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Nathan Benjamin

Changing the Landscape of Sustainability

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October 02, 2012
This past weekend was the ASLA Conference, and Nathan Benjamin was lucky enough to address the largest gathering of Landscape Architects in the world.  It was a unique chance to take the   pulse, and to map out the future of the field.  Among the distinguished speakers were Chris DeVolder of 360 Architects, Tobiah Horton of Rutgers University, and Erin Kelly of Next Energy.
    


Nathan's presentation focused on the roadblocks and misperceptions regarding using reclaimed building materials in commercial and residential projects.  He discussed the cost effectiveness, both financial and environmental, of reusing everything from hardwood floors to bricks to stone. Today, 40 percent of landfill waste comes from building construction and demolition.  Construction and demolition waste contributes 100 Million tons to US landfill waste annually. This means that every year we trash and bury the equivalent of 273 Empire State Buildings.



Landfills are filling up fast

But there's hope.  Nathan presented an alternative to buying new, one in which building materials are recycled into sustainable, polished projects that are good for the bottom line and for the planet. Those building or renovating would think "used" before "new" and those demolishing would think "reuse center" before "trashcan."  The ASLA Conference was a great opportunity to connect as an industry, showcase best practices, and present a blueprint for a more sustainable future.  


Building a better future, together




Sustainable Brands 2012 - PlanetReuse Marketplace

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July 03, 2012

In June, we attended the Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego, CA. This conference brings together major brands who care about their impact on environment and society. PlanetReuse participated in the conference's Causeway Initiative that aimed to promote partnerships between not-for-profits or social enterprises with large companies to bring a positive, social and environmental change. PlanetReuse presented alongside organizations such as Sierra Club, Forest Stewardship Council, and World Wildlife Fund and urged companies to source reclaimed materials for new projects and to deconstruct for reuse.

PlanetReuse Marketplace powered by InvenQuery was selected as a finalist in the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open competition. PlanetReuse Marketplace was one of six companies chosen from more than one hundred applicants to pitch its business concept to a panel of judges. After an initial round of presentations PlanetReuse Marketplace was included in the top four companies and given the opportunity to present on the main conference stage. You can view our four-minute pitch before a live audience here.

We would like to congradulate the winner of the Innovation Open, Ecofiltro, a social enterprise that sells low cost water filtration systems in the third world. Learn about Ecofiltro's impact.

Participation in Sustainable Brands '12 and the Innovation Open provided an excellent opportunity to meet many other aspiring entrepreneurs that are doing amazing things, spread the word about building materials reuse and introduce major corporations to a variety of reuse possibilities.


PlanetReuse Selected as a Top 25 Social Entrepreneur for 2012 by Businessweek

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June 22, 2012

PlanetReuse is honored to be featured as one of America's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs of 2012 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Competition for the “final five” is stiff (and inspiring!) so please cast your vote for PlanetReuse to help realize a dream where:

  • any commercial or residential building owner who needs construction materials, considers used before new; and
  • reuse becomes THE obvious and easy alternative to the landfill during deconstruction or renovation.

This is why we are preparing to launch PlanetReuse Marketplace (powered by InvenQuery), a national website that connects building material “haves” and “wants” with their local reuse centers to easily donate and shop for reclaimed materials online.

A special thanks to our friends at the Kansas City, Missouri Habitat for Humanity (HFH) ReStore, the Chicago ReBuilding Exchange, the Wake County HFH ReStore in North Carolina, the Chesapeake HFH ReStore in Baltimore and the Montgomery County HFH ReStore in Gaithersburg, MD for their ongoing collaboration in helping us design and test a technology solution especially for the unique needs of the reuse industry.

Reuse centers like these and the 1,100 more around the U.S., keep valuable materials out of landfills, create local jobs, provide affordable home improvement resources (at roughly 40-60% off the price of new!) and support the missions of other local non-profits.

To learn more about reuse centers please visit the store links provided above.

PlanetReuse Marketplace - Finalist in Sustainable Brands Innovation Open

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June 06, 2012


PlanetReuse Marketplace has made it to the finals at the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open! Along with three other companies: Solar Mosaic, EcoFiltro and Bike & Park.

PlanetReuse is making a 4-minute presentation to about 1,000 attendees of the Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego and there is a FREE live stream to a global audience today at 4:45 PST / 7:45 EST TODAY. The link to watch all the innovation excitement is: http://www.sustainablebrands.com/events/sb12/live/register

NOW HELP US WIN THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD (vote through 7:30 PST June 6th):
To vote for PlanetReuse Marketplace -
Text to 22333 or Tweet @poll this code:
SBIOPR

The lineup for this evening’s events at the Innovation Open Final will go as follows:
1 - Sponsor Thank you's, 5mins
2 - Phil Giesler presents, 8mins
3 - Solar Mosaic - Billy, 4mins
4 - PlanetReuse Marketplace - Willow and Nathan, 4mins
5 - Ecofiltro - Philip, 4mins
6 - Bike and Park - Jeremy and Josh, 4mins
7 - Voting instructions, 4mins

The Judges for the Innovation Open Competition include:
-Paul Bradley, Executive Creative Director @ Frog Design
-Phil Giesler, Director of Innovation @ Unilever Corporate Ventures
-Kate Heiny, Manager of Sustainability @ Target
-Olivia Khalili, Senior Partnerships Manager @ Ashoka’s Changemakers
-Renee Morin, President @ PRe North America, Inc.
-Rahul Raj, Director of Sustainability @ WalMart
-William B. Rosenzweig, Partner @ Physic Ventures
-Sandy Skees, CEO/Founder @ Communications4Good
-KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, Founder & Chief Catalyst @ Sustainable Brands
-George Stewart, Chief Revenue Officer @ Resonate Networks
-Andrew Winston, Founder @ Winston Eco-Strategies
-Ian Yolles, Chief Sustainability Officer @ RecycleBank

Please tune in tonight and watch Nathan and Willow as they present PlanetReuse Marketplace at the Innovation Open!



InterfaceFLOR + PlanetReuse = Great Carpet Reuse Opportunity

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April 12, 2012

Q. What do you get when you connect a forward thinking, global carpet manufacturer committed to environmental preservation with a national broker of reclaimed building material??

A. An outstanding opportunity to push beyond standard recycling with a more sustainable solution.


Over the past few months a partnership between PlanetReuse and InterfaceFLOR has saved tons of carpet tile from the landfill and delivered it to reuse centers across the country.


We’d like to thank Mikhail Davis and the InterfaceFLOR team for a great launch and successful pilot and for supporting carpet reuse opportunities.


Here are some highlights from Mikhail's recent blog post.

"This winter, a partnership with one of the national experts in building product reuse has given us a new tool to tackle tough projects for which our recycling system has had no good solution. The pilot project, working with Nathan Benjamin, Founder of PlanetReuse, has already repurposed more old carpet tile in the first quarter of 2012 that we did in all of 2011."

"What PlanetReuse adds is access to the national community of local building product reuse stores, which has revealed a very interesting fact to us: there exists a sizable aftermarket nationally for used carpet tile for use in multipurpose areas like entryways, basements and garages.

Successful projects in our pilot with PlanetReuse include moving several full truckloads of old competitor polyurethane tile into reuse stores in Denver and Kansas City, where it is selling well. It also turns out that the durable bitumen-backed Graphlar tiles, even after being used in a retail setting, are still sought after by homeowners for use in entryways and garages."


Thank you Mikhail.

The Team at PlanetReuse looks forward to diverting many more tons of carpet tile and to opportunities for facilitating the reuse of other building materials as well.

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.

Living Future '11 - Panel Discussion: The Tyson Living Learning Center – First (of Two) Certified Living Buildings – Where do we go from here?

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April 13, 2011
The Tyson Living Learning Center opened in May 2009 and on October 12, 2010 received full Living Building Status along with the Omega Center in Rhinebeck, New York; the first two certified “Living” Buildings.

In consideration of our next project, several critical themes emerge from our combined experience that we would like to explore with our breakout session:

1. Predictive Energy Modeling + Performance Monitoring
2. Zoning + Code Issues – Where are the barriers in your region?
3. Project Delivery Options –What works Best?
4. Salvaged Materials – How to Integrate into the Design and Construction Process?

Presenter Bios

Neil Myers
Neil Myers has over eleven years experience in financially-focused ecological engineering.  His knowledge of the complex world of economic and project development has helped to generate innovative natural system solutions to such complex sustainability initiatives as watershed restoration, industry and development impact management, green infrastructure and high performance design implementation, pedestrian connectivity integration, wastewater management, and community master planning.  He has been integral in identifying pioneering-type projects and developing the talented team of multi-disciplinary professionals necessary to provide investment positive solutions to satisfy all project stakeholders.  Mr. Myers earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Butler University. 

Matt Ford
Mr. Ford is co-founder of Solutions AEC, and has worked in the design and construction industry for the last 10 years. Mr. Ford’s leadership and mechanical engineering experience encompass a wide range of mechanical systems and equipment. His experience includes engineering and managing biomedical engineering buildings, large commercial buildings for Fortune 500 companies, hospital projects, and large institutional projects. Mr. Ford has participated in varying capacities in the design, construction, and commissioning for numerous LEED Certified/Certifiable projects including; Alberici’s Platinum Certified Corporate Headquarters Building, Cortex I, the William Kerr Foundation Building, and the Living Building certified Tyson Living Learning Center.

Nathan Benjamin
Nathan Benjamin - LEED AP, Principal + Founder of PlanetReuse – 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.

Daniel F. HellmuthDaniel F. Hellmuth, AIA, is a principal and co-founder of Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects, L.L.C. Mr. Hellmuth is a LEED accredited professional and has over twenty-eight years experience in sustainable design, government, housing, educational, historic preservation, transit design  and planning projects.  Dan was part of the original steering committee that established the St. Louis Chapter of the USGBC.His firm has experience on over 30 LEED projects including LEED NC, C&S, CI, and EB as well as one certified Living Building Project, the Tyson Living Learning Center that is among the first two in the world to achieve this status.

Sign up at the unconference website.

USGBC Webinar - Building & Material Reuse: Understanding the Challenges, Celebrating the Successes, and Navigating the Credits

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April 06, 2011
Session Description:
The LEED credits related to building reuse (Materials & Resources Credits 1.1 and 1.2) and material reuse (Materials & Resources Credits 3.1 and 3.2) are some of the least utilized credits within the rating system. In a time of increasingly limited resources and a growing awareness around sustainable stewardship, however, building and material reuse represents one of the ultimate forms of resource conservation. The reuse of existing built fabric can be economically pragmatic, nurture communities, and provide vision of how to live more sustainably.

Join USGBC for this exciting webinar session, addressing reuse and credit challenges and opportunities, innovative tools and resources available, and strategies to utilize reuse as a vehicle for creativity and sustainability. Upon completion of this webinar session, attendees will gain a greater understanding of how to integrate building and material reuse into their projects and useful strategies for navigating the related LEED credits.

Learning Objectives:
  • Define foundational concepts related to building and material reuse
  • Outline credit intent and techniques that support credit achievement in Materials & Resources Credits 1.1, 1.2, 3.1 and 3.2
  • Discuss, through case studies and anecdotal stories, effective strategies and methods for building and material reuse
  • Identify tools and resources available to support designing with material reuse, material and team logistics, and LEED certification processes  
Speakers:
Moderator:  Sarah Buffaloe, LEED Resource Development, USGBC
Presenter 1: Liz Ogbu, Public Architecture
Presenter 2: Nathan Benjamin, PlanetReuse & PlanetRestore

Live Date: April 7th, 2011: 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET 
 
Continuing Education Hours: This session has been registered for 1.5 hrs with AIA/CES, GBCI
Pricing Information: $60 for members, $75 for non-members

To register: Link to USGBC 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.


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