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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
A few weeks ago the EPA held a webinar on the safe use of spray foam insulations titled “What You Need to Know About the Safe Use of Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF)”. We at Eco Brooklyn are not crazy about spray foam so we watched what the EPA had to say closely.
Their view in [...]
Here is a great powerpoint on how to blow in cellulose into a wall. There is a real trick to doing this. Your generic blower rented from Home Depot does not have the power needed to dense pack to 3.5 pounds per cubic foot. But there are ways to work around this.
Check out the [...]
Here is a great diagram of all the possible types of insulation, their R value and their environmental impacts. As green builders in Brooklyn we have specific needs. Doing a green renovation in a Brooklyn brownstone requires sound proofing in the walls and ceilings and lots of insulation that takes up little space on the [...]
The book Insulate and Weatherize is published by Taunton and is part of their Build Like a Pro Series – Expert Advice From Start to Finish. It is advanced weatherization and insulation techniques for a residential home in the North and Mid East United States.
This book, like all Build Like a Pro series, [...]
Here is an email from a fellow green builder, Keith Winston, on the cons of spray foam. No matter how great they are for sealing, they have too many drawbacks IMO. The same sealing can be done with good tape, vapor barriers and caulk.
His email: The foaming agents of small cans of foam (i.e. [...]
In my ongoing awakening, this week it was all about fiberglass. It made me realize that I. who considers myself an advanced Brooklyn green builder, have a lot to learn (May I never forget).
So here I am thinking that fiberglass is relatively harmless as long as you get out the Formaldehyde. Sure fiberglass is [...]
All costs based on R30 for one square foot.
Johns Manville Formaldehyde free fiberglass $0.60 Ultra Touch Cotton $1.57 Cocoon Cellulose $0.42 Spay Foam – $6.98
The spay foam is based on one inch thick costing $1.62 and having R7. Thus R30 is the crazy price of almost 7 bucks.
Clearly Cellulose is the winner. [...]
I am having a hard time finding studies for or against the health impact of fiberglass, specifically the little glass fibers in peoples’ lungs.
Here is a little conspiracy theory I am thinking up as I write:
The big companies that made asbestos told everyone it was safe. Then they all claimed bankruptcy when the [...]
When buying insulation for those tired Brooklyn and NY brownstones one of the big considerations is the embodied energy the insulation has.
The May/June issue of Home Energy Magazine has a great article where they discuss the various types of insulation.
In the article they lay out their findings on the embodied energy of the [...]
I went by a house renovation the other day. They were doing all sorts of fancy stuff – especially a super high end radiant floor heating installation. And then they were putting in 3 1/2 inch fiberglass insulation for the exterior walls.
From the perspective of a green brownstone builder that’s like ordering a really [...]
Spray foam insulation is good because it creates very good seals. You don’t have to worry about air leaks.
The one thing it has against it is that it is petroleum based. There is a company that sells itself as a green alternative because it uses soy based oils instead. Biobased is one such company.
We have a floor with a high ceiling which means we can lay the pex tubing on top of the subfloor instead of hanging the tubing beneath. The pex tubing takes up valuable space and you can only lay it on top of the subfloor if you have the ceiling height.
Having the tubing [...]
I had an in depth talk with the lead technician who makes Cel Pac, one of the cellulose insulation manufacturers. I was discussing with him the topic of dense packing cellulose so that it does not settle and leave air pockets in the top of the walls. They suggest packing it to 3.5 pounds per [...]
We are inserting the salvaged poly iso insulation board into the top floor ceiling of the house between the joists. All the joists have been sistered with “new” salvaged joists. You can see the bolts holding them together. We are packing four layers of poly iso board, making it an air tight R 36. The [...]
In the constant quest for a greener insulation I have considered many options. – Cellulose is good but messy and dusty. – Isonyne spray foam or Demilec spray foam is good but not that cheap and quite honestly not as green as they say. It takes huge amounts of energy and petroleum to create the [...]
Here are six things anyone can do to their home to make it greener. A “green home” means a lot of things. But it always includes energy efficiency. These simple things increase the efficiency of the home by attacking the most dramatic energy loss aspects of a house.
They are relatively cheap and simple steps [...]