January 27, 2018Have you ever wondered what happens to the water you use after washing the dishes, taking a shower, or flushing the toilet? GreenHomeNYC visited the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to learn how the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sustainably handles wastewater treatment. Our tour was led by LaToya Anderson, the Science and Environmental Protection Educator for the NYC DEP. As the largest of NYC’s 14 wastewater treatment facilities, Newtown Creek handles an impressive 310 million gallons of wastewater every day, and up to 620 million on a rainy day. As we approached the site, the first thing we noticed were the glistening, futuristic digester “eggs”. Since 2010, these alien-esque digesters have become an iconic piece of the Brooklyn cityscape, especially when illuminated with bright blue LEDs in the evening. Anaerobic Digestion Inside the digesters, a biological process called “anaerobic digestion” takes place. Bacteria breaks down “sludge”, the organic material removed from our sewage. For this process to take place, the digesters are kept at 98°F and are completely sealed to create an oxygen-free environment. In total, these digesters can hold 24 million gallons of sludge at any given time. (more…)
November 28, 2017
It’s been five years since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, leaving a trail of destruction in the New York area. During the “Building Towards Resilience” Green Building Tours event, Henry Gifford of Chris Benedict R.A., led a tour through 327 and 334 East 8th Street – two Lower East Side buildings that were affected by the hurricane – providing a firsthand look at renovations that were made in the aftermath of the natural disaster.
The tour began in the noisy basement of 334 East 8th Street, with a description of the damage after Hurricane Sandy, including the conditions that the workers had to endure. The elevator in this building is not counteracted by weights to lift the elevator car, but instead uses oil mixed with other chemicals in a hydraulic elevator machine. As the water rose to about six feet above the basement floor, the oil and chemicals mixed with the flood waters, creating a hazardous condition for workers. The slippery mix of oil, water and sewage caused the superintendant to get a foot infection that landed him in the hospital for three days.(more…)
May 30, 2017Anyone following the climate change debate is acutely aware of a few facts – the rising temperature of our earth, melting glaciers around the world, the lack of urgency to take action on the part of most world leaders, and last but not the least, the alarming depletion of water resources. According to the United Nations, “Water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. It is estimated that 783 million people do not have access to clean water and over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge.” But people who know these facts also know that we can still solve our climate change problems, and that in most cases, it’s not a matter of scarcity but a matter of good management. According to the World Water Council, “there is a water crisis today. But the crisis is not about having too little water to satisfy our needs. It is a crisis of managing water so badly that billions of people – and the environment – suffer badly.” (more…)
February 25, 2017(more…)
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December 1, 2016The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association held their annual Building Energy NYC conference on November 3, bringing together leaders in energy, building maintenance, real estate, policy, product, and new technologies. Many topics were discussed, but three of the main takeaways were long term planning, regional-district planning, and enhanced resiliency for the city of New York. In a talk by Jenna Tatum, Kate Gouin, Benjamin Mandel and John Lee from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the focus was on 80×50, the de Blasio administration’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions 80% from 2005 levels by 2050 (80×50). NYC’s Sustainability 80X50 plan states, “It is the level the UN projects is necessary to avert the most disastrous impacts of climate change.” The plan is essentially a roadmap that is broken into four areas of focus: Buildings, Energy Supply, Waste, and Transportation, with comprehensive reporting and modeling done for each category. Following are the four main takeaways of the plan’s goals in each sector. (more…)
January 28, 2016
Water is a central aspect of all of our lives, and yet the complexities we face with managing it in a city of nearly 8.5 million people, often fly under the radar. Constantly supplying it, managing demand, keeping it clean, protecting ourselves from it (i.e. sewage, storms, sea level rise, etc), using it more efficiently and also teaching people about it, are all critically important to keeping such a massive city running. At a time where one American city is facing a major health crisis due to water contamination, we want to examine what is being done in our own city to keep us healthy and safe, and what we can do to support that. For our February Forum, we will hear about how the City of New York manages water in the present and the plans being pursued for the future.
Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 Time: 6:30-8:00pm Place: Hafele America Co., 25 East 26th Street, New York, NY 10010
To speak on this topic we are bringing in:
Vlada Kenniff, Managing Director of the Demand Management and Resiliency group in the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. She manages a portfolio of sustainability and resiliency projects that cover a Water Demand Management Program, Climate Resiliency Program, and Green Infrastructure Projects. In the last five years with the agency, Vlada worked on the Sustainable Storm Water Management Plan, Managed the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, and the Water Demand Management Plan
Michele Moore, Senior Advisor to the VP of Disaster Recovery at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). She oversees over $3 billion in disaster recovery funds to repair and protect from future storms, over 33 NYCHA developments severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Looking at these 33 developments as campuses, Michele is part of a team working to change the way water is managed on these sites through NYCHA’s Stormwater Management Through Placemaking Initiative. Recently NYCHA was awarded funding for this initiative for our Sandy damaged developments on the Lower East Side of Manhattan through the National Disaster Resiliency Competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.