April 1, 2004The Cooperator, a Yale Robbins newspaper serving 3,300 New York City cooperatives and condominiums. Green Corner: Understanding Lighting The Good, the Bad and the Environmental By Joshua Radoff There’s nothing worse than bad lighting. Take an otherwise beautiful room and illuminate it with the wrong kind of light – whether too dim, too bright, too hot, too cold, too pale, or too bleak – and the mood, feeling, and livability of the space is ruined. And the worst of the bad-lighting culprits are the cold, bleak, buzzing, latter-generation fluorescents that make you feel like you’re trapped in some Soviet-era mental hospital, or the Matrix, or some other world that has forgotten its love for humanity. Read on at The Cooperator Web Site.
March 1, 2004The Cooperator, a Yale Robbins newspaper serving 3,300 New York City cooperatives and condominiums. Fumes and Formaldehyde Taking Steps to Detox Your Building By Joshua Radoff Everyone knows the air in New York isn’t the best stuff in the world to breathe. But what most people don’t know is that the indoor environment is often more polluted and toxic than the world outdoors. In fact, a recent EPA study found that the indoor concentrations of 20 toxic compounds can be as much as 200 times higher compared to the relatively pristine urban outdoors. So let’s start with a basic – and, hopefully, obvious – principle: If it’s poisonous, carcinogenic, triggers asthma, or wreaks havoc on your nervous system, you probably don’t want it in your building. Seems like common sense, right? And yet most of the products we use to build and maintain our buildings are portable Superfund sites, making their way Trojan Horse-like, into our common and living spaces. The good news for building owners and managers is that once you know what to look for, keeping the toxins out is a relatively easy thing to do. Read on at The Cooperator Web Site.
December 1, 2003Going Green to Save Green A New Wave of Residential Development By Debra A. Estock Solar powered panels dotting rooftops. Recycled waste water replenishing toilets. Geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling. Filtered fresh air into apartments. What’s next? Sheep grazing in the Sheep Meadow? Not necessarily, but thanks to some government tax incentives and a newfound environmental consciousness, several New York City area buildings from Harlem to Brooklyn are being built in an earth-friendly manner, and in some cases at less per square foot than traditional development. GreenHomeNYC, a volunteer non-profit organization that seeks to promote environmental awareness in the building community and supports environmentally-responsible building, recently conducted a daylong tour of residential buildings and public facilities currently under construction in New York City that would rival any contemporary home out in the wilds of Vermont. Keep reading “Going Green to Save Green: A New Wave of Residential Development” at The Cooperator
Painting the Town Green A Look at GreenHomeNYC By Mary K. Fons Did you know that every time you flush the toilet, you use around six gallons of water? Or that compact fluorescent light bulbs use nearly 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and cost far less, too? After the blackout of 2003, most newspapers and online magazines were inundated with energy saving tips and hints on how we could (and should) all be more energy-conscious. Even though it took a regional blackout to do it, a lot of New Yorkers began to actually read those tips and some of them even started to put some better habits into practice by shutting off running faucets, turning off lights when not in rooms, and so forth. But all the “drastic times call for drastic measures” actions that have been suggested, however crucial, are band-aid sized solutions to a much bigger problem: New York City, like so many other cities in the U.S., uses an astronomical amount of energy to stay running. Granted, it’s a big city in a country full of people with huge appetites for their appliances, which sit in their big kitchens, kept at their preferred temperature. It’s difficult to ask people to cut back the level of luxury that many of them are used to – even if installing a better light bulb would save them from a blackout. For years now, some people have suggested that perhaps the way to solve America’s energy problem is to address it before it gets to blackout proportions. Instead of making a building run more efficiently by shutting off the air conditioners whenever possible, we might think about building a cooler building. GreenHomeNYC is committed to making these square one changes accessible and feasible to the architects, contractors, building managers/owners, and any New York resident who wants to be involved in building a more sustainable, energy efficient home or business. The company is young (only over one year old), and there aren’t many people on the payroll yet. But GreenHomeNYC has accomplished quite a bit since they established themselves as a non-profit 501(c)3 company in 2002. Keep reading at The Cooperator