NC-2009 MRc1.2: Building Reuse—Maintain Existing Interior Nonstructural Elements

  • MRc1.2 NC schools diagram
  • Refinish and reuse existing elements

    You may find on a renovation of an existing building that some interior elements, such as walls, ceilings and doors, are in perfectly good condition and do not need to be replaced. This credit awards you one point for refinishing and reusing 50% of these elements. Projects are only eligible for this credit if the gross built area of the final building is less than two times the existing built area.

    Check the calculation details

    The calculation for this credit is a function of the total interior elements present upon construction completion, including both the existing and the new non-structural building components used in the project. Note that this approach contrasts with the calculation method in MRc1.1: Building Reuse—Structure and Shell, where the calculation compares the area of retained elements to that of existing components only. A project is eligible for the credit if it is reusing an existing structure and there is no new addition or the new construction that is no more than two times the gross floor areaGross floor area (based on ASHRAE definition) is the sum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building, including basements, mezzanine and intermediate‐floored tiers, and penthouses wi th headroom height of 7.5 ft (2.2 meters) or greater. Measurements m ust be taken from the exterior 39 faces of exterior walls OR from the centerline of walls separating buildings, OR (for LEED CI certifying spaces) from the centerline of walls separating spaces. Excludes non‐en closed (or non‐enclosable) roofed‐over areas such as exterior covered walkways, porches, terraces or steps, roof overhangs, and similar features. Excludes air shafts, pipe trenches, and chimneys. Excludes floor area dedicated to the parking and circulation of motor vehicles. ( Note that while excluded features may not be part of the gross floor area, and therefore technically not a part of the LEED project building, they may still be required to be a part of the overall LEED project and subject to MPRs, prerequisites, and credits.) of the existing floor area.

    For example, if a project has 1,000 ft2 of existing structural elements and 1,000 ft2 of existing nonstructural elements. The final design consists of 2,000 ft2 of structural elements and 1,200 ft2 of nonstructural elements. The project achieves MRc1.1 if it reuses 500 ft2 of structural elements, and achieves MRc1.2 if 600 ft2 of the completed nonstructural elements were pre-existing.

    Can be labor-intensive

    Building restoration may be labor-intensive, but reusing buildings and their interior components extends the life cycle of an existing structure and mitigates the impacts of extraction, manufacturing and transportation of raw materials when compared to new building construction. In addition to these environmental benefits, restoration often offers historic and cultural benefits.

    There are calculators available for evaluating credit eligibility and targets. The most time-intensive aspects of documentation for this credit are getting accurate measurements of the area of nonstructural building elements and tabulating the existing and restored areas in the InteriorReuse calculator. When measuring, it is important to note the method you have used to account for existing building elements.

    Use these questions to assess the potential for building reuse

    • Conduct a survey of the existing building to ascertain the current condition. What are the probable costs of structural reinforcements, building restoration, and demolition of unusable areas?
    • What is the cost of new construction if the whole building is demolished and replaced?
    • Is the project eligible to pursue this LEED credit? Any new addition must be no more than twice the existing square footage that is retained.
    • Would a renovation project be available for local historic incentives, or federal tax credits? Are there restrictions on demolishing the existing building and starting over?
    • Which nonstructural elements are most feasible to maintain? What level of restoration will be needed for each element?

    FAQs for MRc1.2

    What building elements get included in this calculation and what can be excluded?

    All existing interior non-structural elements are included. The items you do not include in calculations are all structural elements (walls, floors, roof) included within MRc1.1, as well as the materials that are considered hazardous.

    What about exterior finishes and site features like paving? Can I get credit for these?

    There is no specific way to earn LEED credit for these features. In some cases (see below), credit may be possible under MRc2.

    How do you calculate the existing building non-structural reuse?

    The percentage of reused existing interior building non-structural elements is calculated by area, dividing the total reused interior non-structural elements by the total area of interior non-structural elements (including new elements from additions or replacements). A calculator is provided in the documentation toolkit to facilitate this.

    Can you double-dip between MRc1.1 and MRc1.2 for building elements such as floor slabs if they are being refurbished and reused as finish floor?

    We have not seen official guidance on this, but the LEEDuser expert consensus is "no." Each element of a building should be accounted for in either MRc1.1 or MRc1.2 and cannot be used twice. If a floor slab is reused and contributes to MRc1.1, it can therefore not also contribute towards MRc1.2. Even if it is used as a finish floor, that is not the same thing as reusing non-structural flooring under MRc1.2.

    I'm reusing a historic building but I don't qualify under MRc1 due to the thresholds in the credit language. Can't I somehow get credit?

    In building reuse situations where the project doesn't qualify for MRc1, the building weight or volume being reused can count toward MRc2: Construction Waste Management. MRc3: Materials Reuse, on the other hand, is not applicable in most cases—see that  credit for specifics.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • Determine whether the project is eligible for the credit based on existing floor area and total floor area. A project is eligible if the project is reusing an existing structure and there is no new addition or the new construction that is no more than two times the gross floor area of the existing floor area.


  • The project does not need to achieve MRc1.1:  Building Structure Reuse to pursue MR 1.2: Building Nonstructural Reuse.


  • If the project includes both existing structure and new construction, the LEED project boundary must encompass the entire existing building regardless of the scope of work within the existing building. Portions of existing buildings may only be excluded from the LEED project boundary if they have a separate mechanical system and function independently of the LEED project building area.


  • Ineligible projects may apply the reused building area toward MRc2: Construction Waste Management, or MRc3: Materials Reuse, but not to both

Schematic Design

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  • Identify walls and ceilings that can be restored. The building owner and architect should evaluate the implications of renovation and restoration against those of demolition and new construction.


  • Assess the interior space to determine whether the program goals can be achieved while maintaining existing interior surfaces.


  • Elements that can be counted for reuse include all interior walls, ceilings, carpets, cabinetry, interior doors and windows. Exterior doors and windows, mechanical systems, and hazardous materials may not be included in calculations.


  • Develop a checklist of all interior elements and use this to make preliminary calculations anticipating the percentage of elements that can be reused. Pursue the credit only if these preliminary calculations show that at least 50% of interior elements in the completed building are reused, per the requirement.


  • Elements to be saved for reuse may be removed for protection during construction, and reinstalled for the same purpose. If being used in a new application (doors used as paneling, for example), the materials no longer qualify for this credit, but do qualify for MRc3: Materials Reuse.


  • Reusing building elements is often labor-intensive, due to restoration needs and needing contractors to work around these elements. However, avoiding the purchase of new materials while reducing construction waste can lead to significant cost savings. Doing a budget comparison between restoration and new construction costs will help building owners make informed decisions.


  • Local incentives and historic tax credits can make historic rehabilitation more attractive. The baseline definition of “historic” is typically an age of 50 years or greater. These incentives may require a certain level of preservation of interior spaces or finishes, in keeping with the building’s character and historic fabric, but do allow for a significant amount of adaptation.

Design Development

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  • Update the checklist assembled during schematic design to confirm that the project is still on track with 50% of reused interior elements for LEED compliance. For example, a wall initially assumed to be in good condition may be found to be in poor condition, and needs to be replaced with new materials. The checklist will help track credit compliance throughout the design and construction process.


  • Develop a renovation plan that outlines reuse, cleaning and restoration activities, and specifications for finishes. When possible use deconstruction, rather than demolition, so that elements that cannot be reused in the project may be reused offsite. This diversion contributes to MRc2: Construction Waste Management.


  • Tabulate reused surfaces of following elements: the surface area (one side only) of all finished flooring, finished ceilings, interior doors, exterior or party walls, visible surfaces of built-in case goods, and two sides of interior non-structural walls.


  • Design development may require community involvement in the case of an historic building undergoing renovation or addition.


  • Older buildings often contain hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead, and others. The building owner may need to conduct an ASTM E1527-05 Phase I Environmental Assessment by an environmental consultant, and if required, a Phase II assessment with a remediation plan to ensure a safe and healthy facility. These hazardous materials are not included in any MR credit calculations—so they count neither for nor against you.


  • Design style and aesthetics may be driving factors for preserving the interior finishes and elements.


  • Consider tradeoffs when reusing certain elements. Retaining existing interior partitions, for example, is a simple strategy which can help to attain this credit. However, depending on the placement of the existing walls, this must be weighed against the possible loss of daylighting and views. It should also be balanced against trade-offs related to energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality, too.


  • Fixed partitions and office furniture apply to MRc3: Materials Reuse and not to MRc.1.2 Building Reuse.

Construction Documents

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  • Architects should incorporate restoration specifications into the construction documents.


  • Confirm that construction and demolition drawings highlight clear distinctions between the elements being restored and elements that will be taken down.


  • Include details on preparation, protection and any special arrangement required during construction. Reused elements may need protective coverings and sheets from contaminants and construction dust

Construction

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  • The architect and construction manager work with the restoration contractor to establish appropriate demolition and restoration activities.


  • At the end of construction, the architect revisits the preliminary calculations to confirm that the percentage of reused building elements is above the 50% threshold required for the credit.


  • Draft a narrative describing your approach to building reuse, including the selection of elements preserved, and any outstanding project features.


  • Upload documentation to LEED Online.


  • Some historic elements may call for finishes or adhesives that do not comply with the low-VOC guidelines of EQc4: Low-Emitting Materials. Discuss these issues with subcontractors as they come up and seek substitutes.


  • Renovation and restoration are labor-intensive specialties and may represent added costs, although costs for new materials and for waste disposal may be reduced.


  • Some elements may require special protection during construction.  In cases where only a portion of a building is undergoing construction, special attention should be paid to isolating the otherwise clean or occupied areas and protecting the retained elements from dust and contamination.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • The restoration team should provide operations staff with a maintenance plan and guidelines appropriate to the specific finishes. Special finishes or other measures used to preserve historic elements may also require special operations and maintenance procedures.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    MR Credit 1.2: Building reuse - maintain interior nonstructural elements

    1 Point

    Intent

    To extend the life cycle of existing building stock, conserve resources, retain cultural resources, reduce waste and reduce environmental impacts of new buildings as they relate to materials manufacturing and transport.

    Requirements

    Use existing interior nonstructural elements (e.g., interior walls, doors, floor coverings and ceiling systems) in at least 50% (by area) of the completed building, including additions. If the project includes an addition with square footage more than 2 times the square footage of the existing building, this credit is not applicable.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Consider reusing existing building structures, envelopes and interior nonstructural elements. Remove elements that pose a contamination risk to building occupants, and upgrade components that would improve energy and water efficiency such as mechanical systems and plumbing fixtures. Quantify the extent of building reuse.

Publications

Design for Deconstruction: Material Reuse and Constructability

Pittsburgh Papers: Best of GreenBuild, November 12-14, Pittsburgh, PA, 74-81. Pulaski, M., Hewitt, C., Horman, M. and Guy, B. 2003.


How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built

A fascinating study of how buildings evolve or disintegrate after they're "finished," and how to design for their ongoing evolution. Great photos and anecdotes throughout illustrate Stewart Brand's theories, which are a compelling and easy read. A great book for lovers of old buildings, but also for those building new buildings that they wish to have a long, rich life.

Technical Guides

ASTM 1527-05: Phase I Environmental Assessment

ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services 1527-05 Phase I environmental assessment is a report prepared for the real estate holding that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities.


ASTM 1903-97: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services 1903-97 Phase II environmental site assessment is an investigation that collects samples of building materials to analyze for quantitative values for various contaminants.

Interior Reuse Calculations

Credit Documentation

Use this calculator to tabulate the reused interior components and assess credit compliance.

LEED Online Forms: NC-2009 MR

The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each NC-2009 MR credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.

Version 4 forms (newest):

Version 3 forms:

These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."

Construction Submittal

HardhatDocumentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.

25 Comments

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Farah A.
Feb 23 2014
Guest
293 Thumbs Up

Are filing cabinets included

Are filing cabinets included in the calculations for Maintain Interior Nonstructural Elements? If so, are they included in only the qualifying area or do they count as reusable components for this credit?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 24 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Farah, see the guidance under the Checklists tab above. Furniture applies to MRc3 and not MRc1.

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Farah A. Feb 28 2014 Guest 293 Thumbs Up

Tristan, wouldn't cabinets qualify as interior casework?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 28 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Farah, are you asking if cabinets qualify under MRc1? I am a little confused about your question.

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Farah A. Mar 01 2014 Guest 293 Thumbs Up

Sorry for the confusion- essentially, yes. I wanted to know if cabinets are included in calculations for interior casework- if they are part of the qualifying area for casework, and if they count as an interior nonstructural element.

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Sallyann Kluz Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects
Jan 24 2013
Guest
8 Thumbs Up

Exterior Walls and Ceiling Furred Out

We have an existing building that lacked insulation in exterior walls as well as the ceiling. In order to accomodate the new insulation and some additional roof structure, the ceiling and walls were furred out, leaving the existing finishes in place (e.g. not being demo'd and going to landfill), but with a new finish.

My question is whether or not these areas might contribute to this credit. On the one hand, it seems like this fulfills part of this credit (keeping material out of the landfill), while on the other, it does add new embodied energy1. Embodied energy is the energy used during the entire life cycle of a product, including its manufacture, transportation, and disposal, as well as the inherent energy captured within the product itself. 2. The energy expended in the process of creating a product, often including the fuel value of its constituent parts as well as transportation to its point of use. to the project. Thoughts?

Thank you.

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Feb 01 2013 LEEDuser Expert 476 Thumbs Up

I think your situation is similar to the one below, you are meeting the intent of the credit if you can show in a floor plan that at least 50% of the interior walls remain as compared to the pre-renovation floor plan.

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Rebekah Burke Director of Sustainable Design Clark Nexsen
Feb 16 2012
LEEDuser Member
419 Thumbs Up

Historic plaster to receive new plaster skimcoat

We are refurbishing a historic building that has many existing plaster walls. If a new plaster skimcoat is applied, do these existing walls still count for this credit? This question is similar to the ones posted here about refinishing wood floors and resealing existing concrete, but the new finish in this case is opaque- not just a sealer or a stain. Is there a way to draw the line here in terms of which refinishing treatments warrant credit and which ones do not? Almost 100% of the existing interior walls will remain, so it would be a shame not to be able to count all of that material.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 17 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Rebekah, I think this falls within the credit intent of restoration rather than replacement. You are keeping the wall, just restoring it to usable condition. I don't think the LEED requirements expect that projects won't have to touch things up.

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Caroline Hedin Architect studio point253
Nov 29 2011
LEEDuser Member
1011 Thumbs Up

Ceiling "Reuse"

I'm cross posting from CI MRc1.2:

I see this was partially covered in Jean's discussion but I'm going to see if any of you have any further clarification. We removed a suspended acoustical ceiling in our project except in three offices. On the first floor, rather than installing new SAC (suspended acoustical ceiling) we left the structure exposed and painted it. In a couple of areas we included "clouds" for lighting and acoustical purposes. What do you think...can I count the now exposed area as existing or would it not count because it was previously covered by the SAC? If you think I CAN count it, do you feel I can count the area above the clouds (they are 4'x8') also?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 17 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Caroline, I could see either side on this. You are getting rid of and perhaps sending to the landfill the existing ceiling. Also, the structure is potentially already covered under MRc1.1.

On the other hand, you're using an existing element and not adding material.

On the balance, I think you could go for it, but I could see this getting turned down.

Let us know if you get any resolution.

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Christine Robbins-Elrod Studio Director 5G Studio Collaborative,llc.
Aug 01 2011
Guest
270 Thumbs Up

Adaptive Reuse

We're working on the adaptive reuseAdapted reuse is the renovation of a space for a purpose different from the original. for a five-story 100-year old building (former warehouse/office building being renovated into a boutique hotel) that has been vacant about 15 years. When the current owner purchased the building a few years ago, there were no interior walls in the building. The team has designed the renovation so that most of the existing nonstructural elements will be reused; the interior finish of the exterior walls (brick and plaster) will remain as is, the exposed concrete ceilings will remain as is, and most of the flooring for the new hotel (sealed existing concrete, existing terrazzo) will be reused. Does anyone know if we can exclude the area for interior walls that may have previously existed in our calculations since the building did not have any when it was purchased by the current owner? Also, does sealing existing unsealed concrete allow us to count the area of the sealed concrete flooring towards the 'Reused Area' for this credit's calculations?

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Christine Robbins-Elrod Studio Director, 5G Studio Collaborative,llc. Aug 01 2011 Guest 270 Thumbs Up

Or now that I'm reading further into it, it looks like the previously existing interior walls would be irrelevant? Would the underside of an existing concrete floor slab be considered a 'finished ceiling' if it is left exposed?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 20 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Christine, I agree that I don't see how you can count reuse of interior walls that aren't there. The good news is that the absence of these elements doesn't count against you.

I believe that refinishing a floor counts as reuse, so you could count the slab.

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Jessica Nixon Sustainability Coordinator Meyer Design Inc
Sep 01 2010
LEEDuser Member
33 Thumbs Up

Pre-Existing Fire Condition

The building had a large amount of pre-existing interior non-structural materials that had to be removed due to fire damage. For example the entire suspended ceiling had fire damage and was not salvageable. Do you think this could be considered a special circumstance and we could leave out of our calculations things such as the ceiling system, damaged walls, etc.

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Anne Nicklin Executive Director, Building Materials Reuse Association Sep 02 2010 Guest 1573 Thumbs Up

Hi Jessica,

The calculations for this credit allow for the exclusion of hazardous material remediation (such as asbestos), but unfortunately I don't think that fire damage would qualify as hazardous. Thus, I'm afraid you'll have to keep the materials in the calculation, or submit a project specific CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide to see if an exception can be granted.
Best- Anne

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Nathan Benjamin Founder + CEO, PlanetReuse Sep 08 2010 LEEDuser Member 163 Thumbs Up

I'd agree with Anne, the fire damaged material would not be classified as hazardous and would require the materials to be included in the calculation. I think this is indeed a good opportunity to submit a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide, though, to see if an exception can be made. You may consider other opportunities for the materials for reuse in lieu of their original installation. Can some of the material be re-purposed in a different application? It would obviously fall into another credit, but it could be a good way to divert material from being thrown out and it could further tell the story of the building's history if made into another detail in the space.

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John Albrecht Director of LEED Services Sieben Energy Assoc.
Jul 11 2010
Guest
2143 Thumbs Up

Reuse of Building Exterior

If an NC project has no existing building to reuse but will be reusing more than 50% or the existing site including paving, might a project still earn this credit? I realize that 'interiors' are featured in the credit language, but reuse of existing site work in a green building project is also worthwhile and energy saving, and the tems 'green building' does include site work in many of the LEED credits.

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Allison Beer McKenzie Architect, Director of Sustainability, SHP Leading Design Jul 11 2010 LEEDuser Expert 6055 Thumbs Up

It definitely wouldn't count for either of the established building reuse credits, but you could have a case for an Innovation in Design point if you can create a compelling intent and requirements!

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Anne Nicklin Executive Director, Building Materials Reuse Association Jul 12 2010 Guest 1573 Thumbs Up

I'd agree with you Allison, there really is not a basis for including site reuse under MRc1.1 or 1.2. SSc5.1 rewards projects that retain greenfield sites, but there is no incentive for preserving a previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." site. Reusing paving is actually often discouraged because of reduced SRI values in older or weathered paving materials.

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Richard Reed
Mar 03 2010
Guest
359 Thumbs Up

Historic Preservation

Building is on National Register of Historic Places. Extensive woodwork to be refurbiished and reused but will also require replacement to copy original patterns etc throughout finished project. How does this break down?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 03 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Under this credit you can count the refurbished and reused woodwork, but replacement would count as new and not contribute to this credit. You could earn the credit but it will come down to exact proportions to meet the credit threshold.

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Richard Reed Mar 03 2010 Guest 359 Thumbs Up

Thanks, I followed through and dont make the % requirement due to the quantity of interior walls in the new additions to the project. Its really a case of fixation due to interest. The project woodwork will be the signature component of the restoration. There will be a lot of cash spent on it and as a result I will try to compile the cost figures and submit under MRc4 based on cost. I put very rough figures together for the MRc3 table. DO these figures link to the MRc4 data?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 03 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Richard, you're not alone. It's a common story that historic rehab projects that you think would be naturals for this credit do not qualify because they don't meet the credit thresholds.

You also can't apply the materials under MRc4, because "recycled" content refers not to reused content but to the manufacturing process.

MRc3 is also out because that credit does not let you take credit for "reuse" if the same material is being reused in the same location for the same purpose. Woodwork being reused as woodwork does not qualify for MRc3. It would have to be reused as flooring, for example.

But there is hope.... MRc2: Construction Waste Management should work for you here. Yes, you get credit for not throwing the woodwork in the trash. Maybe you can even earn an Exemplary PerformanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. point here.

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Richard Reed Mar 03 2010 Guest 359 Thumbs Up

Thank you for the clarifications. In order to reuse the woodwork we will have to completely break it down and rebuild it. pretty much uber recycling. I havent given up and will try to find some logical place to fit that process into a credit, trash seems unworthy of the effort, but thanks again.

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