One Hour Green Building Marketing Tour of Cincinnati

Dec 2, 2015 4:08:04 PM / by Chuck Lohre

Cincinnati Ohio has one of the most concentrated LEED building collections in the world. A quick one hour tour will show you who's a part of this movement.

William_Manning_CplusRA1-300.jpgThe tour starts at the Fire Station No. 9 in Avondale. After your breakfast at Sugar N Spice, step out side and notice the gleaming white concrete blocks that keep the building cool in the summer. The solar shades on the south side also help along with the concrete parking areas. The grounds have native and adaptive landscaping. The polished concrete floors are stained blue in the living quarters. We have used the community room for classes to pass the LEED AP exam. The only problem is that you have to evacuate if the house gets a call requiring all the trucks to leave! Green Cincinnati Education Advocacy hosted an educational event for the opening of the station. Mayor Mark Mallory came and addressed the attendees.

North_Avondale_School_-_2-300.jpgAs we travel south on Reading Road to the North Avondale Cincinnati Public School we'll discuss how Ginny Frazier, a teacher at CPS who couldn't catch a breath in the new schools CPS was building, partnered with Joel Stout, president of the local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, to convince CPS to build to LEED standards and along the way got legislation passed in Ohio to require all educational funds reach LEED standards. North Avondale has an active after school green mentoring program run by Ginny Frazier and her Alliance for Interconnection and Connectivity non-profit enviromental advocacy organization. Ohio Leads the Nation with 100 LEED-Certified Public Schools and Hundreds More in the Pipeline,"Ohio is the recognized nationwide leader in sustainable school design, with more than 300 total schools either registered or certified through LEED. On average, Ohio’s first 100 certified schools have been designed to use 35 percent less energy and an average of 37 percent less water than comparable buildings constructed and operated to traditional standards. In addition, these schools provide healthier indoor environments conducive to learning."

1706_Martha1_Northwind_-_12_-300.jpgBut city buildings and schools aren't the only revolution going on in Cincinnati, in 2007 the city wanted to encourage sustainable homes and chose the USGBC LEED requirements to take all the paper work out of the program. It took off like gangbusters, developers turned around in their tracks to the suburbs and returned to build exclusively within Cincinnati. The owners of these homes bring valuable income tax, improve the building base and provide jobs in the city. The next stop will be the Northwind Subdivision of Potter Hill Homes in Northside. It's a cute collection of smaller LEED Silver homes. Of all the many homes in the neighborhood only one owner didn't want the LEED Certification. Potter Hill Homes also offers a solar panel and geothermal package to help the home approach net-zero energy.

P1080309_-_300.jpgNext stop on the wild side. The Cincinnati Zoo also started the movement with zoos in the nation with the Harold C Schott Education Center. This building is a good representation of what a fully featured green building. From the orientation of the building with the solar panels facing the sun and one of the state largest rain gardens in front. The interior of the building tells a visual story of a building you can almost eat: the linoleum floor, wheat straw board, shellac finish, cement paneling and top it off with one of the first waterless urinals in the city. As we drive by the 1600 watt solar panel array which anchors the LEED Platinum entrance village, it produces 20% of the zoo electricity. When the public parks their car under the array and sees solar energy in action, they know renewable energy is here to stay. The zoo represents one of the city's best marketing tools, it attracts visitors from all walks of life. New converts can see how the zoo's projects contribute to sustainability and their excellent signage takes it home for them. You'll note in the photo that the Entry Village restrooms have solar hot water generators on the roof.

UC_Steger_-_2_-300.jpgCincinnati has another pioneer in sustainable building practices, the University of Cincinnati. Through the vision of the University's architect, Mary Beth McGrew, the university recognizes the quality of construction of the LEED process and that it represents the best value for their supporters and doners. UC built one of the first LEED projects in the region in 2002, the Recreation Center and quickly followed up with a unique building that took lemons and made lemonade. The Steger Student Center is an worldwide award winning project that uses the long narrow site which faced the sun and used it to bring light and beautiful views to the occupants. UC has renovated the Van Worner and the Teacher's college as well, demonstrating that you can reuse existing shells and preserve the history and quality of the university while being sustainable.

Lohre_And_Assoc_-_1_-_300.jpgAs we get closer to downtown, we'll cruise by our LEED Platinum office or condo at 126A West 14th St. just to the north of Washington Park, which was built to LEED standards but never certified. One reason I could tell is that they ran the ventilation fans like mad for a several days before opening to meet the indoor air quality standrads. You have to pump 24 cubic feet of air for each square foot of floor space before occupancy!  Our office is the Greenest Office in Cincinnati as awarded by the Cincinnati Business Courier. They started ranking the Green Buildings in Cincinnati in 2014. It's one list we wish we weren't on top of! The office has also been included in a blog post of the top ten Greenest Projects in the world. We're very proud of our sustainable space. 

Times_Star_300.jpgNext is the Times Star Building. Built in 1933 by the Taft Family it was designed as a newspaper production facility. The long low section housed the printing presses and the 14 story tower was home to the Tafts apartment on top and the executive offices below. It's a great building to tour and much appreciated in Cincinnati. Congratulations to Hamilton County for making the effort to make this star shine. It took quite a bit of work to improve the heating systems, lighting systems, water systems, windows, reduce off gassing of interior furniture and improve interior air quality. Recycling and sustainable consumable programs were also put in place.

P1080358_-300.jpgWe'll wind up our tour at the LEED Certified Moerlein Lager House. Cincinnati's first LEED resturant and the Cincinnati Park Board's first LEED project. Really there another attempt for the first LEED restaurant in Cincinnati but an error in their application prevented it from becoming certified. To obtain the tax abatement for a commercial project you have to get approval from the city before starting construction. The confusion came about because for homes in Cincinnati to get the tax abatement you have to get your LEED Certification first and then apply for the tax abatement. The same thing happened to another project but at least we were able to get it LEED Platinum Certified. If and when it ever is used for residential, it will be able to receive the Cincinnati tax abatement.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of Cincinnati's LEED projects. Our most recent effort to promote the local Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council has been a series of Green Home tours. You can learn more at the Green Living Member Circle website page. I hope to see you on one of the tours. Subscribe to our newsletter if you would like to get the tour announcements. And as always, I'm available to walk you through the things you can do sustainably for your home or office. Just stop by our office and we can catch some lunch in OTR.

OSFC Executive Director Richard Hickman called today’s announcement “exciting, and certainly a statement on how Ohio has embraced environmentally friendly design. These projects, which represent a commitment to both our schoolchildren and the future of our environment, are the direct result of innovative teamwork from architects, construction managers, trade contractors and our project partners, the local school districts. I commend them for their accomplishments.”

Ohio is the recognized nationwide leader in sustainable school design, with more than 300 total schools either registered or certified through LEED. On average, Ohio’s first 100 certified schools have been designed to use 35 percent less energy and an average of 37 percent less water than comparable buildings constructed and operated to traditional standards. In addition, these schools provide healthier indoor environments conducive to learning.

- See more at: http://ohio.realestaterama.com/2013/12/11/ohio-leads-the-nation-with-100-leed-certified-public-schools-and-hundreds-more-in-the-pipeline-ID0631.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=3248445#sthash.DimOQXrs.dpuf
Ohio Leads the Nation with 100 LEED-Certified Public Schools and Hundreds More in the Pipeline - See more at: http://ohio.realestaterama.com/2013/12/11/ohio-leads-the-nation-with-100-leed-certified-public-schools-and-hundreds-more-in-the-pipeline-ID0631.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=3248445#sthash.DimOQXrs.dpuf
Ohio Leads the Nation with 100 LEED-Certified Public Schools and Hundreds More in the Pipeline - See more at: http://ohio.realestaterama.com/2013/12/11/ohio-leads-the-nation-with-100-leed-certified-public-schools-and-hundreds-more-in-the-pipeline-ID0631.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=3248445#sthash.DimOQXrs.dpuf

Topics: Green Building Marketing

Chuck Lohre

Written by Chuck Lohre

Owner of Lohre & Associates Marketing Communications. The company celebrated their 80th Anniversary in 2015, his 38th.