The way Brooklyn brownstones are currently renovated does not work. It does not work for the environment nor for the inhabitants’ comfort and utility bills.
Eco Brooklyn is focused on redefining how a brownstone gets renovated. We use the Brooklyn Green Show House as an example of a renovation template that works for the triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.
I think all contractors in Brooklyn need to change the template of how a brownstone is renovated. The current template does not work and we’re screwing ourselves and the planet each time we renovate like this.
Here are some basic outlines that Eco Brooklyn follows in our green brownstone renovations. It is a template and anyone can do it.
> Only renovate what you have to
> Only buy what you have to, salvage everything else
> Never buy new wood. Yup, seriously
> Lots of insulation, and then more insulation
> Excellent windows and not too many (even consider closing up north facing windows)
> Airtight, like obscenely airtight
> Controlled ventilation preferably to every room
> Most efficient lighting and appliances practical
> Direct largest proportion of modest window area to the south
> Add the lowest cost and lowest pollution heating source (eg that usually is not electricity but can be in some situations)
> Green roof if possible
> Gray water if possible
> No concrete in front or back yard
> Build It Forward, aka build for a hundred years
> Did I mention insulation?