Blog Archives

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

Posted in All Posts, Brooklyn, Design Tagged with: , ,

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

Posted in Build It Forward, City Planning, Design, Eco Brooklyn, Education, Energy, Ethics, Finance, Gray Water, Green, House, LEED, Passive House, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Projects, Real Estate, Recycled, Solar, Sustainability, Technology, triple bottom line, water Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Posted in All Posts, Ethics, Finance, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Recycled Tagged with: , ,

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

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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

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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

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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

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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,

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Insulation Has Arrived!

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The Story Of Stuff – How we consume

Here are some great movies from the web site 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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