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Living Building Challenge: Defining the Future and Gaining Publicity

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June 29, 2012



Developed over the past few years, the Living Building Challenge (LBC) rating system is a meticulous green and sustainable rating system that is raising the bar for sustainable design. Since its establishment in 2009, only six buildings have been recognized as “living” and have acquired the LBC certification. Of the six certified buildings, PlanetReuse has aided in sourcing and supplying reclaimed materials for two of the first three projects.


Different than any other green building certification, the LBC system takes a step farther than the typical design build ratings and goes beyond design and construction to include the livability and performance of the building. The LBC views building as a process where humans are completely integrated with their surroundings and the ecosystem.


The LBC system focuses on categories of site, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty. It takes approximately 14-16 months to gain this certification. Those buildings that meet all of the LBC standards go beyond the traditional definition of “building” and become a living part of the ecosystem.

This rating system is being used in eight different countries currently and is expected to grow in popularity and eventually become a global standard of building. Thank you to Jason McLennan and Cascadia for providing the vision for the future of sustainability.



Here’s some great press by CNN bringing this vision more to the masses:
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/21/world/living-building-challenge/index.html


Architect Magazine - Great article for the Reuse Industry

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April 12, 2012
Reuse continues to be brought to the forefront in discussion. It's hot topic at conferences as well as in the press and is becoming more common in practice.

There's a wonderful piece in this month's Architect Magazine this month on the past, present and future of the industry.

The article features some great quotes from leaders in the reuse industry such as the BMRA, CMRA, BNIM, el dorado inc, Deconstruction & Reuse Network, PlanetReuse, Standford University, and many others.

"We are moving away from the status quo of how we handle our construction and demolition waste for many reasons. Dumping has become more expensive and thus less appealing for contractors..."

"If architects really want to look out for the ecosystem, they should start by making the most of what they already have."

Link to the article: Architecture’s Afterlife

You can even earn one HSW/SD CEH (Health/Safety/Welfare and Sustainable Design Continuing Education Hour) for reading this article and successfully completing a free online quiz. To do so, go to: go.hw.net/archceu

Living Future '11 - Panel Discussion: Building Material Reuse: Understanding the Challenges, Celebrating the Successes, and Providing the Tools

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April 13, 2011
With increasingly limited resources and a growing awareness around sustainable stewardship, material reuse represents one of the ultimate forms of resource conservation. It not only provides a vision of how to live more sustainably, it can also be economically pragmatic and nurture a community. Such principles overlap greatly with the goals of certification standards like the Living Building Challenge. Despite this potential, reuse remains significantly underutilized. Key to maturing the opportunity is building a greater awareness.  Panelists will address reuse challenges and opportunities, innovative tools and resources available, and strategies to utilize reuse as a vehicle for creativity and sustainability.

Presenter Bios

Kevin R Hydes
Kevin R Hydes, CEO of Integral Group, is a professional engineer and honorary architect in BC. He has been addressing green building issues for 2 decades since first meeting Bob Berkebile on the CK Choi project at UBC. That project opened his mind and curiosity to reuse of building materials, weaving through noteworthy projects such as the Materials Testing Lab and Telus Headquarters in Vancouver and many projects across North America including his own adaptive reuse office in Oakland, California, a low energy LEED Platinum targeted office. Kevin is also founding chair of the Cascadia Chapter and a Cascadia Fellow.

Laura Lesniewski

Laura Lesniewski, AIA is a principal at BNIM. An architect with 20 years of experience, she has spoken nationally on emerging technologies and philosophies in sustainable design, BIM and lean thinking and, most recently, at Brazil’s first Greenbuild in Sao Paulo.  Laura led the design team efforts on the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, which achieved both Living Building and LEED Platinum certification.  She co-authored “Roadmap for Integration” for the AIA’s 2006 Report on Integrated Practice and recently completed FLOW: In Pursuit of a Living Building with Bob Berkebile and Steve McDowell.  Laura is a graduate of MIT and UCBerkeley.


Nathan Benjamin
Nathan Benjamin - LEED AP, Principal + Founder of PlanetReuse & PlanetRestore – a reclaimed construction material broker and consultant predicated on a simple but revolutionary idea: make it easy for people to use reclaimed materials and they’ll do more of it to keep materials out of landfills. He has an Architectural Engineering degree, is on the Building Materials Reuse Association Board and worked on two of the first three “Living” projects. He worked on two of the Reuse Primer’s projects and has presented at the National Demolition Association, Greening the Heartland, GreenTown, past two Greenbuilds, Living Future, and the USGBC Federal Summit.

Liz Ogbu
Liz Ogbu is Associate Design Director at Public Architecture, a nonprofit that mobilizes designers to create positive social change.  Liz directs the public-interest design initiatives, which creatively address critical environmental and social justice issues.  She led development of the Design for Reuse Primer, a USGBC funded e- publication intended to demystify and inspire mainstream material reuse. Liz has written and lectured extensively on sustainable design.  She was a member of the 2010 AIA COTE Top Ten and USGBC Natural Talent Design juries and honored as a "Green Giant" by Steelcase for her work in promoting environmentally and socially sustainable design.

For more info to attend sessions, check out the conference website.

Removing the Roadblocks to Material Reuse - Cascadia Green Building Council's Trim Tab - Winter 2011

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January 25, 2011

The Cascadia Green Building Council's Trim Tab is an amazing resource for provocative articles, interviews and news on the issues, designs, and people that are truly transforming the built environment.


PlanetReuse is proud to contribute to this great publication where we review successes as well as struggles when it come to material reuse in commercial and residential projects. 

 
To review and download the complete issue and to sign up for updates, visit their website.


2010 K-State Sustainability Conference.

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January 09, 2010

Nathan Benjamin of PlanetReuse will travel to Kansas State University Sustainability Conference on January 30th to serve as a guest speaker. Along with Benjamin will be Stephen Hardy of BNIM Architects, Bill Hanlon of Flint Hills Technical College, and KSU College of Architecture, Planning and Design professor Gary Coates. Moderating the session will be Casey Cassias, also of BNIM Architects. Here is a little bit of information about this year's focus of the conference.

"This year's sustainability conference at K-State will focus on sharing ideas and building new networks across Kansas in the higher education community. Sustainability has become a very important word in the life of universities, but we need effective partnerships to bring meaning to that word. In the overlap between environmental stewardship, smart planning, and saving money on resource costs, universities have a responsibility to serve their own needs and those of society. They can bring action on their own campuses that radiates outward through our partnerships and outreach."

Those to attend this event include university faculty, students, and non-university professionals and a copy of the presentations will be posted to K-State Research Exchange.

Go State!

Air & Waste Management Association Midwest Environmental Conference.

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January 08, 2010

Nathan Benjamin of PlanetReuse will attend the annual Environmental Conference held by the Air & Waste Management Association as a guest speaker on the topic of "Recycling, Reuse, Reduction Successes." In attendance will be various representatives from Midwest section firms and businesses such as BNIM Architects' Bob Berkebile, Mike Utz of Ripple Glass, and Habitat for Humanity ReStore's Brian Alferman, just to name a few. This year, the A&WMA event changes will include a new partnership with the local US Green Building Chapter, one of the founders of the USGBC, Berkebile, as key note speaker, and tools and techniques over lunch for "Networking for Success."

To find out more information about the schedule for this event, go here.

Greensburg School visual progress report.

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December 21, 2009
Here are a few images of where Greensburg School construction is currently and a little background information about our involvement with BNIM Architects in this project.

"Poignantly, the project features siding created from 3,600 board feet of cypress salvaged from trees destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Using disaster recovered wood means less harvesting of live, new wood. PlanetReuse also sourced materials for interior slat paneling, exterior bridges and walkways, including 72,000 lineal feet of reclaimed hemlock fir, 22,000 lineal feet of Douglas fir and quantities of a 2x6 pine/spruce/fir mix from the St. Louis, Missouri area."

For more views of the structure throughout construction, join the PlanetReuse Facebook group and take a look at our work in the "Group Photos" section!

Salvaged Materials Find a Home in America’s Greenest Building Project - F'09 Newsletter

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October 28, 2009
When one of America’s greenest projects opened its doors this summer, the world learned that many of those doors were salvaged. The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) in Rhinebeck, New York debuted on July 16 as one of the world’s best showcases for reclaimed building materials. PlanetReuse was privileged to coordinate much of the salvaged building material used in the project.

The OCSL, an environmental education center and wastewater treatment facility, is expected to be certified as the world’s first Living Building Challenge project, the highest measurable standard for sustainable design and construction. The award-winning building was designed by BNIM Architects, with John Todd Ecological Design.


“So much building material heads for landfills, when instead it can find new life in new building projects,” said PlanetReuse founder Nathan Benjamin. “As the world’s greenest building, the Omega Center is a perfect showcase for salvaged materials, but it also demonstrates how easily any building can take advantage of material reuse.”

Using reclaimed materials is one of the purest ways to build green, and an important consideration for Living Building certification. To discover effective ways to incorporate these materials into the OCSL, BNIM sought out PlanetReuse, whose focus is linking reclaimed materials with the design community.

With the design team, PlanetReuse identified key areas for the use of reclaimed materials. They worked with six demolition and reclamation contractors (three not-for-profits and three for profit) to procure and test the materials, sourcing close to the project to reduce fuel consumption. The company provided documentation on every step to support the certification process. The architect and contractor valued PlanetReuse’s insight, to that point that both wished the company had been involved even earlier in the process to assist with schedule and incorporate more materials.


Reclaimed materials within the Omega Center include dimensional lumber, plywood, interior doors, beech wood paneling and toilet partitions, among many others. The materials came from warehouses, schools, office buildings and other projects within the source radius. Reclaimed materials typically offer 15 to 20 percent savings over new and their use earns significant points towards LEED accreditation.


Most significantly, reuse keeps tons of building materials out of landfills.

PlanetReuse in KC Star Press Release.

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July 15, 2009

This week, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) in Rhinebeck, New York will be opening. As the July 16 ribbon-cutting approaches, the KC Star issued a press release explaining the importance of this facility and it's relation to PlanetReuse, BNIM Architects, and John Todd Ecological Design. The article titled, "Salvaged Materials Find a Home in America’s Greenest Building Project," highlights how the use of reclaimed, recycled, or salvaged materials can be some of the purest ways to be earth-conscious in architecture today. The following is a little background from the article about how PlanetReuse got involved in this outstanding project.

"With the design team, PlanetReuse identified key areas for the use of reclaimed materials. They worked with five demolition and reclamation contractors (three not-for-profits and two for profit) to procure and test the materials, sourcing close to the project to reduce fuel consumption. The company provided documentation on every step to support the certification process.

Reclaimed materials within the Omega Center include dimensional lumber, plywood, interior doors, beech wood paneling and toilet partitions, among many others. The materials came from warehouses, schools, office buildings and other projects within the source radius. Reclaimed materials typically offer 15 to 20 percent savings over new, and their use earns significant points towards LEED accreditation. Most significantly, reuse keeps tons of building materials out of landfills."

To read the article in it's entirety, click here! Enjoy!

Omega Institute's Supergreen "Living Building"

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July 05, 2009

Congratulations to the Omega Institute, BNIM and Sember Construction on this great project raising the bar on sustainable design and construction. The project team worked to meet the Cascadia Region Green Building Council's Living Building Challenge requirements as well as met and pushed beyond many LEED requirements.

PlanetReuse enjoyed helping the team by providing the reclaimed materials for the project. Check out this great article about the facility in Fast Company: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/137/its-alive.html. We look forward to attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 16th.

Congratulations on this great accomplishment!

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