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USGBC Central Plains Event: "Materials Recycling Practices - Commercial & Residential."


February 11, 2010

The Central Plains Chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will be hosting an event titled, "Materials Recycling Practices - Commercial and Residential," on March 5th at Studio Dan Meiners. Speaking at this event will be Nathan Benjamin, Principal + Founder of PlanetReuse, Brian Alferman, Associate Director of Habitat Restore, Brent Kroh, Vice President of Elmwood Reclaimed Timber and Christian Arnold, Principal at Clockwork. The following topics will be addressed by the speakers at the event:

-Common materials used in sustainable projects.
-Unique or new-to-market materials and applications.
-Tools and methods to ensure proper documentation for LEED certification application and approval.
-Project examples and local Case Studies.

As a great example of the topic being discussed, the soon to be opened headquarters of Studio Dan Meiners was designed by Clockwork, was constructed by ARC Construction and incorporated many reused and recycled materials provided by PlanetReuse. There will be tours provided immediately following the panel discussion. If you are interested in attending this great event, click here for more information. See you there!

PlanetReuse featured in Greenability Jan/Feb '10 issue.


February 10, 2010

PlanetReuse was featured in the article titled "7 Recycled and Reused Sources For Home Remodeling," of the Kansas City publication Greenability. The article features the seven top places in the area to turn to for donating old building materials or picking up some new gems for your home. The following is the section on PlanetReuse.

"If you are looking for a specific piece or materials, check out PlanetReuse, a unique source for the green remodeling project. The company sells from a website with listings of reused and recycled materials from around the country. The beauty of the site lies in the matchmaking service it provides for free. If you do not see the material you are looking for in the listing, PlanetReuse can find it, at no charge. By simply placing a request, you will be guided through the process, have samples sent to your door, and even generate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) documentation for your project.

'PlanetReuse is trying to connect a disconnected industry by thinking outside the box,' says Nathan Benjamin, principal and founder. 'We go beyond flooring and wood products into stone, bricks, light fixtures, steel and any and all materials that can be reused.'

Look at the materials listing, make a request for something specific and get your reusable materials sold by visiting PlanetReuse at, or call 816-298-7947."

If you would like to read the entire Greenability article titled, "7 Recycled and Reused Sources For Home Remodeling," check out the PlanetReuse Facebook group in the 'Group Photos' section!

Greensburg School visual progress report.


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!

Making Material Reuse Effortless to Save Time, Money and the Planet - F'09 Newsletter


October 28, 2009

PlanetReuse is predicated on a simple but revolutionary idea: make it easy for people to use reclaimed materials and they’ll do more of it. That’s good for the future of sustainable building and our planet.
Studies show that as much as 40 percent of waste in landfills comes from construction projects. With billions of tons of trash produced annually and global waste production expected to double by 2013, it adds up to a staggering quantity of landfill waste. Reuse—as the purest form of recycling—helps reduce that amount.
But as Nathan Benjamin found, sourcing quality materials for commercial construction often proved difficult, and frequently architects can’t find materials early enough to incorporate into a design. That discovery led Benjamin to found PlanetReuse in 2008, with the sole purpose of taking the work out of the reuse process.
“We make the connection, handle the groundwork and guide clients through a streamlined process,” he said. “Handled efficiently, reuse is one of those rare situations with no downside. Reclaimed materials are typically available at a 15 to 20 percent savings over new. We follow a proven method that saves time and effort. And—vitally—reuse significantly reduces landfill waste.”
It all adds up to the PlanetReuse mission:to make using reclaimed building materials effortless by expertly matching materials with designers, builders and owners, saving projects money, serving LEED efforts and sustaining the planet.
The idea is resonating within the design and construction industry. The first-to-market company, which earned a Lifecycle Building Challenge award for innovation, has grown 300 percent in the last year.
PlanetReuse follows efficient, tested processes for both placement and deconstruction consulting. The company’s sweet spot is the design development phase, where they work with the architect to seamlessly integrate reclaimed materials, often reviewing drawings and specs to provide a fresh perspective. PlanetReuse sources materials, tests for quality, and documents for LEED and Living Building Challenge certification.
While the robust PlanetReuse website displays available materials and offers the opportunity to request specific items, Benjamin likes clients to consider PlanetReuse the most valuable, cost-efficient member of a project team. And if you’re looking for something you don’t see online, just ask us about it. We’ll find it---we love challenges.
“We spend every minute of every day in the reclaimed materials world. And as long-term members of the green building community, we speak your language,” Benjamin said. “It’s our mission to make your world easier through our knowledge of reclaimed materials. Like our clients, we’re very passionate about sustainable design and construction, and know that together, we can make a real difference.”

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


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.

More than Just Wood: The Many Faces of Reclaimed Building Materials - F'09 Newsletter


October 28, 2009

Mention reclaimed materials and the image pops: salvaged wood beautifully repurposed as paneling or flooring. While reclaimed wood is indeed one of the most popular reused materials, the range of materials sought and available extends far beyond that.
“Reclaimed wood is a classic, and it’s an idea most people are familiar with,” said PlanetReuse operations manager Tim Bensman. “But we’re seeing a growing market for steel, doors, access flooring, granite and marble. Steel, especially, offers huge potential for reuse, and along with that a huge potential for cost savings as well as a greater ability to achieve additional LEED material reuse credits.” The LEED MR system awards credit for reuse of a variety of reclaimed materials. PlanetReuse works with the design team early enough in the process to allow a huge list of options for consideration.
Ryerson University in Toronto has been studying steel reuse for a number of years, surveying designers, demolition contractors, salvage yards and steel fabricators to better understand the steel lifecycle. A 2006 report determined that construction steel reuse resulted in the reduction of between 3,000 and 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year, a number that could grow dramatically with increased awareness.
Steel recycling has always been popular, especially in Europe. The UK-based Steel Construction Institute estimates recycling rates at 85 percent or higher. But reuse of steel components—which as the purest form of recycling provides the highest benefit to the environment—demands a bit more quality control.
To create those standards, PlanetReuse is working with prominent structural engineers around the country to establish fundamental testing principles. The company is actively sourcing reclaimed steel from deconstruction contractors, delivering a message of profitability for quality steel components.
They’re also talking to design principals around the globe, both to in regards to available inventory and insight on how to incorporate reclaimed materials. In recent years, architects designing shorter-term buildings (like venues for the 2012 Olympics in London) have suggested demountable venues that can be partially or completely removed and reused elsewhere.
“We’ve really just scratched the surface when it comes to the diversity of reclaimed materials,” said Bensman. “The easier the process becomes the more you’ll see materials of all types available for incorporation into new building projects. Whether that’s tons of steel, a dozen doors or a small slab of granite, the key is communication between those who need it and those who have it.”

PlanetReuse in KC Star Press Release.


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"


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: We look forward to attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 16th.

Congratulations on this great accomplishment!

PlanetReuse mentioned on Design Evolution w/ Naomi Pearson


March 14, 2009
Special thanks go out to Anthony Brower with Gensler for his recent PR reference this weekend. Check out the podcast (PR is mentioned around 40:10).

"PlanetReuse helps me on two levels, assisting in diverting materials from landfills and finding homes for reclaimed materials...they do a great job."
Thanks Anthony!

Architecture: Zero energy buildings, and sustainable strategies for building materials
Biologically sensitive development, integrated wind turbines, algae based biofuels, biomemedic design, healthier indoor environments, and recycled materials are a few examples of what we'll be covering. Chris Garvin serves as a project lead for many of Terrapin Bright Green’s consulting engagements while also managing projects for Cook+Fox Architects. Chris's interests include high-performance design at both the building and community scale, zero energy communities, biomimicry, and water conservation.

Anthony Brower develops and manages project-specific, practical, and appropriate strategies for green building design. Anthony is also an educator for internal Gensler sustainable design and LEED training sessions, and works extensively with the USGBC LEED Green Building Rating System for multiple projects nationally and internationally. Special Guest Host Pamela Epelbaum Paul.

LEED- Some are missing the point by passing on credits


January 15, 2009
“We usually cannot use enough reclaimed material to meet the LEED MR3.1 credit 5% level not to mention the 10% in 3.2, so we don’t usually reuse materials on projects. We go for other credits to reach the LEED certification level our Owner wants, but usually pass over the reuse credits. It’s not worth the time and hassle.” These are quotes from a conversation I had last week with a LEED consultant and it frustrates me. The USGBC’s assembly of a rating system in LEED to raise the bar is outstanding, but it bothers me that it is too often-times simply a checklist and not a design framework/mindset.

My question on whether or not you hit the 5% level is - why does the percentage and whether you get a credit matter?? If you reach 4.5%, haven’t you accomplished something for your Owner, even though you “missed getting that credit”? The environmental impact of landfill diversion, not to mention cost savings in reusing materials (especially with projects on the chopping blocks due to budget cut-backs) should drive you to this decision to reuse materials, but so should your drive to lead with sustainable design. It is good for the environment and good for the Owner's budget - regardless of the points achieved.

LEED provides a great framework to assure that design teams have thought about each possible sustainable component, but we all need to understand and push beyond the “cheapest point checklist” and “if we won't get the point, we won’t try”. A lot of firms that have been doing it for years understand this. With the Living Building Challenge raising the bar even higher and industry shifts to change some of the mindsets of the rating systems of sustainability, these will be welcomed changes.


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