This past Saturday I toured the Brooklyn Army Terminal located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn via OpenhouseNewYork and Turnstile Tours. Usually closed to the public due to it being an industrial manufacturing building, Saturday we got to see some of the inside and it was fantastic!
BAT was designed by Cass Gilbert in 1918 and built by Turner Construction. It served as one of the largest military supply bases through WW ll, it was considered a inter-modal shipping port. At the time it had warehouses, offices, piers, docks, rail sidings, cranes and cargo loading equipment. You can still see some of the rail tracks inside and also the atrium actually has 2 black lines built into the floor to show where the original tracks came into the building. The interior central loading space houses a couple of 5-ton traveling cranes with bays for easy movement of goods. Also, when it was built, it was the largest reinforced concrete construction and still remains in good shape!
Back in the late 60’s the building was decommissioned from the Army and was subsequently bought by New York City in 1981. Since 1985 BAT has been undergoing renovations in phases, presently the building is about 80% renovated. It now houses about 100 companies, including Uncommon Goods, Jacques Torres and Chashama and employs around 3,600 people.
Lastly, worth mentioning since this is a sustainability blog. In the atrium there is a new outdoor exhibition by Isabelle Garbani called Post War Blues. She is one of the artists from Chashama, a group that supports communities by transforming temporarily vacant properties into spaces where artists can flourish. The art piece is a cascade of about 5,000 flowers crocheted from plastic bags. You can even contact the artist to create your own flower to add to the piece!
In preparation for BE NYC 2015, NESEA, The German American Chamber of Commerce, collaborated with the German Consulate General in New York and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to host a panel discussion and networking reception focusing on energy efficiency solutions and green building technologies made in Germany.
The panel discussion focused on passive house and how German energy efficient technologies are finally coming to the US.
Yetsuh Frank from BE Exchange spoke on passive house technologies and the benefits plus challenges of NYC adopting those standards to meet the 2050 challenge Mayor De Blasio has put forward. In the long run passive house is about “investing in long life components, ” and NYC will need to slowly start rolling passive house technology into present green building codes to come anywhere close to the new projected goals. Next up was Douglas Romines from Romines Architecture, he highlighted how his experience working in Germany helped pave the way for earlier energy efficiency adoption in NYC buildings like the new Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
The last 3 speakers were German based companies who will be exhibiting their products at the NESEA Expo. There was Eco2heat, who make ingenious infrared heating panels for residential and commercial use. The panels are safe, emission free, super efficient and effective plus provide instant heat in an elegant way. They beat all US radiator or baseboard heater any day! Second was Alumthermic, who are specialists for insulation of thermally decoupled aluminum window profiles and facades. And third was Menck Windows, originally a German company but they now have a new presence in Chicopee, MA. They manufacture top notch, finely crafted, energy efficient windows to the US market.
All in all, an interesting panel, (the infrared panels were definitely my favorite) and a great kick off to BE NYC 2015.
This is super exciting news to me, I know a bit nerdy! I’ve been a Green Mountain Energy customer for about 8 years and thoroughly support everything they do, so finding out that they were able to partner up with the Philadelphia Zoo on solar golf carts…very cool.
The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club donates to many projects that “enhance the quality of life through long-term, sustainable solutions that focus on people and the planet.” Recently, the Philadelphia Zoo was the proud recipient of $100,000 to be dedicated to increasing it’s already existing sustainability initiatives. The money was chosen to fund solar golf carts, which will immensely help zoo employees to get around the 42-acre park in much less time and more efficiently. Each solar-powered golf cart can generate enough clean energy to drive more than 1,600 miles annually. That’s a lot of miles around the park!
As the nation’s first zoo, Philadelphia is doing a tremendous job creating and implementing onsite operational sustainability measures. “With more than 1.35 million visitors annually, they aim to educate their community, model sustainable practices and provide their visitors with tools for taking action to live greener in their own lives, empowered to make a difference.” Presently the Zoo is working toward strategies to lessen their environmental footprint in five key areas:
1) improve energy efficiency
2) reduce, and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
3) consistently conserve, and increasingly collect and reuse water
4) Use current best practices to manage stormwater on site and
5) conserve resources and avoid the use of hazardous materials through waste diversion and green purchasing.
This is very commendable, as we all know thoughtful zoos require an enormous amount of people’s energy and mechanical energy to run. It’s more than important to keep the animals healthy, it’s an utmost necessity!
Also if you’re in Philadelphia any time soon, right now they also have a unique exhibit called Second Nature, Junk Rethunk, which is “an array of artist installations, some larger than life, each one telling stories of endangered animals through the use of recycled, reduced, reused, repurposed and renewed materials.”
If you are in New York City next week on October 15th and you are interested in sustainable energy and green building, don’t miss NESEA’s annual Building Energy 2015 Conference. The conference focuses on renewable energy and highlights what is happening in the forefront of the industry. There will be 6 tracks with 24 educational sessions over the course of the day given by top professionals in their field, plus over 50 trade show exhibitors and tons of networking. If you are already in the field then come brush up on your skills, if not then come to learn more about how important energy efficiency is for all sectors of our great city!