Here is a great image. It shows the true value of a Brooklyn brownstone green renovation.


This is something you can’t put a price to. It is like the credit card advertisement:

Insulation $10

Radiant floor $15

Fiberglass Windows $12

Watching your baby play naked while it snows outside: Priceless

This photo really shows the immediate value of doing a good energy efficient renovation of a brownstone. The cost to do it is not more that to do it badly.

You just need to put the money and attention in the right places. The floor is salvaged from a dumpster. The sheet rock and insulation is also salvaged. This allows more money for the radiant floor and Low E fiberglass frame windows.

We insulated the walls like crazy. It has around R 40 with a radiant barrier and air seal. The floors are R35 and the space below them is another apartment so it is warm down there anyway

The windows are good quality. They aren’t triple pane which would be ideal but they are still really good.

The room is not overheated but the heat is in the right place: near the floor. It keeps your feet warm and this moves up your whole body. It is much more effective than a warm room and cold floor. And it is right where my son likes it since he is barely two feet tall!

Another small element are the salvaged marble window sills. They suck up warmth from the sun, which comes through even if it is cloudy, and release it throughout the day and evening.

Warmth from a radiant floor is like no other warmth. A fireplace gives you that scalding on the face and cold back feeling. Forced air is useless. Baseboards don’t do much for the floor where it really matters. Radiant is just right, as Goldilocks would say.

Outside it is snowing and very cold. Inside it is a wonderfully comfortable warm. It is moments like these when I love being a green contractor in Brooklyn because it is so satisfying making these kinds of homes for people. Their quality of life is so drastically better for the same costs. In fact the costs are less once you factor in the life of the home. The heating bills for this kind of home are much less than a normal home.


And this is not theory. We did it in the Brooklyn Green Show House. We do it for clients. It is actually pretty amazing more people don’t do it. But that is changing.