media skips concrete details fit to print

Aug 6, 2018 2:58:37 PM / by Don Marsh posted in concrete, Green Marketing, green education

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A May CNN Style post, “Can the building industry break its addiction to concrete?,” credits concrete with defining construction in recent centuries, then sharply digresses: “But do we need to re-evaluate our concrete habit for our sakes and the planet’s? Production of cement is disastrous for our biosphere, while the degradation of many concrete buildings has some experts predicting a colossal headache in the future.” Author Thomas Page follows that aggressive take with minimal examination of concrete structures’ role in quality of life basics—from water supply and wastewater conveyance and treatment, to transportation infrastructure, to a built environment known for withstanding exposure to fire and nature’s forces. Exploring load-worthy alternatives to concrete with materials and design experts, he points to a California building’s 24-in. thick, rammed-earth walls.

Journalist Vince Beiser raises global warming and resource depletion concerns in a June Los Angeles Times commentary, “Concrete is the stuff civilization is made of. But for all its blessings, there are huge environmental costs.” Absent honest context of durability and life cycle matters related to exterior and interior concrete structures, he suggests, “We tend to assume concrete is as permanent as the stone it mimics. It isn’t. Concrete fails and fractures in dozens of ways.”

As author of The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization (Penguin Books, August 2018), Beiser appreciates concrete buildings’ role in stepped up urbanization the world over. He cites a United Nations estimate of 65 million people locating to cities annually, but trivializes the near-permanent nature of a concrete slab or elevated slab structure bearing on properly engineered foundations.

The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association-backed Build With Strength coalition challenged the pursuit of alternatives to concrete, noting, “Amidst our ever-increasing population density, noncombustible construction keeps us safe in our homes, work-places, schools and places of worship … The assertion that a noncombustible construction material be replaced leaves us vulnerable to development with cheaper materials that put lives in danger.”

For a look at construction light on concrete, Beiser should check local media reports on a February 2018 fire at the three-story, wood-framed Corsica Apartment Homes near Los Angeles. It is among dozens of Build With Strength-spotlighted incidents involving existing or new wood construction.

Without asking Beiser about the air pollution attending wood construction fires, not to mention their often heavy human costs, the coalition continues its “Concrete is the stuff” response by clarifying an environmental point: “The author links concrete to global carbon emissions, but only tells half the story by omitting that the sustainable and insulating nature of concrete contribute to the lower lifetime energy usage and costs to heat and cool these structures.”

Weeks after “Can the building industry break its addiction to concrete?,” the Cable News Network balanced its coverage. A CNN Money segment focused on the carbon-sequestering properties of concrete structures cast from mixes using the CarbonCure Technologies process. It discovered how carbon dioxide imparts performance in fresh and finished slabs and structures in a visit with lead CarbonCure user, Atlanta-based Thomas Concrete.

The segment, “This concrete traps CO2 emissions forever,” is a good reference to journalists seeking a pertinent angle on concrete. Thomas Concrete and Build With Strength coalition members are among many authoritative sources with insight on probing questions like: Is there a viable alternative to concrete on the horizon? Is the negligible CO2 load associated with portland cement-based products a good trade off for the superior life cycle attributes certain in properly designed, placed and finished slabs, structures and enclosure elements?

(Thanks to Don Marsh for his editorial, you can learn more at the publication's site.)

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Neste and IKEA to Produce Bio-Based Polypropylene

Jun 20, 2018 10:00:19 AM / by Mary Page Bailey posted in Green Building Marketing, Bio-Based Polypropylene

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From Chemical Engineering Magazine, by Mary Page Bailey |

Neste Corp. (Espoo, Finland; www.neste.com) is collaborating with IKEA to utilize renewable residue and waste raw materials, such as used cooking oil, as well as sustainably-produced vegetable oils in the production of plastic products. The pilot project at commercial scale will begin during fall 2018. It will be the first large-scale production of renewable, bio-based polypropylene plastic globally.


Image from IKEA. Read more about IKEA's LEED store in West Chester, Ohio.

IKEA wants to usemore renewable and recycled materials and explore new materials for IKEA products. As part of this journey, IKEA is working to change all of the plastic used in IKEA products to plastic based on recycled and/or renewable materials by 2030.

One of the ongoing projects towards eliminating virgin fossil-based raw materials in plastic products is a collaboration between IKEA and Neste, which was initiated in 2016. Thanks to this collaboration, IKEA and Neste are now able to turn waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil, as well as sustainable vegetable oils into polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) plastic. PP and PE plastic are some of the most commonly used plastic.

“This new material represents a significant step towards a fossil free future. No one has ever before been able to produce PP plastic from a fossil-free raw material other than on a laboratory scale. Together with Neste, we are ensuring that there is an opportunity to scale up the production of this material”, says Erik Ljungblad, Category Manager Plastic Products at IKEA of Sweden.

“The production of bio-based plastics at a commercial scale is a major achievement in the cooperation between Neste and IKEA, while it also marks a significant milestone in Neste’s strategy. IKEA is the first company to benefit from the developed supply capability that helps companies and brand owners towards replacing fossil-based raw materials with sustainable bio-based raw materials,” says Senior Vice President Tuomas Hyyryläinen from Neste’s Emerging Businesses business unit.


The WELL Green Building Standard encourages building materials that are so non-toxic that you can eat them. PVC is a banned substance with WELL. Read more about building standards here, "The Past and Future of Sustainability - From Frank Lloyd Wright to Buildings You Can Eat"

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Stop the Public Relations Madness

Apr 16, 2018 3:25:11 PM / by Jim Lucy posted in Green Building Marketing, public relations planning, LED, Construction Equipment Marketing

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A beleaguered editor calls out for help from beneath a stack of press releases loaded with puffery and impossible-to-prove performance claims about lighting products.

It’s a busy time of the year in the lighting market. You had the recent Light + Buildings trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, May’s LightFair being held this year in Chicago, and the annual conference of the National Association of Innovative Lighting Distributors (NAILD) that took place in February.

If you are a business magazine editor covering the lighting market you know the time of year without even looking at a calendar because you see the seasonal flock of emails flying into your inbox from public relations folks promoting their clients’ new lighting products or trying to secure booth appointments at one of the big lighting shows.

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Frank Lloyd Wright Boulter House - Hanover College Presentation Update

Apr 2, 2018 1:29:20 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Frank Lloyd Wright, Boulter House

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Frank Lloyd Wright unknowingly tapped into sustainable principals a century before ecology could even define what sustainability meant. (Boulter House photo by Thomas R. Schiff)

Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 and his vision of architecture was shaped by his rural Wisconsin upbringing and his ego. Louis Sullivan taught him to think for himself and abandon recreations of European styles. His response was to create a unique American architecture with its own grammar and style. Almost unknowingly he learned to use steel, glass, regional materials, integrated lighting and beauty to define his "Organic Architecture." One notable technique was to place the structure on the side of a hill versus on top of the hill. The peak of the "Prairie Style" was the Wasmuth portfolio, published in Germany in 1911. Mr. Wright then published his autobiography in 1932 and that led to the next phase of his career.

I'm reposting this blog because it is the most popular on the site. I've updated a few things. Still producing the local U.S. Green Building Council home tours and trying to understand how to motivate the public. My work with the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition is trying to partner with other groups in the region to migrate to an "Earth Education Weekend." I'm always available to answer any questions you have and to help your project come to life, 513-260-9025, chuck@lohre.com.

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The Past and Future of Sustainability - From Frank Lloyd Wright to Buildings You Can Eat

Mar 26, 2018 5:03:00 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Frank Lloyd Wright

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Presentation rough draft to Hanover College March 8, 2016.

Frank Lloyd Wright unknowingly tapped into sustainable principals a century before ecology could even define what sustainability meant. (Boulter House photo by Thomas R. Schiff)

Frank Lloyd Wright was born in 1867 and his vision of architecture was shaped by his rural Wisconsin upbringing and his ego. Louis Sullivan taught him to think for himself and abandon recreations of European styles. His response was to create a unique American architecture with its own grammar and style. Almost unknowingly he learned to use steel, glass, regional materials, integrated lighting and beauty to define his "Organic Architecture." One notable technique was to place the structure on the side of a hill versus on top of the hill. The peak of the "Prairie Style" was the Wasmuth portfolio, published in Germany in 1911. Mr. Wright then published his autobiography in 1932 and that led to the next phase of his career.

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Custom LEED Home Mirrors Transformation of Northside Cincinnati Residents

Oct 20, 2017 11:40:16 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, green education, Green Building, Business to Consumer Marketing

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How 3D Printing Is Green Manufacturing

Jun 5, 2017 10:08:20 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, 3D Printing Is Green Manufacturing.

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An Epiphany Of Disruption: GE Additive Chief Explains How 3D Printing Will Upend Manufacturing

Mar 6, 2017 by Tomas Kellner

Jet engines are large and complicated machines. But sometimes surprisingly small parts can make a big difference in how they work.

A decade ago, engineers at CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines, started designing a new, fuel-efficient jet engine for single-aisle passenger planes — the aircraft industry’s biggest market and one of its most lucrative.

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Southwest Ohio USGBC Chapter - Green Residential Committee and Greater Cincinnati Green Home Tours

May 29, 2017 9:53:05 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing

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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

Sep 13, 5:30 pm, USGBC Green Home Committee Meeting, Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E. University Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45219. Help plan the 2018 Green Home Tours as well as sustainable commercial site meeting locations.

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 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. 

The Green Home Tours are 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.

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Morales Luganbill Residence Green Home Tour Agenda

May 23, 2017 2:48:04 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing

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9:30Arrive and set up coffee and sweets, one pot coffee and one pot tea and three pastries from local bakery.

9:45 Greet guests, Check off list and make note of donations if they aren't a member.

10:10 Introduce self
, Rebecca Kiefer, Chair Emerging USGBC professionals

Introduce Southwest Ohio USGBC Chapter Green Home Tour Series, Follow along with the brochure

  • Sep 16, 2017, 10 am till Noon, – Melink Residence, Indian Hill. Steve Melink is the owner of Melink Corp. net-zero manufacturing facility. 
  • Oct 6, 2017, 6 to 8 pm, – Theobald Residence, Covington, KY. Builder and owner of the first private container home in the region. 
  • Oct 21, 2017, 10 am till Noon, - Yankie Residence, Madeira, OH, possible LEED Platinum renovation. Paul Yankie of Green Building Consulting, owner and house captain. This renovation is an example of how to achieve LEED Platinum in the suburbs without solar, geothermal, a complete gut rehab, no easy access to community services. 
  • Nov 4, 2017, 6:30 pm till 8:30 pm, - Artichoke, OTR, Cincinnati, OH, possible LEED Gold retail home goods store renovation. 
  • Nov 18, 2017, 10 am till Noon, - Chappel-Dick Residence, Bluffton, OH, LEED Platinum and registered Monarch Waystation. Andy Chappell-Dick, Design/Builder. Possible stops on the road trip could be the tiny home community in Dayton, OH and the shipping container home builder in Hamilton, OH.

Introduce sponsors - These tours are sponsored by The Sustainability Partnership of Cincinnati through a Gold Sponsorship of the local USGBC Chapter. The partnership includes:

    • Dovetail Solar and Wind - Dovetail has built over 385 renewable energy systems, totaling over 14.6 megawatts. Contact Julie Julie Jones.
    • Green Building Consultants HERS Rater and LEED Provider. They serve as a consultant to the owner or design team of commercial and residential properties. Contact Paul Yankie.
    • Greenbau Construction - Full Service Green Design + Build – With Anthony Beck, a Certified Green Professional Builder and his partner Steve Hampton, Architect, and LEED AP. Steve's Walnut Street home in OTR home was on the 2017 tour in March. If you want to see Steve's home or any other homes on the past or future tours, contact Chuck Lohre.
    • Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy offers commercial LEED documentation assistance and Green Building consulting for marketing, sustainability reports and passing the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP exams. Contact Chuck Lohre.
    • Greener Stock Sustainable Design and Building Supply - Owner Heather Curless is a LEED Accredited Architect can work with you and her partners on your project in every way, every step of the way. Whether it insulation made from recycled jean material to the highest end finishes you can imagine of course also made from sustainable materials.
    • Green Streets Green Roofs and Green Walls - offers consulting and installation of the latest, most effective storm water mitigation and reuse options. Rain water harvesting and landscaping can add 14 points to a residential LEED project. Contact Ben Haggerty or “Tre” Sheldon.
    • National Heating and Air Conditioning offer a wide range of heating & cooling products including the latest in energy efficient HVAC equipment, as well as insulation and home performance services. Contact Tim Stratton.
    • One Small Garden and Lifestyle offers tiny homes, raised beds, garden sheds and chicken coops. Juliann Gardener believes everyone has a green thumb, just add seeds, sun and water. Contact Juliann Gardener. 
    • Patterned Concrete of Cincinnati offers decorative, concrete artisans of stamped and colored concrete including patios, pool decks, driveways, and countertops. Patterned also offers permeable pavement that allows water to pass through the surface and back into to aquifers. Contact Contact Paul Schneider.
    • Tepe Services full service landscaping - Created the first certified Rain Garden in Hamilton County.  Drought resistant plants coupled with irrigation techniques that feed only what a plant needs directly to the source. Contact Greg Tepe.
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The Future of Skyscrapers - Sustainable Building Trends

May 22, 2017 9:47:29 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, green education, Green Building, Business to Consumer Marketing, State of LEED, USGBC, USGBC Cincinnati, Sustainable Building Trends

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Skyscraper construction and design have remained largely unchanged over the last century. Builders have stuck to old materials and techniques. Several aspects of construction are due for radical changes to increase efficiency and improve sustainability. Greener alternatives are also gaining traction. To learn more, checkout the infographic below created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Masters in Civil Engineering degree program.

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