April 28, 2010
Last week’s Earth Day celebration marked a wonderful upsurge in attention to sustainable activities. Many cities planned week-long activities to increase awareness of recycling and energy efficiency, offering significant opportunities to educate youth and shift mindsets for daily routines.
The official holiday is also a good time to consider your personal and professional goals for aiding the planet throughout the year. The Earth Day mindset can certainly apply to the professional world, specifically in how projects are conceived and constructed. A major way to think sustainably in the building process is to source and specify local and regional materials. This cuts down on the fuel consumption and pollution necessary to truck materials long distances.
The USGBC’s LEED requirements have successfully promoted this practice by establishing criteria that encourages sourcing materials within a 500-mile radius. Cascadia’s Living Building Challenge Project requirements raise the bar by requiring all materials to be sourced from within a more restricted radii based on material weight (250, 500 and maximum of 1,000 miles from origin/source and project site). But even projects that aren’t pursuing certification can benefit from local and regional sourcing.
PlanetReuse works with clients to source materials as close to the project site as possible, both for sustainable and financial reasons. “Not only is it good for the environment, it also cuts down on the transportation costs,” said Tim Bensman, PlanetReuse Operations Manager. “Reduced shipping costs, a smaller carbon footprint and landfill diversion all in one makes sourcing local reclaimed materials an attractive choice.”
The company helped source and coordinate many reclaimed materials for the first two projects slated for Living Building Challenge certification in the Omega Center for Spiritual Living and the Tyson Research Center at Washington University. “Providing regional, reclaimed material options can go a long way in helping design teams hit their goals,” said Nathan Benjamin, PlanetReuse’s Principal + Founder.
Sourcing materials locally reduces your projects carbon footprint, an admirable goal whether or not you plan to pursue certification. Committing to this practice keeps the purpose of Earth Day—to promote a more sustainable world—active year round.
April 02, 2010
Just in time for Earth Day, the Chicago USGBC Chapter will be holding the event titled, "Salvaged Material in the Sustainable Design Process" on April 20th. The event promises a tour of the ReBuilding Exchange accompanied by a discussion in which members of the selected panel will explain more thoroughly how reused materials are incorporated in projects. Participants should hope to gain a better understanding of the impact of new vs. reused material specification, how LEED plays a role in Material Reuse projects, when salvaged materials become an option in the design & construction processes, and insight from past challenges and opportunities reuse has afforded the panelists.
If you are an architect, contractor, residential builder or designer, specifier, or student of any of the previous fields, pre-register online
to attend. Jason LaFleur of Eco Achievers
who will be moderating the session and panel members will include William Emmick of Studio Gang Architects
, Meghann Maves of OWP/P - Cannon Design
, and Nathan Benjamin of PlanetReuse. If you're around Chicago, attend this event to help kick-off a great Earth Day 2010!
March 09, 2010
As the 40th anniversary of Earth Day approaches, keep this outstanding event in mind when mapping out your plans. On April 22nd and 23rd, the Midwest Urban Deconstruction Forum will be held at the Chicago headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and hosted by USEPA Region 5 Land and Chemicals Division
, Region 5 Brownfields Program, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, and Office of Brownfields & Land Revitalization.
"The Midwest Urban Deconstruction Forum will provide an excellent opportunity to establish a regional dialogue among local-level decision makers and look at new initiatives and challenges related to:
· evaluating successful strategies to incorporate deconstruction into communities’ efforts to manage abandoned buildings,
· evaluating economic viability of deconstruction on municipal projects,
· encouraging deconstruction, reuse, and recycling in the community, and
· creating local jobs through deconstruction."
If you have some experience with deconstruction, this event would be extremely valuable to consider attending. There are only fifty spots available to encourage an educated discussion and information-sharing event for individuals and communities that already have some experience in deconstruction. If you would like to attend, April 1st is the deadline for registration.
If you are in the Chicago area already and are looking for a more introductory level event, perhaps look into attending the 3rd annual 'Green Your Footprint'
held at the Flair Tower which is the newest LEED certified residential building in Chicago.
As it gets closer to Earth Day 2010, check back here for information on more exceptional events taking place around the nation and globe!