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Preservation or Conservation: Building for the Past or the Future?

One could argue that the greenest buildings are the ones that last the longest- not only because of the material, but also design.

Borgund stave church, in Borgund, Lærdal, Norway, built in the 12th century

As with all things – buildings erode. From the 16th century half-timbered houses in Norway to the Chrysler building [...]

The Living Building Challenge- Winner of the 2012 Buckminster-Fuller Challenge

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, [...]

Occupy Wall Street

On 10/11/11 Eco Brooklyn, a green builder and supporter of a better America and world, went down to the Financial district to check out Occupy Wall Street. Nearly 30 days ago, a diverse group of citizens took to the street in NYC, and marched down to Zuccotti Park, formerly “Liberty Plaza Park”, placed in between [...]

Doing Things Differently

Green building is not mainstream. The systems and habits are not in place. Doing a green job is part construction part education part experimentation because once you start thinking off the grid there are very few reference points to guide you.

I had a plumber walk out of my job today before even giving a [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Costs of Recycling

Above Pic: “ugly” wood that I use for everything from studs to window frames.

Recycling is a great way to reuse materials and save money. It is important to keep in mind the extra costs of recycling.

If you get the materials for free, say from a salvage, that is a great starting point. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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.

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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 [...]

The Story Of Stuff – How we consume

Here are some great movies from the web site TheStoryOfStuff.com

Guess what percentage of the stuff that Americans buy is still around six months later? 1%!! The other 99% is already garbage according to the site.

These movies are useful for anyone in construction. What construction company doesn’t spend huge amounts of money on dumpsters [...]

Building Green isn’t expensive and is cheaper in the long run

A huge myth about green building is that it costs more. That was true in the past but not now. Building green today is the most cost effective thing to do.

According to a study by Sheila Muto, author of the article “The Public Sector Spurs Green’ Building,” Special to RealEstateJournal.com, July 16, 2003, she [...]

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 [...]