1. What types of materials do you work with?
We work with all types of reclaimed materials, and invite the challenge to reuse any materials in suitable condition. Here’s a good start on a full list: lumber and woods of all types and species, plywood and other sheet goods, structural steel, brick, pavers, natural stone, cabinetry, solid surface countertops, rigid insulation, doors, door frames, door hardware, windows and glazing, glass handrail systems, storefront assemblies including office fronts, access flooring, wood flooring, carpeting, toilet accessories, toilet partitions, office furniture, cisterns, storage tanks, light fixtures and potentially even elevators.
2. When do you get involved in a project? When is the ideal time?
The earlier the better, ideally in the late schematics and early design development phase. The entry point ranges: we’ve become involved when a project was just a glimmer of an idea and during construction to raise the overall percentage of reclaimed materials. We’ve come aboard when 100 percent of CDs have been issued to handle VE items for budget savings. Basically, we can join a project at any time and make a difference.
3. How do you make money?
When we serve as material brokers, we earn a fee upon sale, which is incorporated into the cost of the materials. We work at no cost to the project during the development, design and collaboration phases. Even with this fee, the costs are most often less than the price of new.
4. What info is needed to help me sell my stuff?
We understand that you may not have every detail, but the following information helps sell your materials:
- Representative photos of the material (before and after deconstruction/demolition)
- Representative samples of the materials
- Quantities and dimensions of materials
- Good material description, including species, grade, etc.
- Availability date (in warehouse currently or when will it be available to remove and/or ship)
5. How does LEED/USGBC define reused/reclaimed material? Will “salvaged” material (like sinker reclaimed or urban reclaimed) count for reuse credits?
Reused materials are simply materials that have been used previously in some type of application. They need not be materials in a building, but must be previously used to qualify for LEED Material Reuse credits 3.1 and 3.2.
With LEED 2009, sinker reclaimed materials (trees that have been underwater for hundreds of years) or disaster recovered materials (such as trees uprooted by tornadoes or hurricanes) are not eligible. But we’ve been lobbying the GBCI to allow these materials to apply for credits, because we feel harvesting these trees meets the intention of the credit by diverting materials from landfills and preventing the harvesting of living virgin resources.
6. How do you calculate Board Feet (BF)?
Board feet are a measurement of lumber volume. One board foot is equal to 144 cubic inches of wood. There are two basic board foot calculations:
- (thickness (inches) x width (inches) x length (inches))/144 = board feet
- For lengths in feet: (thickness (inches) x width (inches) x length (length))/12 = board feet
Note that board footage is typically calculated nominally, in that 2x6 is nominally equal to 1 board foot per lineal foot, while the actual size of the board is 1.5”x5.5”.
7. What are the different cuts and grades of lumber?
There are three general cuts of lumber: plainsawn, riftsawn and quartersawn. Because of the moisture content of fresh cut wood, as wood dries out it seeks equilibrium moisture content with the environment, and once it reaches that equilibrium, it will fluctuate seasonally with changes in the relative humidity of its surroundings. When a board is cut from a tree, its length is cut parallel to the trunk, so that the strength of the grain is aligned with the length of the board. However, the grain pattern at the end of the board can follow one of the three typical patterns, providing insights into its future behavior. Some great information is out there regarding cuts and grades of lumber, specifically at wisegeek.com for ways to cut lumber and woodbin.com for hardwood and softwood lumber grading.
8. Do you compete with ReStore or other not-for-profits that handle reclamation of residential building materials?
We are actually no competition to our friends at ReStore, Community Forklift, ReBuild and other not-for-profits around the country. Quite the opposite, in fact, as we work with these services to help source, provide and deconstruct projects. We can help them accept commercial materials and quantities they could not take otherwise. When we have a home for materials (before they come out of a building), we work with these organizations to help facilitate removal and delivery. In doing so, we help them provide more green jobs and allow them to generate more revenue. Together, we ultimately divert tons of materials from the landfill.
9. Do you work on residential projects?
Yes, we do, though the majority our projects are commercial.
10. Are you certified to present for AIA and/or USGBC CEUs?
PlanetReuse will soon be certified to teach for AIA Continuing Education Units (CEUs). We’ve also presented on many occasions where the firm or conference has submitted successfully for CEUs. Please let us know if you’d like to schedule a lunch and learn, seminar, conference, panel, webinar or other opportunity. As the USGBC requirements for training and teaching are established, we’re working to be on the initial list to assist LEED- APs in acquiring the necessary CEUs.
11. What LEED credits do you help achieve?
We can provide materials that contribute to Materials and Resources credits 3.1 and 3.2 Material Reuse, as well as Innovation Credit for Exemplary Performance. We work to provide materials within the 500-mile radius to contribute to MR credits 5.1 and 5.2 Regional Materials. For materials that reclaimed material options are not available, we can source and supply FSC options to contribute to the MRc7 credit.
12. Does reusing material count against the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – related credit (MRc7) on my LEED project?
Reused material actually helps when striving to achieve LEED MRc7 credit. It does not count against you at all. To further explain:
LEED MRc7 credit uses a couple of numbers when calculating the overall percentage of FSC material on the project:
Total value of new, permanently installed wood materials used on the project
Total value of new FSC wood materials used in the project
Examples of how reused material play into this:
$1,000 total lumber on project - need $500 or more to be FSC to achieve the MRc7 credit
$1,000 total lumber on project less $400 in reclaimed lumber, the adjusted “total” you need to compare against is $600, so you will need $300 in FSC lumber
13. What advantage do you offer over other single-source material suppliers like lumber suppliers?
Our nationwide network of quality suppliers for all types of materials makes us different. It allows us to ensure a competitive situation when searching for materials, which results in competitive pricing from several sources and a greater variety of materials, all at lower cost to the project than using a single source material supplier. Our knowledge and experience is another distinguishing factor. We not only provide the materials, we offer insight on how best to use them, and an easy and efficient process that makes it easy on you.
14. Who takes responsibility and accountability for quality control?
PlanetReuse works with qualified demolition and deconstruction professionals to provide representative samples, photos and documentation of materials. We provide quality control to assure that all materials meet the project requirements and your expectations.
15. What kind of warranty is provided on reused materials?
For the most part, reused materials are sold as-is and do not have a warranty, though there are some exceptions. If your project requires a warranty for a specific material, let us know and we can review the requirements and determine the best way to meet your needs.
16. How much variance can I expect with reclaimed materials?
Coloring, texture, finish and other properties vary from source to source. PlanetReuse works with suppliers to lock in quantities to assure there are enough materials in the color range, species, etc to provide full orders. Our team also provides samples to show expected variance across the order.
17. Are reclaimed materials as reliable as new materials? Do they perform as well?
Reclaimed materials typically perform equal to or better than new materials in reliability and performance. They are often more stable materials and will not shrink, shift or swell as with some new materials, and they’ve already gone through many of the cycles that cause instability, therefore removing this concern. Steel, access flooring, office furniture and many other items are as reliable as new material. We test extensively to assure materials meet equivalent new material requirements.
18. How does shipping work?
PlanetReuse handles shipping of materials between the vendor/supplier and the end user (the owner, general contractor or subcontractor). Our relationships with carriers let us bid for and attain the best pricing.
19. What are the payment terms for reclaimed materials?
Payment terms are established on a per-project basis. Typically, a deposit is required to secure the material and begin fabrication of the finished product. The remainder of payment is due upon either completion of fabrication and confirmation of material storage in an insured facility (if the project is not ready for the materials), or upon delivery of the material to the project site if storage is not required.
20. How do you guarantee the materials are truly reclaimed?
The reclamation and deconstruction professionals that PlanetReuse works with understand the need for accurate documentation of material origination. We also assemble this source documentation for confirmation to provide the required information for the LEED/Living Building Challenge binder submittal.