We are earthship enthusiasts here at Eco Brooklyn, and are currently speaking with a client who wants to build an earthship in New York State. Here are some ideas being thrown around between Michael Reynolds, Eco Brooklyn, and the client, that we may be able to help turn into reality. The schematic of this global [...]
Here is a great film on planned obsolescence – the business model where a company deliberately makes products that don’t last, causing people to consume more. Clearly this is not sustainable. We’ve been doing it for just over 100 years and pretty much destroyed the planet in the process. Very worth watching.
As I continue to grow as a green builder I become more and more childish. Adults might make it sound fancy by calling it my “inner child” but for me it just feels childish. And I love it. Part of this awakening is that I have a four year old son through whose eyes I [...]
I got an email from Jetson Green today with the title “Factory-Built Homes Are the Future”. This is quite the statement. With few exceptions throughout history homes have been built on site by hand. The idea that a home is built in a factory with high tech machines and then plopped down on the site [...]
Eco Brooklyn recently completed a number of jobs in a building where there were children living. We renovated three children’s bedrooms, two bathrooms where they bathe, and two play areas. Doing this increased our focus on using non-toxic materials and building in a manner that created no dust.
A toxin free green building process should [...]
As a New York green builder, Eco Brooklyn is always interested in learning about what other sustainable design ideas are out there. Last night, I listened to an amazing TED talk that took green building to a whole new level.
Michael Pawlyn, formerly with Grimshaw Architects, London, spoke about biomimicry and sustainable design and [...]
For those of us who live in historic homes we know that our period dwellings bring us both joy and frustration. The frustration is largely attributed to the endless repairs that classic Brooklyn Brownstones require and their not so efficient envelope.
Eco Brooklyn has renovated many brownstones and knows first hand how challenging it can be [...]
Last week, the interns from Eco Brooklyn went to the Net Zero Symposium sponsored by Das Haus in White Plains, New York to hear lectures and view a model of Das Haus, a passivhaus model made from two shipping containers that functions completely off the grid. The conference was held at the White [...]
Last Tuesday the EcoBrooklyn interns attended the dasHAUS symposium and tour in White Plains, New York. The touring exhibition features the mobile dasHAUS pavilion, constructed of fully functioning sustainable energy technologies. The pavilion’s design is inspired by the Technical University of Darmstadt’s winning Solar Decathlon entries in 2007 and 2009. The tour, organized by the [...]
The Green Roof Professional (GRP) certification system was developed by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a not-for-profit industry association working to promote and develop the market for the green roofs throughout North America.
In addition to providing a professional accreditation program, the organization facilitates the exchange of information, supports research, and promotes the establishment of [...]
Brooklyn’s beautiful summer days coax us outdoors to converse and lounge in our parks, backyards, and porches. In the heat of the summer, water features are a welcome cooling sight and draw the abundance of people looking to maximize their free time. However, these same water features are also home to pesky mosquitoes, diminishing the [...]
In 1875, Fredrick Law Olmsted designed Riverside Park, in 1935 Robert Moses built a highway right thought, but somehow the park has prevailed and it now going to be home to one of the greenest structures in the city – a composting toilet.
Riverside Park is home to the cities only clay tennis courts, this [...]
The Earth Art, or Land Art, Movement was born in the late 1960′s in the United States in response to the over-commercialization of art and the rising trend towards environmentalism. Founders of the movement were disgruntled by the plasticity and artificiality of art. They wanted to get people out of museums and back into nature. They [...]
Recently a group approached Eco Brooklyn to help build a cool project involving shipping containers. The project is ambitious: three walls of containers arranged around a central triangular courtyard. The walls are six levels of shipping containers high totaling 84 shipping containers overall. This is a second attempt to get such a project going. Their first attempt – an eight [...]
Vertical gardens or living walls are a beautiful and efficient way to maximize green space within an urban context. Aesthetically, vertical gardens can be used to improve the façade of buildings while providing other ecosystem services such as enhanced air quality.
Perhaps first employed by the Mesopotamians to create the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the [...]
Green building and eco-sensitive design is currently at the forefront of our modern ethos. What this means for the green builders, contractors and architects of NY, and the world, is a period of dramatic change and challenge is ahead if not already begun. A change in the way we think about new buildings and construction, [...]
We at EcoBrooklyn engage in a number of exciting green building projects and experiments throughout the year, but with the hot months ahead at the top of our list is the natural pool for the show house and with its completion so close we can almost feel the cool, energetic, life infused water on our [...]
Last week students from the International Center of Photography came by to photograph the show house green roof and back garden. Here is what they came up with.
As green roof installers we are particularly in love with the green roof on the show house. It is where we do a lot [...]
12×12 is the maximum dimensions a shelter in North Carolina can be before it legally becomes a house, subject to property taxes. For this reason it is a hallowed number among the off-the-grid set, and the title of a popular book on one man’s foray into the world of tiny houses.
This stockbar by [...]
On June 7th, Van Alen Books hosted a panel discussion on architect David Bergman’s book Sustainable Design: A Critical Guide. Susan Szenasy, Editor-in-chief of Metropolitan Magazine, moderated the panel, which was made up of architect and professor David Bergman, Terreform ONE co-founder and Planetary ONE partner Mitchell Joachim, and NYC Department of Design and Construction [...]
For the past several jobs we have used salvaged mahogany flooring. We salvaged 15,000 square feet of it a while back. It is very pretty stuff. Here we are applying the tung oil to it.
We are applying two types of oil, simply because that is what we have left over from the previous [...]
In the last year or so cork has attracted more media attention than in the last 2,500 years of use. Beginning with the Egyptians, cork has been used as a stopper for vessels containing perishables like wine,
water, and olive oil. Since then the use of cork has expanded to use in flooring tiles, shoes, [...]
We have been experimenting a lot with self sustaining garden ponds lately. One thing is to build a pond that looks like a black bathtub with half dead plants and a goldfish, another thing is to create a diverse ecosystem that thrives.
The trick is to design it right. And they will come.
Earth bags are sacks, usually made of burlap or polypropylene, stuffed with natural materials like clay, sand, or dirt. They can be used to construct buildings as well as retaining walls, ponds and raised gardens.
First used by the military to create durable structures that are quick and easy to erect, the technique has become [...]
This weekend we get a special treat: we’ll be taking delivery of over 250 tropical plants and installing two indoor living walls. It’s the culminating step in a complete renovation of Area Yoga Studio in Downtown Brooklyn and promises to transform the character of the space.
Arranging and installing the plants presents lots [...]
Google Sketchup is an architectural design tool. As a New York design/build firm we use it to show clients 3D renderings of our jobs. We’ve used it for all sorts of things – decks made out of salvaged glass sheets, natural pools, salvaged kitchen cabinet layouts, store layouts, green roofs, buildings…you name it.
Sketchup has some [...]
Spring gardening is upon us and as a New York soil remediation company we are getting a lot of calls from clients wanting to remove lead contaminated soil from their back yards. We just finished a job last week.
The clients had a beautiful garden in the back yard of their brownstone in Bedford Stuyvesant. [...]
I read the book Design Revolution, 100 Products That Empower People by Emily Pilloton to see if any of the designs could apply to a New York green contractor.
The book is organized into eight sections:
There were plenty of great ideas that could be applied to a [...]
The book Japan Style – architecture + interiors + design, by Geeta Mehta and Kimie Tada contains lush photographs by Noboru Murata and is an inspiring insight into how traditional Japanese buildings are deeply green.
Green building is a symbiosis of many levels that forms a harmonious whole, and architecture in older societies like Japan [...]
A Little Book of Coincidence of the Solar System by John Martineau is one of those beauties of the universe that in one hour can make you realize how perfectly placed everything is, that everything is in perfect harmony with everything else and that there are wondrous mysteries to life that maybe we will never know.