A reporter just interviewed me on green building. I thought I’d share it here since the reporter has a pretty common viewpoint, one I believe is not correct.
What aspects home remodeling/room design are the most popular “green” solutions? Most clients know they want to renovate green but usually don’t know exactly what the details [...]
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. [...]
When was the last time you used a pay phone? For me, I think it was when I was in High School in the early 90s when I was stranded downtown. But since everyone, and I mean everyone, has a mobile phone now, pay phones are obsolete. In a way, I am saddened by [...]
The growth in sustainable and green living has given rise to a movement of eco-tourism in a variety of forms across the country. Specifically the use of salvaged materials is making a breakthrough in the realm of practical and/ or novel green construction.
Across the country salvaged building trends and communities are blossoming and their [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
Here are some interesting numbers from the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) on the environmental footprint of building three similar homes from three three different materials – wood, metal and concrete. I’m sure you can guess what their numbers show: that wood is the greenest option.
I don’t know whether their numbers are based in reality or [...]
Here is a short video we threw together of the Passive House renovation in Harlem. The video mostly discusses the budgeting of the project.
Now that the construction is for the most part done I think that our initial budget of $175/sq.ft is not sustainable. Of course it is great for the client in the [...]
Eco Brooklyn has partnered up with the NYC Materials Exchange Development Program, a great non-profit that keeps reusable materials out of the trash by connecting people with unwanted materials to others who can reuse them.
The NYCMEDP runs a number of ongoing service, outreach, and research programs. The NYC Waste Match, for example, is a [...]
Gennaro Brooks-Church, Director of EcoBrooklyn Inc, discusses the significant element of salvaging materials for use in the company’s green renovations. Currently we are wrapping up a full-renovation of a brownstone in Manhattan where we’ve been working hard to attain its stringent Passive House requirements.
Check out our video below, and feel free to leave us [...]
Check out this great article about our Eco Brooklyn’s Passive House in Harlem. GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, a great online source for building, designing, and remolding green homes, sent Richard Defendorf to our Harlem site to check out our work. Read his write-up of all the techniques we used to seal our passive house!
EcoBrooklyn Director Gennaro Brooks-Church, talks about the importance of salvaged materials which are crucial in helping achieve the company’s goal of zero or negative waste created and zero or negative new materials used. This is one of the main things that separates Eco Brooklyn from an ordinary NY contractor – finding floor joists, wood flooring, [...]
Eco Brooklyn’s business model is to salvage as much as possible. We believe this is the true definition of a NY green contractor in a city with such abundant and high quality trash. We recently salvaged what we thought was marble. We cut it down to make all the bathroom and kitchen counters for the [...]
A typical thing happened today in the life of Eco Brooklyn. One of our workers noticed a dumpster full of wood and called it in to the office. I dispatched our “Rescue Truck”, Eco Brooklyn’s veggie oil pickup, to go salvage the wood before it was carted off to the dump.
This wood has sat [...]
Here is a photo essay of how we salvaged some flooring and reused it. We bought 15,000 square feet of herring bone style mahogany flooring from an office building.
The flooring didn’t look too fancy laying in a big pile:
They had glued it down previously.
We then cut it to make [...]
We went by to check on a deck we built in Manhattan last year. It looks good! It was raining which made the deck glisten more.
We made it out of salvaged Douglass fir joists from an old building. We sanded them down and oiled them up with natural oils.
Check it out:
We just wrapped up a green roof job in East New York. Here is a photo essay from start to finish. We planted late in the year and the nights were already freezing. But we trusted the hardiness of sedum and so far they have shown to be very happy on the new roof.
The book Green from the Ground Up, Sustainable, Healthy, and Energy-Efficient Home Construction, offers everything its title promises, and yet that very same title shows how wrong the authors are. It is 330 pages full of intelligent “green” building techniques covering everything from efficient insulation techniques to natural ventilation.
The book is a fantastic overview of [...]
We did two jobs over the past week on wood floors. They started out really ugly. And they ended up amazing. We finished them with 100% pure tung oil so they are really natural.
The first job was to remove some paint that a previous owner, in their infinite and unfathomable intelligence, had painted over [...]
Here is a cool example of creative salvaging. They have taken planks from an old brownstone roof and flipped them upside down as a ceiling.
The one consideration is fire. This was done in a restaurant, which means it shares the ceiling with an apartment upstairs, which means the ceiling has to be 2 [...]
I just go a call from Joel Frank, one of the three members of the Rebuilder Source cooperative in the Bronx. They accept donations of building materials and resell them at good prices. The drive behind them is mostly idealistic: one of making the world a greener place by reusing materials.
He was just reaching [...]
Eco Brooklyn has one rule: we don’t buy new wood. We buy damaged wood, salvaged wood, unwanted wood, and overstock from other Brooklyn contractors. We collect it from dumpsters.
But we won’t buy new wood. Period.
It is the thorn in my carpenters’ side. When they are under pressure to perform (which is always), time [...]
We’ve been using PolyWhey Natural Wood Finish from Vermont Natural Coatings for a lot of our salvaged floors and we are very happy with their product.
First of all you can apply it in a closed room without barely any smell. It is really low VOC and the VOC that is present is not noxious [...]
Here you see the Eco Brooklyn team diligently salvaging some beat up old stairs in a Brooklyn Brownstone. Along the Eco Brooklyn credo we salvage anything we can. Buying new is our last resort.
But we keep in mind the cost. If it costs the same in materials and labor to salvage than buy [...]
At Eco Brooklyn we are always looking for ways to reduce, reuse or recycle. Here is a cool thing we just discovered today.
Because we refinish a lot of old wood floors, either subfloors or salvaged floors that others deemed too beaten up to keep, we do a lot of sanding.
We go through A [...]
Since we are in the salvage and reuse business for all our building we are always on the look out to get good salvaged stuff in the New York area. Here is a great place: the Habitat ReStores. It’s not exactly in the NY area but it is close. We’ve not had the opportunity to [...]
Our green building company in Brooklyn, NY, has a kindred soul in Huntsville, Texas. It is called Phoenix Commotion and is run by Dan Phillips.
I’ve read about him a couple times, most recently in the NY Times.
He builds for lower income people and his buildings are almost totally out of trash. Yet they [...]