Continuing our interviews on building green, meet Michelle Lohr from GnM Lohr Homes, out of Texas. GnM specializes in building green homes and Michelle offers us great insights on the industry and trends. Enjoy!
Michelle Lohr- is the co-founder and President of GnM Lohr Homes along with her husband Gil Lohr, a build-design company in Austin Texas. Green Building is the company’s specialty and they have been in business for the last 10 years. Michelle is in charge of interior design and green Design. Her passion for Building is encompassed in every project from concept to completion. Her ability to bundle interior design, construction and art all together, is a great advantage to a design-build company as such.Michelle is also in charge of marketing, business development and strategy. Michelle holds a Masters in Law and Finance from Tulane University, LA, and a Bachelor’s in Law from the University of Kent at Canterbury, U.K. She also has a Bachelors of Arts majoring in painting, drawing and sculpture from Haifa University.
Cesar: How did you get started on green building? Did you pursue it?
Michelle: Yes, we did pursue it. We knew that it is the latest trend in construction so we wanted to be ahead of the curve. We also believe in the combination of energy efficiency and living in a custom home. Saving energy and money is a fabulous thing.
Cesar: Why do you feel that green buildings are important?
Michelle: Green buildings are important because they take the environment into consideration and save clients’ money. We always keep in touch with our clients and it seems that their savings are extremely important. We also find that clients who care about the environment are very passionate about this issue. They tend to not only build from the ground up but to go towards trends such as concrete slab floors, cork, and recycled glass in bathrooms and kitchens. Some even go to the extent of using reclaimed wood from previous buildings.We just completed another four star custom home for a client in central Austin (see pictures below). This client downsized from a 3200 square-feet to a 2100 square-foot dream home built with all the green elements they were looking for, such as natural lighting, concrete floors, high efficiency appliances, etc. I think that seeing their satisfaction is a testament that you are not sacrificing anything but rather gaining even more by saving in the long run. Their metal roof is also designed to house a solar system in the future. Green buildings offer great flexibility because you can customize features according to your budget. Building with the latest construction methods is important because green practices will inevitably be the norm.
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Cesar: How does your expertise in green building impact your business?
Michelle: I think that developing an expertise in any business is important – it is part of branding and strategy. Specializing in green buildings makes you stand out and help you gain more businesses as this trend continues to grow. We also got involved because we are passionate about the values that come along with building green- so this is very much aligned with our ideals.
Cesar: What advice can you give to companies planning to start getting involved with green building?
Michelle: The advice that I would have is to learn as much as you can about it. We are seeing how green building methods are being advanced and we think that if we were not ahead of the game soon it would be too late to bridge the gap. Knowledge and expertise require some theoretical and practical experience and to try and stretch it over a preiod of time gradually makes more sense than racing over a short period of time. It’s like catching up with technology. Be passionate about it: passionate people do great things.
Cesar: Michelle, thank you so much for taking the time to share your insights and your beautiful project.
For more information on GnM Lohr Homes, please visit http://www.gnmlohrhomes.com/