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Let Children Play With Fire

I once heard a study of two groups of animals, one group were in barren cages, the other group were in the wild. Guess which group had more developed brains: the wild animals. Guess which group lived longer: the caged animals.

This confirms the old saying, if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger. [...]

ALTERNATIVES TO THE “GREAT” AMERICAN LAWN

Here is a great article by the folks at Sasaki, a design company that does mostly large projects, about cool alternatives to the dead zone some people call a lawn.

The article offers great resources and info on where to get and how to make a more ecological lawn. We all love an open green [...]

Best Urban Space Remodels: Our Instagram Claim to Fame

In the spirit of awards season, we’re pleased to announce that our green building Instagram account has been awarded an Instagrammy! Improvement Center evaluated the top ten home contractors to follow and we’ve been recognized for having the best urban space remodels.

Our feed features images from our Manhattan and Brooklyn ecological construction projects including [...]

Natural Mosquito Control

Summer might not be just around the corner, but once gardens are in full bloom safe insect and pest control will become a necessity. As a NY green contractor that specializes in green roofs and gardens it’s part of our job to ensure that the spaces we create can be enjoyed to their fullest potential.

[...]

Removing Lead From New York Gardens

Here are two articles relevant to lead remediation in New York garden soil. Eco Brooklyn gets a lot of calls from clients with a child on the way and a recently purchased house. They intelligently tested the soil in the garden to be sure it is safe for toddlers and to their dismay they often [...]

Snake Propagation Brooklyn Style

We are building a native habitat at the Eco Brooklyn show house, inspired by the Mannahatta Project – what NY was like in the 1600’s before white settlers. The ecosystems on the property are full of native plants, animals and layouts. This week we went upstate and collected two Garter snakes. We hope the trauma [...]

Adverse Effects on Children’s Health From Soil Lead Contamination

An article about the adverse effects of soil lead contamination on children’s health was recently published on WNYC. As a green builder involved in garden soil lead remediation this was very interesting to us.

Perhaps it is the spring weather driving children outdoors in droves, but Eco Brooklyn has been receiving a number of inquiries [...]

Chemical vs. Natural Swimming Pools

Natural swimming pools or living spas are much more common throughout Europe, but are increasingly becoming more popular in the United States. Now that the spring weather is beginning to surface, it’s time for Eco Brooklyn to open up our Natural Pool for the swimming season. We use it as a showcase pool for clients [...]

DIY Indoor Vermiculture Composting

Happy Plants in Vermiculture Soil

If you are a fan of living sustainably you have most likely felt the urge to reduce your waste and begin composting. But living in New York City often leaves residents without much outdoor space. A large part of Green Building in Brooklyn involves meshing innovative techniques with salvaged materials, which is why do-it-yourself composting [...]

Plant Some Shit

New York Green Contractor is Childish

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 [...]

Permaculture Tour this Sunday 03/10/13 @ 11:30 am

Eco Brooklyn will be hosting a Permaculture tour of at least 30 people this Sunday. It is open to all who are interested in touring the Eco Brooklyn Show House and learning about permaculture.

Location: 22 2nd Street Brooklyn, NY 11231

Time: 03/10/2013 @ 11:30

No RSVP required, just show up.

Permawhat?

Permaculture is a [...]

Heavy Metals in Brooklyn, Not as Safe as Rock & Roll.

Eco Brooklyn is gearing up for it Spring Soil Remediation Projects. A potential client has sent us their Soil Testing Report and it was time to refresh our knowledge on key components of soil contamination and remediation.

Backyard Soil Contamination

Soil Sample Report

The level of contamination in their report will require root [...]

Alternative solutions to lead contamination

Brooklyn prides itself in its historic buildings, but these same sites pose an often unknown toxicity risk to inhabitants. Although the use of lead products was outlawed decades ago – lead-based paints were taken off the market in 1978 and leaded gasoline was banned in 1989 – lead’s legacy continues to taint Brooklyn’ s soils. [...]

Biomimicry and the Eden Project

The eden project biomimicry

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 [...]

Natural Fungus Gnat treatments

As a green builder, EcoBrooklyn is a green wall installer. Recently we designed and installed two green walls in the Area Yoga studio on Montague St. in Brooklyn, one in the entry office and one in the studio itself. The luscious plants beautifully enhance the serene and calming vibe of the space and allow for [...]

Why Should I Use Native Plants?

A significant aspect of green building and living sustainably is using vernacular materials and buying locally. Being green also means being a locavaore, eating and buying foods grown locally. But what about the vegetation we choose to plant in our gardens? We may choose a particular plant because of aesthetics, how well it will grow [...]

How to Maintain a Green Roof

As a green roof installer we have learned that it is crucial to keep in touch with the client for the first couple years to make sure the roof is cared for correctly.

There are some simple tasks that are important to do during the first two seasons so that the roof develops.

Green Roofs, [...]

We Love Motherplants

brooklyn landscape design

MotherPlants is a nursery in Ithaca, NY that specializes in growing plants for green roofs. MotherPlants is a women-owned company, committed to environmental sustainability. They use renewable energy, healthy growing practices, and dedicate a large portion of their land for wildlife.

These woman do green roofs right. They focus on plants that are drought [...]

Natural Mosquito Repellent

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 [...]

Biophilia in Brooklyn

ny green builder

As I was walking to the subway after work today, I passed a man who was leaving a few belongings on the sidewalk in front of his house. He is moving to DC tomorrow and, instead of just throwing the stuff away he couldn’t bring with him, he was leaving it out for passerbys to [...]

DIY Vertical Gardens

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 [...]

Bioswale Basics

Do you ever think about where all that water goes when it rains?

In a natural system, most rainwater gets absorbed in the ground where it falls. It gradually flows, or percolates, through the soil until it reaches the water table (the point in which an underground area is saturated with water.) As the water [...]

Natural Pools

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 [...]

How Our Soul Connects to the Earth

I spent the day in the Eco Brooklyn garden with seven interns today hauling salvaged blue stone around and working on the natural swimming pool. Typically we are working around the pool so they have their shoes off.

Adding the final touches to the natural swimming pool

But today I had them wear shoes [...]

International Center of Photography Pics

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.

Our Favorite:

As green roof installers we are particularly in love with the green roof on the show house. It is where we do a lot [...]

Eating With The Seasons

One of the things we have realized is that if you build a green home but the inhabitants are not green you have lost half the benefit. As a New York green contractor we learned that educating ourselves and our clients in green lifestyle habits is an important part of the green building process.

One [...]

Honeybees Drinking Water

I built a natural pond and stream in my Brooklyn front yard, inspired by the images from the book Mannahatta of New York in the 1600’s. On my roof I have a bee hive. My friends from the roof come to the border of the pond to drink off a patch of moss. Check the [...]

Review: Anthony Archer-Wills, Water Garden Designer

NY Sustainable construction

Anthony Archer-Wills is a world class water garden designer who has built over 2,000 ponds, water gardens, waterfalls, and streams across the globe.

He has several books out, among them The Water Gardener and Designing Water gardens: A Unique Approach.

Gennaro Brooks-Church, Eco Brooklyn’s Director, had the opportunity to take a course with him [...]

Earth Bags And Their Urban Gardening Applications

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 [...]