Eco Brooklyn was recently commissioned to insulate a new development in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. As a specialist in insulation and air sealing we have seen an increase in business from the many new multi unit apartment buildings that have shot up – not during construction, but AFTER construction. As housing demand has continued [...]
Brooklyn is full of beautiful and historic houses, and Eco Brooklyn is doing their part to preserve these wonders through sustainable lead-based paint removal.
Historical Housing at Ditmas Park
People have been fascinated with lead since the Roman Empire, when tonnes of lead were produced for plumbing, construction pins, makeup, spermicides, and even lead based tonics [...]
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. [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
The book Handmade Houses, A Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design, by Richard Olsen is inspiration for any green builder.
With a clear focus on Big Sur homes Olsen highlights homes that were built along the same style as the Slow Food Movement, where meaning, lifestyle and experience are just as important as the finished “product”, that [...]
Ed from NJ Renewable Energy made a great video about the construction of his passive house that you can view below. It discusses the many benefits of building a Passive House, the amazing energy savings that are possible and the details behind how they built this specific one in New Jersey.
As a NY Passive [...]
Part of being a green contractor means studying emerging technologies offering more eco-benefits than conventional construction. In this case we’re looking at old technologies: the rammed earth wall, one of humanity’s oldest building techniques.
When it comes to walls, a couple of rammed-earth techniques are available as alternatives to your standard insulation-filled 2×4 frames:
The Earthship model uses [...]
Unable to sleep at 4am in New York I came accross this video of an abandoned town renovated by a small group of utopians. It is one of the most inspirational green building stories I have seen in a long time. So often green building is housed withing the capitalistic context where it is just another product to [...]
As New York green contractors, we’re always interested in emerging innovations, but take special interest in locally-developed technologies because we believe that green solutions should have a local focus. An effective way to build green is to ensure that each building make the best use of the environment in which it’s located.
In New York [...]
Most green contractors advertise their use of “sustainably sourced” wood, meaning the trees are harvested in a less destructive way. What “sustainably sourced” really means, though, can be a slippery slope. Maybe they cut down old-growth forest and plant a monoculture tree farm instead. Maybe they cut down a tree and donate a dollar to [...]
When you flush a toilet in America you have every expectation that whatever just went in there is going away forever, no questions asked.
So why would anyone want a toilet that takes your dirty business, stores it right where you put it, and hands it back to you again after a few months??
As New York green contractors we follow the latest developments in NY building codes very closely. Yesterday, the New York City Council enacted three proposals from the Urban Green Task Force. The new codes, effective July 1, 2012, mandate more stringent regulation of waste, recycling, and pollutant filtration, representing a step forward for green building.
New York green contractors and homeowners are applying a modern innovation to an age-old technology.
The body creates two types of waste, so the logical approach is a toilet capable of two types of flush: a gentle gurgle for liquid waste and a more generous gush for solid waste, resulting in water conservation through more [...]
At Eco Brooklyn, we do energy-efficiency retrofits that involve huge amounts of air sealing, air barriers, vapor barriers and insulation. We aim for the super stringent Passive House building envelope standard and net-zero energy consumption. This is as radical it gets in energy conservation. Sealing the home in an airtight shell requires a bit [...]
Green design is a broad term. In an attempt to narrow it down, we are looking at how green design and “universal design” or lifespan design are linked. First of all, you’re probably wondering what universal design means. Here are the seven principles that define universal design, according to North Carolina State University (check [...]
We use Citrus Solvent mixed into Tung oil to make a really great wood sealer. It works great on wood floors.
Citrus solvent is a “natural” substitute for the more toxic turpentine. Citrus solvent dilutes the Tung oil and allows it to seep deeper into the wood. The solvent also acts as a drying agent [...]
For me the green builder’s tedium is the boring non-VOC paint and I’m forever looking for more natural and interesting wall applications. The book Tadelakt – An Old Moroccan Plaster Technique Newly Discovered, by Michael Johannes Ochs and published by Norton, is one such source for alternatives to the bla of big company non-VOC paint.
Here is a great recipe for making milk paint from locally bought materials (as in your local supermarket and hardware store).
Milk Paint is an amazing alternative to store bought paint. It is much lower in energy since the ingredients require much less processing. It is also pretty much free of any harmful toxins. [...]
The book Good House Cheap House: Adventures in Creating an Extraordinary Home at an Everyday Price doesn’t set out to be about green building. It aims to show nicely designed and affordable homes.
But it ends up showing good green building as well.
The many case studies in the book show a pattern. Firstly all the [...]
Eco Brooklyn’s clients usually get a gray water system. And our clients tend to be natural minded anyway, with a healthy dose of liking to save money. Thus comes the interest in making your own laundry detergent.
Store bought laundry detergents are full of chemicals. In fact they are packed with fertilizer! Plants love laundry water that has [...]
A client of mine just came back from England raving about her friend’s natural paint company Annie Sloan.
Paint, a substance you put onto another surface, usually acts as protection and an aesthetic. Natural paint can be many things but needs to have the same basic elements: a binder, a base and optional color.
Brooklyn homes were originally built without insulation. We often come across a situation where we are doing a green renovation of a Brooklyn building but not gutting it completely. This creates an insulation problem. We want to add plenty of insulation but that is hard if you are working with existing exterior walls.
In this situation I [...]
Vermont Natural Coatings is one of the leading green wood finishes out there. Most of the time we mix oils and bases from staple ingredients like tung oil, linseed oil, whey pigments and citrus solvent, but sometime the situation calls for a more “conventional look”. This is when we might use Vermont Natural Coatings.
This is the season of phone calls from clients needing Eco Brooklyn’s help with their brownstone extensions. The problem is always the same: they are cold.
They call us up because we are Brooklyn brownstone insulation specialists.
Here are my observations having seen and fixed extensions for a while now.
There are two types of [...]
This book has a long title: Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods Earth Plaster * Straw Bale * Cordwood * Cob * Living Roofs. But then again it is a big book.
Written by Tim Callahan and Clarke Snell this book overflows with 600 pages and 1500 images. The book [...]