12th International Passive House Days

Tomorrow kicks off the 12th International Passive House Days, a three day Open House tour of Passive Houses in the NYC region. The purpose of the open houses is for attendees to see firsthand the benefits of passive houses while visiting various homes that have been built or retrofitted to Passive House standards. The below information is direct from the New York Passive House website. Click on the stars to see open house times and check out this Passive House flip book which will be given out at the open houses. Let me […]

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Sustainable Living : 8 New York City Farms

Many people are surprised to learn that there are several working farms within NYC. It’s hard to imagine there’s space in this densely-populated city for fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and even livestock. Standards for local produce are quickly changing, as we no longer have to rely on farms upstate or on Long Island for fresh fruits and vegetables. Here’s a look at NYC’s farms and what they’re growing: Red Hook Community Farm Red Hook, Brooklyn Red Hook Community Farm was established in 2001 at the site of a former concrete […]

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Upcycling: Everything Old is New Again

You may have heard the term “upcycling” in terms of crafts and DIY projects – upcycling means that waste materials or unwanted products are given a new life and turned into something useful. Recycling, on the other hand, means breaking down or extracting materials from a product to make something entirely new. Both practices keep items out of landfills, but upcycling keeps items out of the waste stream entirely and reduces the consumption of raw materials when creating new products. On a small scale, upcycling can mean sprucing up clothes that are […]

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10 Types of Green Building Certifications

While it is certainly possible for a building to be “green” without any formal certification, many developers and property owners choose to seek certification in order to hold themselves accountable and maintain credibility with the public. Now that there are several different options for certification, this can get confusing for prospective homeowners who want to make an eco-friendly purchase. Here’s a breakdown of all the different green building certifications you’re likely to see on NYC buildings: Image courtesy of passiv.de Passivhaus / Passive House My favorite – and what I’ve written […]

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The Bridges of Manhattan County (and Beyond)

  New York City is home to more than 50 bridges – though we seldom think about them, they really are the lifeline of the city. King’s Bridge, New York’s first crossing, was built in 1693, over Spuyten Duyvil Creek between Manhattan and the Bronx. It was demolished in 1917, so High Bridge, built in 1848, is the longest-standing bridge in New York. Today, NYC bridges carry all types of traffic, including vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian, and subway traffic. Here are some profiles of the most interesting NYC’s bridges, along with a list of all […]

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Obama Announces Passive House Track with NY State Homes and Community Renewal

Several weeks ago, President Obama announced a plan to help bring renewable energy and energy efficiency to households across the US, including guaranteeing $1 billion in loans to individuals for green-energy projects. Among the initiatives announced in Obama’s new plan is the establishment of a Passive House track with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) to provide loans to developers that will help accelerate the trend toward construction of Passive House-certified multifamily buildings in the city. As I’ve written about previously, Passive House is an international building standard […]

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Q&A with Carlos Zapata, World Renowned Architectural Designer

Carlos Zapata is an architectural designer who grew up in Ecuador, received his Bachelor and Master of Architecture degrees in New York, and has designed innovative buildings all over the world. He recently won one of the 50 most innovative skyscrapers award from the Council on Tall Buildings for his work on the Bitexco Financial tower in Ho Chi Minh City, also named one of the 50 most iconic skyscrapers in the world by CNN Go. I spent years with Carlos working on getting Landmarks approval for what will one day […]

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Tadao Ando’s Condos at 152 Elizabeth Street

Sales have launched for two of the units at 152 Elizabeth Street, the “glass jewel box suspended in poured-in-place concrete” at the corner of Elizabeth and Delancey. The building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, and is Ando’s first standalone project in New York City. The exterior of 152 Elizabeth will feature concrete, galvanized steel, and glass – all materials Ando is known for working with. The entrance along Elizabeth Street will have a garden wall planted with vines, and residents will walk through a vestibule lined with […]

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Sustainable Farming for Veterans on the Heroic Food Farm in Claverack, NY

Up in the Hudson River Valley, 20 tranquil acres of farmland are about to take the shape of a military training ground—to teach veterans about sustainable farming and food entrepreneurship. This program, called Heroic Food Farm, has two aims: to help veterans and to help address the crisis in US farming. According to the US Labor Department, the unemployment rate for soldiers who have served since 2001 is more than 7 percent. As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, agricultural production in the US decreases by roughly 9.5 percent […]

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Sustainable Living in NYC: Bloomberg’s plaNYC and de Blasio’s OneNYC

You’re probably hearing the word “resilience” a lot lately. While the buzz is somewhat new, the concept isn’t. With roots in ecology science, the term arose to define the ability of systems to adapt or bounce back from shocks and setbacks—be it the environment or a niche ecosystem. Today, the concept has found prominence in wide-ranging disciplines from childhood development to city planning. As far as “future-proofing” cities to be resilient goes, NYC is ahead of the curve. In 2007, the Bloomberg administration introduced “PlaNYC,” a groundbreaking effort to address […]

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World Expo, Milan – Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life

The World Expo is currently taking place in Milan, Italy and the theme this year is, “Feeding the Planet, Energy For Life.” The theme is based on the need to develop sustainable lifestyles as they relate to the availability and consumption of food worldwide.  With over 1.3 billion tons of food being wasted each year, while 870 million people suffered from undernourishment between 2010-2012, the Universal Exposition has invited countries to, as the website says, “reflect upon, and seek solutions to, the contradictions of our world. From the very first […]

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The Barclays Center Green Roof Has Bloomed

It looks like the green roof on top of the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn has finally sprouted. The new structure not only provides a nice view for the neighborhood, its flowering plants, called sedum, will absorb rainwater and excess sound from the arena’s events.  There is some controversy regarding how “green” the roof actually is, since it isn’t being built on top of the actual Barclays Center roof, but rather on a 130,000 SF steel structure that was built specifically for the green roof.  A steel structure of this size, […]

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Sustainable Living in NYC: Eco-Friendly Flooring Options

I’ve mentioned on my blog recently that my wife and I purchased a beautiful 1930’s Victorian home in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, with the intention to retrofit it to passive house standards for more sustainable living.  If you have a similar desire to make your home more sustainable, the U.S. Green Building Council proposes that you look at the following  factors when building or remodeling: Energy savings Water efficiency CO2 emissions reduction Improved indoor environmental quality Stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. When it comes to flooring, there are a number of […]

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The Power of Wind for a Greener New York

The power of wind has been used for thousands of years to sail ships, pump water, and grind grain.  The evolution of windmills over the years has gone from pumping water in Persia in 500-900 AD, to the modern-day wind turbine, which creates enough electricity to power a city.  Those wind farms you see – out in the country, out in the ocean, out at Union College in Schenectady – convert wind power directly into pollution-free, renewable electricity that can be used anywhere powerlines reach.  Wind power has so many […]

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Feel Good Wearing These Fair Trade & Sustainable Clothing Lines

In recent years, consumers are becoming more aware of the moral and environmental implications of “fast fashion,” or mass-manufactured trendy clothing sold at chains such as H&M. It’s no secret that these “affordable” garments are meant to fall apart after just a few wears, and that unfair labor practices are used in the manufacturing process. If you’re looking to be kinder to your wallet, the environment, and laborers everywhere, here are some affordable, ethically-produced, and fashionable alternatives to fast fashion chains: Everlane Men’s and Women’s Apparel This San Francisco-based company […]

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