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 […]

The Maple Floor Fiasco

We found about 500sq.ft. of 5 inch wide maple plank flooring in a dumpster. It had a very slight warp to it due to it not being installed correctly. But with a little sanding we could get rid of that.

So we happily installed the flooring.

This pic shows the layers. First Pex […]

Sound Proofing and Heat Transfer Subfloor

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 […]

Adding Solar gain and recyclables to Facade

Above: Facade with planter and recycled joists.

Originally the top facade of the building had a lot of rotted wood. And there was a great view. So in the heat of the summer I tore down the wall and planned on adding a wall of glass. It would have been magnificent.

But then […]

Installing the concrete slab

We have a cellar half of the ceiling on the south side being open so that large amounts of light stream in and make a very nice living area.

First we dug out the cellar 3 1/2 feet:

While digging we found a giant stone which I decided to keep and put under the […]

Laying the foundation for the concrete slab

We have completely dug down the cellar by 3 and 1/2 feet. Then we put a vapour barrier and 3 inch insulation which we taped at the seams. Then we put down the salvaged fencing from the back yard to act as strengthener for the cement. On the fence we tied the pex tubing […]

Wood Flooring courtesy of Corcoran

Only in USA are dumpsters so full of wonderful stuff. And you can’t get fancier than a Corcoran dumpster. There is one in front of the Corcoran condos on President St in Carroll Gardens. I had the good luck to check them out today and found 1000 sq.ft. of once used wide plank maple […]

Soundproofing between floors

After some research we noticed that one of the most effective ways to reduce impact noise between floors was to put a recycled tyre product between the floor and sub floor. It creates a vibrating cushion that absorbs the impact, thus deadening the sound.

The only problem is that this product is costly. And costly […]

Fiberglass Windows

I paid a lot of money for fiberglass windows for the Brooklyn Green Show House.

Despite the cost, the fiberglass frame part I LOVE. I think this is the way to go. I really love them and once they are nicely painted and repaired I will be very happy with them. When it is cold […]

Lowering the Cellar Three Feet

In order to maximize the living space we decided to turn the cellar into a useable space. To do this we cut a 10×10 foot hole into the floor of the basement, which is only technically called the basement since it is a foot below grade. Practically it is the garden level. Once a hole […]

Inserting the Insulation Into the Roof Ceiling

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 […]

Ordering Radiant Heat Materials

There are a lot of radiant heat companies out there. The abundance can be confusing. We have found that certain stores offer the best of certain products.

Here is an example for an order form from one of our vendors:

Insulation Has Arrived!

Insulation from Eco Brooklyn Inc with Gennaro Brooks-Church

Green Building is like life: it is all about energy. How you control it, who has it, where it is flowing, and where it isn’t flowing. You control the energy and you have a great house (possibly a great life too).

So obviously insulation plays a […]

DOB Retards – the sidewalk fiasco

The Department of Buildings wants me to show the state of the sidewalk before and after the job so that they can determine if I have to redo it. To do this I had to get an architect’s survey which costs $3000. To redo the sidewalk would cost me $1000.

So I’m forced to […]

Salvaged Wood

At the beginning of this job I had to buy my salvaged wood from Fine Lumber in Williamsburg. But now that the local job sites know about my project I get most of my wood from them.

Here you see a nice selection of old cut prime wood. That’s my daughter.


Recycled Wood Floor

I have relationships with the contractors in the neighborhood. These oak floors were perfectly fine but the owner wanted to replace them with cherry wood floors. Instead of put them in the dump I got them.

The lower floors of a brownstone are dark so I like light floors to maximize the light.


Recycled Steel Studs

These studs were on their way to the dump until I intercepted the contractor and he let me take them..

I’m using them in the cellar where they will be in touch with the ground and where in the past there have been termite problems (thus no wood studs).


Fly Ash isn’t flying

On the 2nd street project we are doing a lot of underpinning and laying a concrete slab in the cellar. This requires a lot of concrete. Cement uses up a lot of energy to produce and creates a lot of CO2 Substituting up to 50% of the cement with fly ash is considered a more […]

We are working again!

Because my architect and I did not see eye to eye we had to part ways, which meant he had to pull his application with the DOB. That would have been fine if my new architect kept to his schedule. But he didn’t and I didn’t get new plans submitted to the DOB before the […]

Department of Building Nightmare

If you ever want to get that nice chaotic third world feeling then go hang out at the Department of Buildings. The Brooklyn one is good but the Manhattan one is even more insane.

It goes a little like this. Lets say you want a tracking number to pull a work permit. Simple enough.


Choosing Green Insulation – consider recycled foam board.

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 […]

I got the stupid bricks

I love old bricks. They have great character. I got these from a job site. The contractor couldn’t believe I wanted to take them. He was actually insulted and called the whole thing “stupid”.

It took me ten minutes to do. The bricks will cover a 100 square foot patio at 22 2nd street. No […]

The Hammer Test

I had a big argument with my architect because I wanted to use salvaged wood for part of the house and his mantra was: “If it is fixing something old you can use it but if you are building something new you need to use new wood.”

Fixing some broken joists in a floor is […]

Salvaged Wood Floors

I got some wood floors from a contractor friend. He is working for a customer who wants to get rid of perfectly good oak floors and replace them with cherry. God what a total waste! Waste of money, resources, forest etc. Waste helps keep the economy going…in a bad way.

Unfortunately I only got in […]

Got some steel joists

I found a building company that was throwing out some perfectly good steel studs. The studs were just sitting behind a building so I asked if I could take them.

They were like, “Why?” I was like, “Uh, to reuse them.” The were like, “But they are used.” “So? Are they damaged?” “No but […]

New Shipment of Salvaged wood

I have become friends with a contractor who is remodeling a house down the block. The owner is totally gutting the place. Unfortunately I didn’t hook up with them until they were half way done so didn’t get to salvage everything.

But we did salvage some good beams. They came out black but after some […]

EcoBrooklyn is Listed on the most popular RE blog in the world.

I am happy that my 22 2nd street building is the 1st highlighted green project on! As far as I know is the most popular real estate blog in the world, but my non-NY friend quickly pointed out, “You New Yorkers always think you are the center of the universe.”

Either way it […]

Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass as a building product has been around for years but there were some hindrances to using it in window frames. I don’t know the specifics of why but the hurdle has been overcome and more companies are making fiberglass windows.

I’ve called around and it is still very new. A lot of the sales […]

22 2nd Street

I am currently working on 22 2nd street. It is a gut job. It is also being featured on as a Green Project of note, although I have not had a chance to check it out.

Feel free to come by and see what we are doing, which is pretty much everything […]