Sustainability Consultancy for Cultural Institutions


NYCCGC Grant Recipient for Stormwater Feasibility Study


Finally NYC is starting to use the inherent resources we already have, like the NYCCGC (New York City Community Garden Coalition), to propose solutions to potential future flooding. Since 1996, the NYCCGC has promoted the preservation, creation, and empowerment of community gardens through education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing.

NYCCGC just announced they are the recipient of Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding from the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) to undertake a feasibility study for stormwater capture best practices within the community gardens of the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Gardens Rising, the name of the study, will focus on the forty-seven community gardens in Lower Manhattan and combine a green infrastructure study and Master Plan to increase the permeability and stormwater capture in the area.

According to NYCCGC “the Master Plan will examine the feasibility, costs, benefits and impacts of proposed stormwater capture locations and methods to increase permeability and green space in the neighborhood gardens to better absorb stormwater and runoff.” Important to note, the majority of the gardens reside within an area that was severely flooded and impacted during Superstorm Sandy.

This is a major step forward not only for community gardens, but also for a sustainable NYC as a whole. As NYCCGC notes, these garden are finally being recognized as a vital environmental asset. It puts community gardens at the center of the greening movement in New York City.

NYCCGC states that they “envision this as seed money to attract more greening programs and grants into our community. They want “Gardens Rising to be interwoven with permaculture, solar energy, rat abatement policies, composting practices, citizen science, and other ideas and practices that will evolve with this process.”

Wouldn’t it be great is to see NYC using all their resources, museums, parks, public buildings, etc to create a master city wide disaster plan! And this grant is a step in the right direction, I know I look forward to hearing more about Gardens Rising.


Tour of SIMS Municipal Recycling via OpenHouseNewYork

Photo Courtesy of Marc Lins Selldorf ArchitectsSunst Park MRF_Exterior 1.ashxIt is always fascinating to find out where exactly all the metal, glass and plastic that I faithfully recycle each week goes. So last week I toured the SIMS Municipal Recycling Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility, which is the principal facility to recycle all curbside metal, glass and plastic in New York City. It is a central element of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 to develop sustainable waste management in NYC. Nestled on the waterfront at 29th St. you can’t miss the 100kW wind turbine which signals you have arrived.

20151017_154417Approximately 19,000 tons of metal, plastic and glass are collected monthly by the Department of Sanitation and Sunset Park MRF can recycle this and more! The facility is also home to the largest solar power installation in NYC. Designed by Sellsdorf architects SIMS MRF was built to optimize environmental performance. It boasts a gravity-based stormwater system using landscape features, bio-swales and a retention pond. Plus the city created 3 artificial reefs for intertidal habitat for both marine and bird lifew hich helps to mitigate the effects of dredging. Lastly, it has an cheerful kid-friendly Recycling Education Center, programming, interactive exhibits and a theater. All in all an impressive facility and worth a visit, especially if you have kids.

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NESEA Panel Discussion – Energy Efficiency & Green Building Technologies: Made in Germany


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.