Blog Archives

Upcycled Shipping Container: Windows

Sustainable architecture and passive building designs are swiftly increasing in popularity and as a NY green contractor we have been busy developing creative and sustainable structures in Brooklyn, NY. Our current project is a two story studio and office space

Posted in Design, Energy, Green, Recycled, Salvaged Tagged with: , , ,

Green Building is not a product

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

Posted in All Posts, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Salvaged, triple bottom line Tagged with: ,

Leave Your Surroundings Cleaner Than When You Arrived

When I first started mentoring interns one of the first things I told them was that they always had to leave their work area cleaner than when they came to it. Over time this metaphor became the most powerful thing

Posted in All Posts, Build It Forward, City Planning, Education, Ethics, Gowanus Canal, Sustainability Tagged with: , ,

Fun Built with Salvaged Material

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

Posted in All Posts, Build It Forward, DIY, Eco Brooklyn, Education, Energy, Ethics, Philosophy, Politics, Recycled, salvage, Salvaged Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Vertical Gardens

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

Posted in Brooklyn, Build It Forward, Design, DIY, Eco Brooklyn, Garden, Gray Water, Green, Green Roof, salvage, Salvaged Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Demolished Buildings Get a Second Life as Contemporary Furniture

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

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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

Posted in All Posts, Cork, Design, portugal, Salvaged Tagged with: , ,

Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here

The book Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here is a cross between Malcolm Wells and redneck literature. The author, Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, is a scrappy young guy who

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Material Reuse with the NYCMEDP

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

Posted in All Posts, Philosophy, Press, Recycled, Salvaged Tagged with: , , ,

New Lives for Old Wood

Most green contractors advertise their use of “sustainably sourced” wood, meaning the trees are harvested in a less destructive way.  What “sustainably sourced” really means, though, can be a slippery slope.  Maybe they cut down old-growth forest and plant a

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Earthship and Passive House

The two best building systems I know of right now are the Earthship and Passive House methods. Right now Eco Brooklyn is lucky enough to be involved in two jobs that involve both systems, one a NY earthship and the

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Brooklyn Wood Floor Revival

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

Posted in All Posts, Build It Forward, Design, Salvaged, triple bottom line Tagged with: , ,

LED drivers

An LED driver is a self-contained power supply that has outputs matched to the electrical characteristics of your LED or array of LEDs. There are currently no industry standards, so understanding the electrical characteristics of your LED or array is

Posted in All Posts, Design, Energy, LED, Recycled, Salvaged Tagged with: , ,

Example of How NOT to build Green

There is a gut renovation going on accross the street from our green show house. It is a classic renovation where a lot of money is being spent and not much thought going into how it is done. The owner

Posted in All Posts, Finance, Salvaged Tagged with: ,

Recycling Wood Joists for Siding

We wanted some siding for a wall we built. So we used some 100 year old joists. We took the joists and cut them into long strips. Then we sealed them on both sides so they don’t warp. Then we

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Bricks, Bricks Everywhere

One thing brownstones have in abundance are bricks. And I keep seeing dumpsters full of them. It is heartbreaking for me. These are beautiful bricks, a hundred years old, with character and texture. Here is one job site where they

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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.

Posted in All Posts, Radiant Heating, Salvaged Tagged with: , ,

Things We Salvage

Dumpsters, Job Sites, Garbage Night Streets, Damaged Store Stock, Craigslist, Neighbours, Salvage stores, Ebay, our building… these are some of the places we get our materials from. The rules are simple: it needs to be dangerously close to being sent

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Salvaging Slate

We needed some slate to repair an existing slate wall on the top of the green show house. One consideration was using a slate look alike that is made from recycled materials. But then I discovered there is a thriving

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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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