3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT December 26, 2008

Chuck Lohre studied architecture at the University of Kentucky and worked in advertising specializing in engineering technology. He published extensive resources on the U.S. Green Building Council educational facilities nationwide. He has hosted seminars on sustainable building technology and conducted five tours of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design projects.

Q. Why should solar energy and green building be important to Cincinnati businesses interested in saving money on energy bills?

Cincinnati is moving more toward green construction and energy-efficient architecture. All new structures are encouraged to have architecture that allows for natural sunlight, be energy-efficient and use sustainable energy, such as solar. These points will make the building retain value, better resale value and give a higher return on investment faster. The same goes for businesses operating in one of the many historical buildings in the city. Renovations need to keep with that of the historic era, which aren’t energy-efficient. Recently, approval was given to use similar yet energy-efficient windows to replace older ones. These businesses will see much lower energy bills, and the actual replacement cost is much lower.

Q. Why don’t more businesses comply with energy-efficient techniques?

There’s a huge lack of education about the expense or ease of being more energy-efficient. It’s a mindset that solar panels cost a lot or that it could be a hassle. But the cost of solar has been drastically reduced. Being energy-efficient can save thousands of dollars for a business a year and could be as simple as changing out light bulbs and using ENERGY STAR products. The time frame in which businesses can expect to start saving money post-investment could be as little as five months.

Q. Is there an incentive to businesses that employ energy-saving methods in their facilities?

Yes. Duke Energy has rebate programs that are provided when lighting is changed. Some buildings can acquire government grants. Many schools and universities have been given grants to build energy-efficient and green construction through various organizations — you just have to investigate a little. It’s not far off that all new construction will be government mandated to be LEED certified.