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 clients know they want to renovate green but usually don’t know exactly what the details [...]
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 I think I can teach them.
Leave your surroundings cleaner than when you arrived…..
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 novel green construction.
Across the country salvaged building trends and communities are blossoming and their [...]
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 quality.
Perhaps first employed by the Mesopotamians to create the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the [...]
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 book on one man’s foray into the world of tiny houses.
This stockbar by [...]
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 oil. Since then the use of cork has expanded to use in flooring tiles, shoes, [...]
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 took his love for kid forts and turned it into a deep study of how [...]
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 of ongoing service, outreach, and research programs. The NYC Waste Match, for example, is a [...]
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 monoculture tree farm instead. Maybe they cut down a tree and donate a dollar to [...]
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 other a NY Passive House.
Earthship building is best for non-urban parts of the world. [...]
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 some paint that a previous owner, in their infinite and unfathomable intelligence, had painted over [...]
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 critical in selecting or designing a driver circuit. Drivers should be current-regulated (deliver a consistent [...]
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 is getting reamed with prices IMO.
A couple weeks ago there was a dumpster full [...]
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 put them onto strips that we had attached to the wall. This way [...]
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 knocked down the whole building.
There were thousands of perfect bricks. The next [...]
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 [...]
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 to the dump or once used.
Here are some of the things we have [...]
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 community of people who salvage old slate from homes. They have merged into [...]
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 [...]