Posts Tagged ‘imre’

By Katie Barrett

IMRE met with various current and past clients at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Expo on May 17th and 18th in Washington, DC.  Each year, the architectural show draws principals, partners, and architects of every level who specify products, set budgets and select vendors for their firms, making the audience a primary point of engagement for IMRE Home & Building and our clients.

Energy savings, open spaces, bold colors and high quality building materials continue to be of importance to architects, and evidence of this was apparent in this year’s booth designs.  Some of our favorites utilizing these and other industry trends are below.  Which booths grabbed your attention this year?

IBS Day 1: Best New Products

By Social Marketing Team

While there might be less ground to cover this year, there is still a lot to see at the International Builders’ Show. Hints of optimism were heard throughout the Convention Center. Technology was pervasive, with an abundance of software companies, iPads and iPhones. BIM even made an appearance. There were also some glaring absences at the Show, including some of the bigger brands and the celebrities we come to expect each year. Despite all that, you can always rely on a showcase of the latest and greatest products. You can find all of our favorites on our Best of IBS Pinterest. A few new products managed to standout from the crowd and catch our team’s eye. From the innovative to the “I want that,” below are some of the new product highlights from the first day.

Scale Control System by Rinnai
This scale control system from Rinnai prevents calcium from building up in your home’s pipes. It can hook into a home’s main water line or on the hot water heater.

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Source: Uploaded by user via IMRE on Pinterest


LiftMaster MyQ

This garage door and gate opener by LiftMaster gives homeowners the option to control their garage door opener, operator and home lights from their phone or web.

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Source: Uploaded by user via IMRE on Pinterest


Intrigue Range Hood from Best

Finally high design and function fuse with this range hood by Best. The Italian made Intrigue is from Best’s appropriately named Sopresa collection (Sopresa means surprise in Italian) and will be available from Best beginning this June.

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Source: Uploaded by user via IMRE on Pinterest


180fx IdealEdge by Formica
This beautiful curved countertop has the seamless look of a solid slate of stone or granite, but is actually a laminate. The product’s seamless design even allows for under mounted sinks to be installed! A great brand innovation from Formica.

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Source: Uploaded by user via IMRE on Pinterest


Elevations Steel Deck framing from Trex
Stronger, straighter, safer and smarter; Elevations steel deck framing from Trex produces consistent, long-lasting results. Non-combustible and a 25-year warranty, ensure a long lasting foundation for your family deck.

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Source: Uploaded by user via IMRE on Pinterest


Envision Composite Decking by Tamko
The new Evergrain Envisions composite decking line by Tamko is compression bonded to a cap rather than extruded, increasing both strength and durability throughout the deck’s lifetime. Shown in Rustic Walnut, the Evergrain Envision line comes in 4 colors of non-repeating grain giving it a more natural look and feel.

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Source: Uploaded by user via IMRE on Pinterest


HydroRail Custom Shower Kit
They finally did it! Kohler introduced their HydroRail custom shower kit at IBS 2012. The HydroRail has no need for in-wall plumbing allowing for professional installation in an hour or less.

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Source: Uploaded by user via IMRE on Pinterest


Don’t see your favorite product or brand in our round-up? Check out these other round-ups by Builder Online and the Home Channel Network:

By Green Experts Team

Although the term “green building” tends to bring to mind images of clean, modern structures or even iconic edifices like the Empire State Building, a growing trend recognizes the importance of the effects of buildings and their materials on the people who live and work within them. As the IMRE Green IQ Team found at Greenbuild 2011, the intersection of sustainable building and human health has never been more important or recognized in the industry.

In part, this trend can be accredited to highly publicized cases of disease and health problems caused by exposure to chemicals in building materials like asbestos, which have drawn public attention to the danger of such toxins in recent decades. From production to use and disposal, some building materials emit dangerous chemicals that, over time, make their way into the bodies of the people who live and work around them. The Healthy Building Network identifies a number of chemicals in commonly used building materials, such as formaldehyde, PVC, polyurethane, mercury, lead and even substances in preserved wood, that have detrimental health effects and are increasingly found within human bodies.

Today, the movement toward chemical-free buildings is being advanced by three parties in the building arena: certification systems that provide incentives for reducing harmful chemicals in buildings, architects and designers who create demand for products that meet the specifications of the certification systems, and building product manufacturers that develop the materials to fit the bill.

Certification Systems: As part of the update to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system in 2012, the system will offer a pilot credit for avoiding chemicals of concern when specifying building materials. The Safer Chemistry pilot credit is worth one point toward LEED certification and can currently be used in new construction, schools, healthcare and commercial interiors. Pending the success of this pilot credit, the reduction of harsh chemicals in building projects may be integrated in a future edition of the LEED rating system.

KC Lab1 300x218 Green Building – What Lies Within

The Science and Technology Center includes both office and laboratory space for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 7 is LEED 2.0 Gold certified.

Architects & Designers: Architects and designers are becoming educated and empowered by resources like the Precautionary List, a database of chemicals commonly used in building products that have potential to harm human or environmental health. The list was launched by the architectural design firm Perkins+Will in 2009, and serves as a resource for architects and designers who wish to eliminate building products and materials with harmful chemicals from their projects. The firm has since expanded the list into a larger Transparency Site that also includes a list of asthma-inducing substances and flame-retardants with toxic ingredients.

Building Product Manufacturers: Driven by the incentives of certification systems and demand among architects and designers, building product manufacturers are innovating new products and developing technology that helps to not only reduce the harsh chemical content of building products, but also make them more sustainable overall. Take, for example, Iowa-based manufacturing company ReWall, which manufacturers building materials made from 100 percent recycled products while eliminating glue, water and chemicals from the manufacturing process. ReWall recycles some 2 million tons of polyethylene-coated cups and cartons that would otherwise enter U.S. landfills every year, and employs a manufacturing process that uses 86 percent less energy than the process used to create its competitor product, drywall. With the incentive of specification by green-minded architects and designers, companies like ReWall will continue to push the bounds of technology to improve product performance and reducing negative impacts, driving green building to new heights.

As the details of building products become more accessible and transparent, especially through resources like Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), the building community will be emboldened with the knowledge necessary to make informed product selections that support healthier buildings and environments. The buildings of the future will support a healthier environment and healthier people, all while reducing negative impacts on both.

By Kelly Nowlan

Sustainability has gained a lot of notoriety in recent years, with 50% of the public believing that global warming is caused mostly by human activities. From the clothes we wear to the cars we drive, it seems everything we touch these days has the potential of bearing or failing to bear the sustainability seal of approval. But how convinced are we that all of those marketing claims about products being sustainable, are, well, sustainable?

We at IMRE wanted to know, so we engaged a formidable group of architects and interior designers to find out. Who better to ask? These opinion leaders are a litmus test to whether countless brands in the Home & Building industry are marketing their sustainable products successfully.

Over 800 architects and interior designers responded to an online survey conducted jointly by IMRE, The American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Interior Designers, which revealed the majority of architects and interior designers, 87% and 86% respectively, are in fact concerned with how products are manufactured with regard to sustainability.

But, brands who market themselves as sustainable should take heed: while most architects and interior designers pay careful attention to manufacturers’ sustainability claims, both are similarly skeptical when asked if they are confident that products referred to as “sustainable” actually are.

  • 40% of architects and 34% of interior designers are “uncertain” if products claiming to be sustainable are actually sustainable.
  • Almost 22% of architects and 11% of interior designers are “somewhat” or “not at all confident” that products are actually sustainable.
  • Only 2% of architects and 3% of interior designers are “completely confident” in manufacturers’ claims that products are actually sustainable.

Furthermore, as popular as the topic of sustainability has become in recent years among the general population, architects and interior designers alike claim their clients could use more education. Both parties agreed that only one quarter of their clients understand what the term sustainability actually means, and 88% of architects and 82% of interior designers said that their clients think sustainable products cost more.

Conversely, regardless of how architects, interior designers and even their clients feel about the viability of sustainable product claims and the cost associated with them, they are actually being used with greater frequency. More than half of architects (54%) and interior designers (55%) expect their number of sustainable projects will increase this year.

Just as many Americans are concerned about global warming, nearly 60% of both architects and interior designers state the primary reason they specify sustainable products is due to their own professional sense of environmental responsibility. In other words, they specify sustainable products because they want to, not because they have to.

The bottom line: Architects and interior designers are doubtful of manufacturer claims about sustainable products, and there is the perception – whether right or wrong – of a higher cost associated with them. But given that sustainable projects are predicted to be on the rise, the winning brands will deliver credible sustainability messaging. The question is, will your brand be a winner?

To receive a full copy of the survey results, please contact Meghann Malone at meghannm@imre.com.

IMRE will be offering a free, one-hour webinar on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 from 11am-noon EST with topline results from this survey and recommendations for improving sustainability communications in 2012.  To register, send your name, company name, email and phone number to meghannm@imre.com.

QR Codes Don’t Fail, Brands Do

By Christine Pierpoint

The end of the year is generally a time to reflect on the things that got everyone buzzing and offer up a re-cap of “best of” categories. People Magazine just announced their annual Sexiest Man Alive (alas, not George Clooney), and it won’t be long before Time declares their Person of the Year. In the advertising tech world, mobile was big, but the darling of 2011 was undoubtedly the quick response (QR) Code.

That little square that vaguely resembles a black and white checkerboard became ubiquitous as marketers clamored to add it to everything from print ads to billboards, packaging and direct mail. The QR code has actually been around for years in manufacturing and distribution as a way to track inventory. It’s only been since camera phones took off that marketers recognized the potential to use the codes as a communications tool. Suddenly marketers had a new way to deliver content – for example an ad in a trade journal could link readers to OCT 11 Cover 555x650 256x300 QR Codes Don’t Fail, Brands Dobonus information.

When used appropriately, a QR code can be an effective way to enrich a brand experience or drive conversions. As a direct response device, the codes can be a convenient tool for a prospect to take action. For example, a potential buyer could scan a code to instantly download a coupon or enter a sweepstakes. In those scenarios the customer is able to realize an immediate benefit, rather than simply linking to a website. Marketers also benefit because each scan can be measured and provide marketers with data about the effectiveness of the campaign.

It didn’t take long though for critics to point out some fails in QR code use. For example, featuring QR codes in places where there is no signal, like the subway, or using them on billboards – ever try to scan a QR code at 65mph? In seeing some of these foibles, its no wonder people are skeptical. A recent study by Comscore found that only 6.2 percent of mobile phone owners have ever scanned a QR code leading some trade publications to declare QR codes a waste.

While the critics make valid points, we see this not as a failure of the QR code, but of marketers themselves. A QR code is a transmittal device, no more or less special than a phone number or a website URL. Simply having one of these devices does not make for an effective campaign, it’s the experience a consumer has once they activate that device that counts. For example, if you’re running a campaign that features a phone number, you want to make sure the person who answers the phone accurately represents the brand. The same is true for QR codes. Marketers need to have a campaign strategy that encompasses the end-to-end experience that includes the media, the QR code and the destination.

By McGavock Edwards

Some say, “Any publicity is good publicity.” Those folks are obviously not today’s strategic public relations practitioners.


With the growth of social media, the 24/7 news cycle and a rise in citizen journalism, PR professionals will attest that what people say about a company and its products, how they say it and where they report can sometimes be anything but good. Negative sentiment – whether in the media or online – can change partnerships, damage stock value, and hurt employee recruitment and retention. It can negatively affect sales, harm overall reputation, and much more. And as a recent study by the Altimeter Group shows, brand crises, particularly social media crises, are on the rise.


Opportunities And Challenges For Brands

Sure, today’s online environment and “news of the minute” attitude provide tremendous opportunities to share company news with more people than ever before. We can engage customers and educate influencers about products, quickly and efficiently.  And, the word can spread…like wildfire.  But with opportunities also come challenges.

When an organization or its products come under fire, whether in truth or not, it’s critical to respond, always with intention and appropriateness. What’s amazing is that many companies are not simply ready. In fact, according to recent Crisis Preparedness study by Burson-Marstellar and Penn Schoen Berland (pdf) conducted with global businesses, only 20 percent are considered well-prepared for possible risk.  What’s considered well prepared?  They have a strategic crisis plan, they understand its importance and they review it periodically.


How To Approach Crisis Preparation

At IMRE, we encourage all of our clients to be prepared for issues that might arise. From an unfavorable product review to a manufacturing accident, a full-on reputation attack to a security failure, a problem quickly can become a crisis, especially if you’re not equipped.

The number one success factor in crisis communications is to plan ahead. While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to foresee every risk, having a plan of action will provide one of the most important factors in a crisis – a clear head.

While there are nuances to every situation and every organization, there are a few lessons we’ve learned over the years that every organization should keep in mind:

  1. Plan and Prep – These days it’s hard to commit resources to something that doesn’t immediately provide ROI. But smart executives know that being prepared for a crisis will provide great value – triple-fold – if ever a reputation management issue comes to play. Sometimes it’s a matter of business ultimately recovering…or not. Once you’ve committed to creating a plan, get the right people in the room – executives, communication professionals, sales managers, distribution personnel, and HR staffers – to provide a holistic view of your business inside and out. It’s also a good practice to enlist outside counsel who can assure all insights are considered and all avenues are accounted for.
  2. Acknowledge – When an issue arises, whether inside the building, out in traditional media, or online, it’s important to acknowledge the concern, especially if someone has been harmed. It’s true that legal concerns sometimes prevent conversation outside of a courtroom. But we believe it’s critical to acknowledge a concern.  This is where it’s especially helpful to have messaging (holding statements) at hand and a clear communication matrix to follow.
  3. Get the Facts – Know the facts before you speak.  It’s that simple.  It’s not okay to provide conjecture, opinion or half-truths. Even if you have to provide multiple updates throughout a situation, give out known information only.
  4. Put a face on it – It’s so easy to use “corporate-speak” and hide behind a logo or brand recognition when a crisis arises.  But remember it’s that brand you’re seeking to protect.  Know (ahead of time) who your spokespeople will be, and get them out front immediately. In planning, choose a group of organizational personnel who can speak to a variety of subjects and train them annually to be ready for speaking in public or to the media. You may also want to leverage relationships you’ve built outside of the organization.  Having someone else (an industry trade association or a topical influencer) speak on your behalf can lend third party credibility that can be powerful in a crisis situation.  But be ready ahead of time. Your corporate communications or public relations team should identify and build these critical relationships as part of an overall planning PR strategy for your company and/or product. Then you’re armed, if and when you need to make “an ask” for support.
  5. Own the message – With planning behind you, you have a playbook and you’re able to focus on the situation at hand.  Don’t let internal conflict or differences of opinion hold you at bay.  But don’t move ahead with knee-jerk reactions like Rupert Murdoch seemed to do last month when faced with the News Corp crisis mentioned here. This can cause more speculation and then rumors, instead of the facts, begin to take control. Armed with the facts and key messages, put your spokespeople to work and own the message – first to key stakeholders and then others. Only you can speak confidently about your organization and your products. So own it. Fast.
  6. Be transparent – Commit to transparency in all of your communications – before, during and after a crisis.  Today’s consumer is more curious, aware and informed than ever before, so your ability to be open and transparent could mean an easy road to rebuilding your reputation, or the ability to even repair it at all.
  7. Be available – Don’t speak and then hide.  Own the message, share it and be willing to speak again and again as needed.
  8. Put social media to work – While the growth of social media can be a thorn in a communicator’s side, its measurement is one of the best things about our jobs today. As soon as a crisis arises, get your social media team up to speed on the issue, and initiate tracking.  Working shoulder to shoulder, social media and media relations experts can see how an issue is being spread online and in the media, and uncover critical insights for how to adjust what you’re saying, how you’re saying it and where you’re communicating.  Leverage all available channels to create the appropriate response and to engage audiences appropriately. Here’s an example of how the U.S. Geological Survey utilized social media to communicate and crowd-source during last week’s East Coast earthquake.
  9. Measure and learn – After the “fire” dies down and you’ve breathed the collective sigh of relief, don’t forget what you’ve been through. Utilizing your crisis plan, tracking, coverage, and your audiences’ behavior, take a holistic look at the issue from the other side. Evaluate response times. Put a critical eye on the messaging. Update processes and procedures. Learn from the past and plan again for the future.


As you plan for all the opportunities and challenges your team faces in 2012, take some time to contemplate what could go wrong (here’s another case study to review) and prepare – strategically – to face what’s ahead.


What do you think? Do the new communications opportunities offered by social and emerging media outweigh the higher risks of engagement? What steps has your brand taken to prepare for brand crises? Comment below.


Blog Ch-Ch-Changes

By Building Experts Team

We’re making some changes. Build Intel is changing its name on October 12th to IMRE Build IQ. Stay tuned for new expert content and continued industry insight. In preparation for the move, if you are already subscribing to our RSS feed or would like to, please subscribe to our new feed at http://imrebuildiq.com/feed/. Our Twitter feed will also change on October 12th from BuildIntel to IMREBuildIQ. Thanks for your continued interest.

The Blueprint of a Re(Brand)

By Building Experts Team

One mission we have here is to deliver perspectives on the building industry in ways that can positively impact your brand. So, we determined it might be of interest to take a closer look at what defines a brand and what you should expect if/when the time comes to rebrand.

We sat down with Chris Denney, vice president and creative director of IMRE, to gain insight into his experience building brands – both B2B and B2C. Chris began his career as a photographer, working with top agencies and clients and learning to tell their stories through imagery and advertising. He moved to the marketing and corporate world when he began his branding career at Men’s Health, which was experiencing explosive growth around the world. Next came a stint at Time Warner where he helped brands like Ford, Trane and Andersen Windows find their voice. Now at IMRE, Chris specializes in B2B brand development and appreciates the authenticity that comes with the territory.

BI: How many brands have you worked with and/or helped develop?

CD: I’ve worked with many brands on different levels but helped at least 15 brand from the ground up.  I get extremely excited when we work through the branding process.  If you’re rebranding or even just reexamining, you get to the core of what the brand is about and start understanding things like personality and vision.  You envision how a brand can speak about itself at its root and then ideas are born from true understanding, not assumptions.

BI: How do you define a brand?

CD: To me, a brand is a vision. It is holistic and needs to be looked at holistically. It’s embodied in the vision of what the company or service wants to provide. Underneath vision falls personality; what’s the brand’s promise and what does it stand for? The vision, personality and promise are all embodied in a positioning that informs what goes out to the marketplace and makes up who you are and what you stand for.

A brand is not a communications strategy or a logo; it is not a color palette or a singular CEO. It’s an entity, a force of what it wants to accomplish, and it could be as simple as making widgets and as complex as making airplanes.

BI: What do you see as the key components of a brand?

CD: I have found that a key component is for a brand to be honest and transparent.  The emotional part is the hardest; telling yourself “this is what I do well, this is not what I do well,” “this is what I stand for and this is what I do not stand for,” “this is what I want to deliver and promise and this is what I don’t, etc.”  It’s about having the ability to put a mirror to your brand and put it out there, and then reflect on the core values of a company and the products/services it delivers.

blueprint The Blueprint of a Re(Brand)

Exclusive-executive-resumes.com

BI: How would a company recognize the need for rebranding?

CD: There are many business factors that inform the need to rebrand.  It could be that there are wholesale changes in the product offering, or the brand has become stuck because of competition catching up to them or copying them. I’ve seen brands own market share and then competitors start copying their success, making them become part of the pack and no longer relevant; the brand goes from #1 to below the radar.

BI: What steps are involved in rebranding?

CD: Everything varies depending on the company and the brand.  However, if you look holistically at rebranding there are three modes of intrinsic and extrinsic activity.  First, you need to look intrinsically at where your brand stands.  Discover what affects your business, like the strengths and weaknesses of your competitive set, the state of the industry and industry forecasting.  You really need to look at what the company thinks of itself, identify its challenges, explore the “feet on the street,” and understand the state of the C-Suite.  Then, look at where they all converge.

From there you go into extrinsic mode and start to formulate assertions and messaging triggers that get tested.  Go to customers and focus groups; ask questions like, “Is this who you think we are?  How does this feel to you?”  Also, gauge how the assertions resonate internally.  If everything’s done properly up to this point, including all of the research, you’ll start to get really great insight.  Gather all of that feedback, bring it back to the three pillars – vision, personality and promise – and then create the brand positioning, the messaging and then the creative.



BI: What makes a rebrand successful?

CD: Success vitally depends on insight and approval from the top down, including all key stakeholders.  It will fail if there’s no buy-in from the C-Suite at the very beginning to act as ambassadors, and the sales force should be very much involved for most B2B companies.

Metrics for success of a rebrand can vary based on the size of a company and what stage of development it is in. It’s so important to be honest.  For a long-term vision to work and convert to sales, you’ve got to look at yourself and be truthful so you can deliver against competition in honest and transparent ways.  Then you’ll deliver relevancy to your customers and make people feel good when they put money on the table and give it to you.

Sales are always going to be the ultimate measurement, but awareness is probably the first metric you want to measure right after a rebrand.  If you’re getting the message out and it’s resonating, you did a good job in the first stage. Sales ultimately follow.

 

To learn more about the IMRE (re)branding process, contact Chris Denney at chrisd@imre.com or Denise Kitchel at denisek@imre.com.



By Building Experts Team

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced new social media regulations effective December 1, 2009. Whether your organization is proactively engaged in social media or just loosely experimenting, putting a social media policy in place for your employees and understanding the FTC guidelines is a must to avoid risk exposure.

Below you’ll find a recording from IMRE’s (our company) Social Media Policy Webinar that was conducted this past Tuesday, December 15.  Watch and learn about:

  • Employee risk statistics/factors
  • FTC guideline implications
  • Issues with solutions
  • IMRE’s approach to specific policy components, including who should own the process, how to build a collaborative effort and content for your policy and training program


By Building Experts Team

asid logo Interior Designers Discuss Sustainability Industry professionals from the American Society of Interior Designers provided IMRE with an exclusive insider’s response to sustainability drivers expressed by TOTO, Pella Corporation, and InterfaceFLOR (IMRE client) at Greenbuild 2009.  Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, ASID, CID, LEED AP and Kerrie L Kelly, IIDA, ASID, IDEC, CID participated in our Q&A session below.

Rachelle Schoessler Lynn, ASID, CID, LEED AP
Partner, Studio 2030 Inc.

Q: What implication does this set of viewpoints have on how interior designers specify products?
A: “It is important for manufacturers to be honest and transparent in their quest for sustainability. They have the opportunity to educate the interior design profession about the impact that manufacturing of products can have on the environment.”

Q: Do Interior Designers drive sustainability, or is it driven by client preference, or both?
A: “It is my belief that interior designers should be driving sustainability, and sometimes we do a great job leading our clients to best solutions. Clients are seeing the benefits of sustainable design and have been requiring it on their projects, and the interior designers have had to catch up.”

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Studio 2030

Kerrie L Kelly, IIDA, ASID, IDEC, CID
Author, Instructor & Certified Interior Designer #6031

Q: What implication does this set of viewpoints have on how interior designers specify products?
A: “As designers, sustainable manufacturing methods and end products are now “a given.” No longer are we looking for the eco-friendly product that is aesthetically pleasing too. Now we are finding amazingly wonderful, innovative products that also happen to be only manufactured through earth conscious practices. Manufacturers who have not gotten on board with manufacturing and developing products that ultimately benefit the environment will not survive in the interiors industry. Because so many vendors have chosen sustainable practices it has also aided in the affordability of these products for clients…it is simply the way we make things like eco-chic fabrics, no-VOC paints and finishes, reclaimed art pieces and the like.”

Q: Do interior designers drive sustainability, or is it driven by client preference, or both?
A: “Clients hire designers because they are the “experts” in the interiors industry. Since designers are heavily involved in the specification of products for projects, we do have the ability to drive sustainability. We are the source clients look to for the latest and the greatest products, so whether we are being quoted in publications that consumers read or bringing in products to the residential or commercial project table, we are looked to provide the most cutting edge, efficient, aesthetically pleasing products and designs that still work within the client budget. I would add that the vendors of interior design have been a hugely prevalent force in the sustainability drive as they have provided such wonderful products in their offerings.”


ASID is one of the many organizations, cities, counties and states that have committed to the 2030 Challenge, the aggressive campaign to dramatically reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within the building sector by the year 2030.


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