Climate Change, Construction, Emerging Professionals (EP), Homes, Making Buildings Resilient, Resiliency

Event Recap:
Affordable, Storm-Proof Homes for Breezy Point

No Comments Posted on 14 March 2014 by Cecil Scheib

Rendering from Team LARC’s winning R3build design

Matilda Curley lived 95 years and survived Superstorm Sandy’s destruction of her house in Breezy Point. She passed away earlier this year, with her home and many others yet to be rebuilt. But her grandchildren were at Urban Green’s Spring Member Reception, where the finalist projects of the R3build Design Competition were on display. Australian duo Rayne Fouche and Larissa Searle were announced as First Place winners in front of an overflowing crowd. Read more about the winning design in the NY Daily News.

Through R3build, Urban Green’s Emerging Professionals invited students and young designers from around the world to provide template ideas for homes that are resilient, sustainable, and affordable. These ideas will now be freely available for use in Breezy Point and elsewhere.

Watch a video from Rayne and Larissa on their design here.

Building Envelope, Construction, Emerging Professionals (EP)

Green Building Tour Recap
The New School University Center – Exposed!

No Comments Posted on 22 August 2013 by Cecil Scheib

Urban Green hosted a tour of The New School’s University Center, led by Director of Facilities Management, Thomas Whalen, and Senior Design Architect, Jon Cicconi (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill). As a design institution, the school took a unique approach to showing the “bones” of the building. And since it’s still under construction, we got a great look at what’s under building’s skin.

The Center has an exposed design aesthetic throughout. Classrooms will have exposed concrete ceilings – including conduit and paint marks – between their acoustic panels. Interior windows let students view the cafeteria from the lobby and the stairwells from the classrooms. A stairwell pressurization duct, which would normally be hidden from view in a shaft buried in the heart of the building, will be exposed and turned into a brass-clad work of art. And structural support beams are evident throughout.

Thomas Whalen explained some of the construction challenges faced by the project. For example, LED light fixtures will be used throughout. But due to long lead times, the entire building – even the currently occupied residential portion – uses fluorescent fixtures, all of which will have to be replaced when the prodigal LEDs arrive. I’d suggest contacting Thomas around January for a great deal on some secondhand fluorescent lighting fixtures!

Aiming for LEED Gold, the building will have many green features besides LED lighting. Tour participants stared in awe at the 14 ice storage tanks in the basement, which allow the building to run its cooling plant at night, making ice when electrical rates are cheap. During the day, the electrical cooling plant can be turned off and the building can be cooled using the ice. This saves on expensive daytime electricity, and can help the overloaded NYC grid survive summers. Gas-fired cogeneration at the top of the building will provide electricity and domestic hot water. And, we were told that lighting in dorm corridors, normally on 24 hours a day at most schools, will be bi-level and dimmed at night. That can add up to major savings over 365 days of the year.

Thanks to The New School, SOM, and Urban Green’s Emerging Professionals for hosting the tour.


Emerging Professionals (EP)

What My EP Experience Means to Me

No Comments Posted on 17 April 2013 by Nicole McGlinn

I first discovered and joined Urban Green Council’s Emerging Professionals about three years ago when I first moved to the city. I was looking for a job in the architecture industry and wanted to meet like-minded people and share my passion for sustainable design. I felt welcomed into a tight-knit group from my very first meeting and have continued to gain valuable personal and professional relationships ever since this time. I became more and more involved with the group, volunteering to help organize events and making connections with an ever broader group of professionals. The relationships I made quickly introduced me to my current position, architect at Kohn Pedersen Fox, which has afforded me incredible experiences over the last three years.

Continuing to be involved with the Emerging Professionals has led to many leadership opportunities throughout the years. I served as an EP co-chair for one year, learning to engage a broad group of people in new and exciting ways. I moderated a successful panel discussion, Sustainability from the Bottom Up, which gathered industry leaders to to share their insider perspectives and forecasts for the future of green building. It was a great opportunity to interact with more experienced sustainability pros in a very tangible and meaningful way. Most recently, I was elected to the Urban Green Council Board of Directors, serving as the Emerging Professional representative and working to influence the future of the organization and its influence within the industry and city as a whole.

As I transition into the role of an “Emerged Professional,” I continually look back on my three years of experience and am grateful for the support and opportunities offered by the Emerging Professionals and Urban Green Council.  Through my experiences with the group, I have made valuable industry connections, gained valuable professional skills, and honed my leadership abilities. These qualities have easily transitioned into my architectural practice, affording me opportunity to take on more responsibility on projects and within the office. I look forward to many more years ahead working with Urban Green Council and taking this valuable knowledge and experience back to my architectural practice at KPF.

Urban Green Council is introducing a new member level for sustainability-minded recent college grads under 30. The Emerging Professionals membership is now available and has all the benefits of our regular membership. We hope to make this a permanent part of our members structure based on participation, so please sign up today! 

Emerging Professionals (EP)

Making Children Better Stewards of the Planet

No Comments Posted on 26 September 2012 by Jessica Cooper

“1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, I believe it’s not too late!  Together we can change the world.”  These were the words sung by PS41 Senior Songbirds at the Opening Ceremony on September 21, 2012 for New York PS41 Greenroof Environmental Literacy Laboratory (GELL).  GELL is a 9,000 square-foot roof atop the Greenwich Village Elementary School.  After playing an important role in developing curriculum for the school’s Urban Eco-Club enrichment class, I was excited to join Emerging Professional members Mariah Howard Porath, Chad Ondrusek, and Rollie Jones at the opening ceremony.

Last spring, Urban Green Council’s Emerging Professionals partnered with Vicki Sando (PS41 science teacher and Founder of GELL) and her colleagues to help create a special curriculum aimed at teaching students about environmental building practices. EP volunteers also collaborated on the delivery of these lessons over the course of the eight-week program.  One activity had the students experimenting with the water retention and heat absorption benefits of a green roof through the use of a hand-made model of the school.  Later in the lesson series, students interacted with a game that allowed them to create dream [green] homes in various climates around the world.  The EP volunteers hope that this connection will support a lasting partnership between New York City’s educational providers and Urban Green Council’s emerging green building experts.

Also at the ceremony were the policy makers, donors, sponsors, and project management team.  Jonathan F.P. Rose of Jonathan Rose Companies praised both Sando and Kelly Shannon (PS41 Principal) for their dedication and perseverance that lasted throughout the six years it took to bring the project from inception to completion.  Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and State Senator Tom Duane emphasized that the laborious planning, fundraising, evaluation and construction process will serve as a prototype for other schools and communities interested in installing something similar.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was thrilled that the green roof would serve as a supplemental classroom, giving young students a place to be excited by science.  The outdoor garden will allow children to be taught through demonstration, supplementing the verbal learning that more typically dominates a classroom and transforming their educational experience.  Lessons in ecology, chemistry, biology, mathematics, nutrition, and fine arts will become more integrated with every student’s curriculum through the GELL Project.

It was clear that those in attendance at the opening ceremony believe that GELL will help pave the way for future projects with similar environmental and educational benefits.   Also important though, is to recognize the potential in this project to make our children and future generations better stewards of our planet.

Construction, Emerging Professionals (EP), LEED

Emerging Professionals Raise Funds for Project Haiti

No Comments Posted on 29 August 2012 by Jessica Cooper

The media coverage of the earthquake that devastated Haiti and the city of Port au Prince on January 12, 2010 stopped long ago, creating a silence that allows many of us to remove the event from the list of immediately pressing concerns.

For a moment, let us think back to 2010 when initial reports stated that the total cost of the earthquake was between $8 billion and $14 billion and the death toll was approximately 316,000.   Later, in June 2011, the International Organization for Migration reported that an estimated 634,000 people were still living in displacement camps (New York Times).  Now, two and a half years after the natural disaster, hundreds of thousands are still living without safe housing and much of the infrastructure in Port au Price remains in disrepair.  Tent camps and damaged buildings provide unstable housing for those remaining in the city, while others have moved to the countryside to build homes with tarps and sheet metal. The crisis is far from over, and the need to build more permanent housing and infrastructure in Haiti still persists.

During times like these, it seems that our role as architects, engineers, developers, and builders is obvious.  The concepts of social entrepreneurship, social architecture, or social engineering have been around for a long time, all of which revolve around the goal of mitigating a social problem through conscious organization, planning, or design.  Shortly after news of Haiti’s earthquake reached this country, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) committed to helping the people of Haiti rebuild and recover from the disaster.  The current USGBC-led initiative, Project Haiti, is an effort to build a LEED-certified orphanage in Port au Prince.  Once complete, the Orphanage and Children’s Center will provide shelter and safety, immediate care, and a hopeful future for children.

Upon hearing about USGBC’s effort to raise money for this noteworthy project, the Urban Green Council Emerging Professionals came on board to support the cause.  At a fundraiser on August 15, 2012, the group raised over $1,700 to be donated to USGBC and used exclusively for expenses related to the design and construction of Haiti Orphanage and Children’s Center.  The evening was a cultural celebration with a brief presentation of the project and a performance by local Haitian drumming group, La Troupe Makandal.  A generous donation of raffle prizes from the Four Seasons Restaurant, TJ Allan, Rachel Goldfarb, Volta, Alexandra Weiss Designs, and Urban Green Council contributed to the funds raised.  See photos from the event here.

This project has been designed as a model for high-performance green building practices that can be tailored to any culture.  As sustainable builders, we cannot just rebuild buildings and infrastructure; we must “rebuild them better”. Project Haiti aims to inspire and teach how construction can both minimize impacts on the environment and, through maximizing energy and water conservation, be financially sustainable.  Sponsored by USGBC with partnership from the Foundation L’enfant Jesus and pro-bono design by HOK, Project Haiti has been recognized as a Commitment Maker by the Clinton Global Initiative.

The Urban Green Council Emerging Professionals are a dedicated group of young professionals who work to create a network of leaders in the field of sustainability.  Led by a core group of volunteer leaders, they develop opportunities for involvement through Urban Green Council to further generate momentum for the green building industry.

Want to learn more about how the green building industry is practicing “social design”?  Urban Green Council’s conference Cooling on Climate Change: Designing the Message on September 18, will examine how the green building industry should be responding to climate change by asking questions such as: How can the green building movement better communicate the threats of climate change?  What role do designers, developers, operators, and other real estate professionals have in climate change activism?  What role does marketing play regarding climate change in the green building industry?  How are marketing strategies adjusted for clients who are uninterested in mitigating climate change?

Emerging Professionals (EP)

Emerging Professionals Partner with PS41 to Teach Green Building

No Comments Posted on 10 July 2012 by Erin Johnson

This spring, Urban Green Council’s Emerging Professionals embarked on a special partnership with Public School 41 in the West Village to bring green building practices into the classroom.  Working closely with 2nd-4th grade science teachers Vicki Sando, Joaquin Rodriguez and Allison MacCallum, a few EP members volunteered to help develop lesson plans for the school’s Urban Eco-Club enrichment classes. The EP volunteers worked with the teachers to create experiments, worksheets and games incorporating environmental architecture for a class of 30 students.
The partnership was a product of two separate endeavors to improve sustainability education in New York schools. Six years ago Vicki Sando, a science teacher and parent of two former students, spearheaded a green roof project for the school and helped raise the needed funds. She now oversees the maintenance and planning for the green roof, which Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has called a prototype that could be implemented in other public schools. In addition to providing several environmental benefits, the roof serves as hands-on classroom for the school.

Last year, EP Member and USGBC Emerging Professionals Leadership Academy participant Mariah Porath began developing a curriculum proposal to inspire New York City area schools to teach children about environmental building and LEED certification. The EP Leadership Academy is a unique program that brings local members of national Emerging Professional groups together to enhance their leadership skills; individual participants are tasked with developing a community project for their local chapter. Mariah’s project focused on an integral part of the USGBC Center for Green Schools’ overall mission and was an opportunity for EP members to get a chance to share their knowledge with the next generation.

Connecting the school and EP brought about a great pilot program that we hope will forge a strong ongoing partnership with education providers and Urban Green Council’s Emerging Professionals. Classes included Stormwater & Heat Island experiments, a Dream Green Home interactive game, and presentations by leading experts in the areas of urban farming, architecture, engineering and more!

Emerging Professionals (EP), LEED

Energy Efficient Bowling and Local Brews

No Comments Posted on 18 May 2011 by Caitlin McCusker

What more could you ask for? A stellar music lineup every week in this Brooklyn venue is the icing on this LEED-certified bowling alley.

Last week, the Emerging Professionals took a behind-the-scenes tour of Brooklyn Bowl to hear firsthand the many facets of its sustainable design from co-owner Charley Ryan.

Charley walked us through the trials and tribulations of becoming the world’s first LEED certified bowling alley.  Starting with the envelope, we were surprised to learn that not only were the original flooring and walls preserved in this former iron foundry but so were the rafters – including the illuminating skylights’ strategic placement.  Where new flooring is concerned, the stage consists of 100% recycled truck tires and the bowling lounge is 100% reclaimed cork.  Even the carnival-themed decor, from the clown bean bags to the shooting gallery birds, was recycled from movie sets.  The materials used throughout the venue aren’t just sustainably-produced or salvaged, they’re local.  The majority of the furniture, fixtures, and building materials were sourced from Brooklyn.  Even the 10 draught beers were brewed here – much of it from their adjacent neighbor Brooklyn Brewery.

Erica peruses a book on their design process while Charley describes the difficulties of sound-proofing the roof.

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Emerging Professionals (EP), Planning

The Emerging Professionals (USGBC-NY) Take on Active Design

1 Comment Posted on 04 May 2011 by Caitlin McCusker

The Emerging Professionals (EP), a committee of Urban Green Council, is a coalition of young professionals in the New York City area involved in the green building movement through hosting educational seminars, networking and other social events. Jessica Cooper (LB Architects) and Nicole McGlinn (KPF), in conjunction with UGC Board Member Molly Zinzi (Google) and Caitlin McCusker (Urban Green Council), are the leaders of EP.

On April 28th, twenty-eight young professionals joined us for a rapid-fire charrette challenge that asked them to direct their creative energy towards the Active Design Guidelines. The national Natural Talent Design Competition is taking a year hiatus to build the 2010 winning projects in New Orleans, of which one of the top four winners is our group’s submission: RAMPed UP.  Undeterred, we decided to offer an alternative: a local charrette competition.

To prepare for the upcoming challenge a week prior, the seven teams met us at one of the premier examples of Active Design in NYC: the High Line.  Scavenger hunt style, they navigated the city and recorded three examples of ‘good’ Active Design and three examples of ‘bad’ Active Design. Aside from informing them that they would need to ‘get creative’ on the 29th, no other information was disclosed.

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Emerging Professionals (EP)

Emerging Professionals Share Top Design Honors; Project Gets Built in New Orleans

No Comments Posted on 01 September 2010 by Jackie Keothavy

A big congratulations to the Urban Green Council Emerging Professionals, whose Natural Talent Design entry “RAMPed UP” was placed in the Top four by a national jury and is now slated to be built in New Orleans’ Broadmoor neighborhood!

Team Name: “RAMPed UP”
Team Members: from Buro Happold,
Irmak Turan, Daniel Bersohn, Tim Hanna, Rossella Nicolin, and Lauren Page; from Rogers Marvel: Yavuz Akcora, Nicholas McDermott, Shane Neufeld, and Jenny Wu

Check out other finalists:

Team Name: “Rising to the Challenge”
Team Members: Emily Balaban, Emily Clark, Jaliya Fonseka, Rebecca Lai, Laura Langridge, David McMurchy, Andy Oh, Laura Pellow,and Steven Zhao
Team affiliation: University of Waterloo School of Architecture, University of Waterloo

Team Name: “Focus on Essential Values”
Team Members: Alan Stevenson, AIA, LEED AP, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Charlie Marino, LEED AP, AKF Group LLC

© 2010 Urban Green Blog.