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Media skips concrete details fit to print

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

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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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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 Building, Business to Consumer Marketing, green education

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The Future of Skyscrapers - Sustainable Building Trends

May 22, 2017 9:47:29 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in USGBC, Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, Green Building, USGBC Cincinnati, Business to Consumer Marketing, green education, State of LEED, 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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Green Home Tours: A Very Sustainable Home in Cincinnati, May 27, 2017

May 15, 2017 10:12:07 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in USGBC, Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, Green Building, USGBC Cincinnati, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, green education, State of LEED

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WHAT: Morales Luganbill, USGBC Green Home Tour

WHERE: Oakley Neighborhood, Cincinnati, OH (address provided after registration)

WHEN: Saturday May 27, 2017 10 am till Noon

Possible LEED Platinum home. It's a compact house on a small infill site in a walkable neighborhood. The large glass openings are concentrated on the south side to take advantage of passive solar. The exterior walls are offset double stud with spray foam insulation to limit thermal bridging and provide an air tight envelope. The heating system is hot water radiant. The cooling system uses high-efficiency mini-split heat pumps. 

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The State of LEED in Greater Cincinnati

May 1, 2017 1:36:29 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, Green Building, Earth Day, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, green education, Ecologically Conscious Intentional Community, State of LEED

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 Just a bit of an overview of the State of LEED in the region. 

 

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Ecologically Conscious Intentional Community Green Home Tour

Apr 24, 2017 3:10:32 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, Green Building, Earth Day, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, green education, Ecologically Conscious Intentional Community

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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.

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Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Celebration Media Alert

Apr 18, 2017 12:07:01 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, Green Building, Earth Day, Business to Consumer Marketing, green education

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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.

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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Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Celebration: Theme “Local Food”

Apr 11, 2017 9:54:05 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, Green Building, Earth Day, Business to Consumer Marketing, green education

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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
 

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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Adaptive Reuse: New Life for Old Buildings

Apr 3, 2017 9:38:46 AM / by Krista Atkins Nutter posted in Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, Green Building, Green Home Tours, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, 2017 Green Building Cincinnati, Green Home Design, green education, Adaptive Reuse

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I'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)

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Hampton Residence - USGBC Green Home Tour

Mar 27, 2017 2:56:41 PM / by Krista Atkins Nutter posted in Green Building Marketing, Sustainability, Green Building, Green Home Tours, Business to Consumer Marketing, green home tour, 2017 Green Building Cincinnati, Green Home Design, green education

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The 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.

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