February 8, 2012

Via Verde — A new model for green, affordable housing?

Via Verde is a new mixed income, mixed use residential project in the South Bronx. It’s name, Spanish for “the green way” captures the ethos of its design and the philosophy being handed over to residents, moving in this winter. At the heart of the project is a dynamic garden and series of green roofs that serve as the organizing architectural element and identity for the community. As the building steps up from 3-story townhouses at the south to a 20-story tower at the north, there are a series of green roofs and south facing solar panels. The facade features aluminum, cement, and wood panels with panoramic windows, sunshades, and courtyard balconies. Developed by Phipps Houses and Jonathan Rose Companies with Dattner Architects and Grimshaw, Via Verde was the winning response to the New Housing New York (NHNY) Legacy Competition sponsored by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY). It isn’t hard to see why only 30 units are left to be sold. If you weren’t convinced by the rooftop orchards, the in-unit washers and dryers, ceiling fans or lower utility bills, perhaps the price will move you: two bedrooms start at $146,000 — which works out to less than $1,600 per month in monthly costs. To apply for a unit, income restrictions do apply, see the application section of the Via Verde website. Also: look for a GreenHomeNYC tour later this year of Via Verde!
A rendering of green mixed income mixed use project in the South Bronx

A rendering of the green mixed income, mixed use project in the South Bronx.

February 2, 2012

LESEC Warehouse Opens in Gowanus

Starting January 31, 2012, the Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC) is making responsible disposal of working and non-working electronic devices easier than ever before! Bring your unwanted electronics to LESEC’s brand new permanent e-waste collection center at 469 President Street (at Nevins Street) in Gowanus. The following working and non-working electronics can be dropped off for free by residents, small businesses (under 50 employees) and non-for-profits: computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, phones, audio/visual equipment, video games, cell phones and PDAs. All collected materials will be responsibly recycled or reused. (more…)

January 26, 2012

Oil Prices Raise Appeal of Natural Gas

GreenHomeNYC board member, F.L. Andrew Padian, is featured in the following SmartMoney article discussing simple steps to take to improve the energy efficiency of your home before considering a switch from heating oil to natural gas. The European Union’s decision today to an embargo on Iranian oil sent crude prices soaring, and forecasts say they’ll continue to rise. Natural gas prices, however, are projected to remain low. For homeowners who use heating oil, the growing gap between oil and natural gas prices may make switching more attractive – but experts say homeowners should take some other simple steps first. Milder weather is protecting households from some of the impact of rising heating oil prices, but natural gas users are still better off, experts say. Read the entire article at: SmartMoney

January 17, 2012

In the News: New Deutsche Bank Report Unlocks Potential For Investment In Energy Efficiency

Study Represents the Most Comprehensive Analysis of Financial Impacts of Building Retrofits in New York City Multifamily Housing; Additional Support from Living Cities to Activate Findings Deutsche Bank announced the results of a new study that sets the foundation for what could be an unprecedented change in multifamily lending: the ability to incorporate energy savings projections into underwriting practices. The innovative approach would allow for larger loans to multifamily owners, increasing the availability of capital required to unlock billions of dollars of energy savings potential in the nation’s multifamily building stock. The report, “Recognizing the Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Multifamily Underwriting,” is a comprehensive analysis of energy efficiency retrofits of affordable multifamily housing in New York City. The report is now accessible via the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation’s website.

January 7, 2012

2011 Policy Round Up

Just before the end of the year the federal government, NYC Department of City Planning, and the City Council all took big steps in helping buildings to go green. First, the New York City Council passed three more bills from the Green Codes Task Force: Int. 592 – Requires new mechanical ventilation systems to better filter pollutants utilizing a MERV 11 rated filter or better Int. 576 – Disallows concrete mixer trucks to rinse at construction sites, which leads to runoff entering streets and stormwater drains Int. 578 – Requires at least 30% recycled asphalt in new streets and other building applications, or 10% in heavy-duty applications. Of course, more information is available from the Urban Green Council who spearheaded this initiative. The NYC DCP has initiated another major shift in City Policy, one that highlights NYC’s leadership on a national scale: the “Zone Green” proposal would remove zoning obstacles that can inhibit the building and retrofitting of energy efficient buildings.  These changes would permit better insulation, enable installation of solar panels and sun control devices, and allow for more rooftop features that benefit energy performance.  A series of FAQs are also available. Finally, the White House announced $4 billion in federal and private funding for upgrades to buildings as part of the Better Buildings Challenge.  These investments are aimed at organizations and firms around the country, and a skim of the groups involved ensures that some of this money will reach NYC.

November 5, 2011

Big International Green Projects

Join us on November 16th from 6-8 PM at NYC ACRE for a presentation and discussion with our experts on international and large institutional green projects. Albert Wei and Tiffany Broyles Yost, both of KPF will be discussing a variety of green projects including Langfang IDP/new Beijing airport aerotropolis, BSD City (satellite city in Jakarta) and Meixi Lake. Wei will talk about sustainable planning projects, while Tiffany will discuss KFP’s green building strategies for some of their signature high-rise building; she has worked on some of the world’s tallest buildings. And, Peter Syrett from Perkins+Will will present on his firm’s innovative projects in institutional building, namely healthcare and K-12 schools. Highlighting why in these particular industries we have to design from the molecular level, to understand how everything is linked and can affect the evolution of building in general. (more…)

August 3, 2011

Bring Poop to the Block Party — Donate on ioby!

This October 1, GreenHomeNYC is bringing The NEW New York Green Block Party to Williamsburg. Last year in Gowanus we had many great local community groups join us. This year we hope to bring even more but we need some help to do so. Some of the organizations we are excited about bringing can’t afford our $175 vendor fee. This is where you come in: donate on our project page on ioby.org! We have selected 6 totally rad groups and need to raise just over $1,000 so they can all participate. The orgs are: – Borough Bees (beekeeping! honey!) – Adopt-a-Farmbox (builds farmbeds for local schools and communities to grow fruit in the city) – Sustainable Flatbush (promotes innovative energy practices and streets that prioritize people over cars) – The Center for Health, Environment & Justice (mentors for environmental justice school by school, neighborhood by neighborhood) – Bio Bus (an old schoolbus retrofit with cutting edge green technologies to educate kids) – And last but not least: The Poop Project (advocates against dumping sewage into rivers, lakes and streams, and to talking about poop) If you don’t know ioby, which stands for “in our back yard”, they are a microfinance website for community environmental action in NYC. They help groups and individuals raise donations for discrete projects. Any amount from a couple of bucks to thousands of dollars can be donated. Helen Ho and Erin Barnes from ioby have been participating on the steering committee for The NEW New York — we are really excited about working with them! Thanks ioby!

July 13, 2011

re-think: sustainable furniture design competition

GreenHomeNYC is searching for environmentally conscious design students to create sustainable furniture for the garden lounge space at this fall’s The NEW New York Green Block Party. Ten selected finalists will have access to free, reclaimed materials donated by Film Biz Recycling and Build It Green, a jury of recognized architects and designers to offer creative support, and press coverage through our blog which will follow the work of the finalists. To submit, send an 11×17 pdf with concept sketches of a design that you believe expresses yoru aesthetic and construction abilities to [email protected] with “Lounge Design Challenge” as the subject. The design can be of a wide range of furniture/environmental objects such as benches, tables, textiles, planters, screens, shade coverings and more. Indicate the materials that you envision using. Selected winners will have the opportunity to revise the design and materials after selection, workign with GreenHomeNYC’s team and the panel of judges to realize variations of the original idea. Submissions due: 8/22/11 Winners announced: 8/29/11 Exhibition: 10/01/11 For more info: greendesignchallenge.tumblr.com

June 5, 2011

Green Block Party – Calling all vendors

Test Drive Your Green City! GreenHomeNYC is calling for new and returning vendors to join the second annual The New New York Block Party, this year in Williamburg. We expect over 3,000 visitors, 70 vendors and dozens of coordinated activities such as nearby green building tours and a student design competition. In addition to participating in the event on October 1st, vendors will be promoted in The New New York promotional materials including website, press releases, and more. Last year we were covered by a broad array of media including CNN, Inhabitat, The New York Daily News, The Brooklyn Eagle, and ReadyMade. The New New York Green Block Party is unlike any other outdoor event. – We endeavor to include as many neighborhood and NYC-based businesses and organizations as possible. – We require vendors to have an interactive display or activity to engage and educate attendees. This is not a convention show, it’s a party! – We will be implementing GreenHomeNYC’s green street festival guidelines to minimize trash, encourage composting and recycling, and leave no footprint behind. All vendors will need to participate in making the guidelines work — we’ll help you figure out how. (More details in application form.) – Our mission is to provide creative organizations and companies with the platform to demonstrate their techniques, teach visitors about meaningful ways to green their lives, and/or sell sustainable products. When Saturday, October 1, 2011, all day Where N11th Street Between Berry and Wythe, Brooklyn / Bedford L stop Across from Brooklyn Brewery How Be a part of this paradigm-shifting event that will involve New Yorkers to TAKE ACTION for a truly greener New York City! We are looking for vendors/exhibitors who have a commitment to green as evidenced by their programming or products. Special consideration will be given to vendors/exhibitors who can provide hands-on demonstrations alongside the promotion of their programming or products. In the past we have had success with a vendor who sold composting kits and brought compost in various stages of decomposition for people to touch and smell. A non-profit farm-to-school vendor plated up examples of the traditional versus farm school lunch. Be creative! To apply/for more info: TNNY application

May 13, 2011

Resources for Greening Houses of Worship

GreenHomeNYC got a request recently from Brooklynite Adrienne Teleki to help her find information and resources about greening houses of worship. The board and Partners in Practice Advisory Board sent some ideas her way, and Adrienne very kindly summarized them to share with you, our blog readers. Read her note after the jump! (more…)