Forum: Environmental and Green Design
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We are planning further renovations to our home, including some things like reinstating a skylight in a small room on the top floor as well as replacing the main skylight over the stairs. We will have AC, but all the same I would like to better understand the heating/cooling impact of our design decisions and, where possible, make choices that require less heating and cooling (or at least don’t add to it). I’m wondering whether a whole-house fan, for instance, or a venting skylight or a shade would help us get away with using the AC less, and how to weigh those choices. We do have an architect and an HVAC engineer but I’m looking specifically for someone to help me make informed choices about the best way to passively heat or cool our house within our existing design and Edwardian shell, or to at least understand in advance where I’m courting trouble. I just don’t want to end up with a beautiful space that requires a ton of AC or heating. Thanks so much for any advice on what kind of person I need or names.
Looking at a rowhouse in Brooklyn. Inspector found an old fill pipe at the front of the house and said it’s possible there’s an underground tank there. Spoke to another professional, however, and was told it is highly unlikely there was ever a buried tank there due to the way homes in the city were built. They were almost always built with above ground tanks in the cellar. Can anyone confirm either theory?
Sometimes the vestibule that I share with my tenants gets a bit stale-smelling. Can anyone recommend plants that can survive with just a little light, that may help with this situation?! I’m open to considering other remedies as well.
Hi– I am looking into solar panels for my home. I am wondering if anyone out there has experience with 1) solar panel and DOB approval; 2) How it has impacted your Con Ed bill; 3) are you happy with your decision to install the panels?
There was a whole push around an announcement last year that, starting in 2013, NYC would be offering a $125 rebate for upgrading to low-flow toilets, and would recycle your old commode (annoucnement here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/press_releases/12-19pr.shtml). Any idea what the status of that is? Or where else I can recycle a toilet?
Our coop is considering installing solar panels in conjunction with a green roof, and figure it might be easiest to design and install the two systems in conjunction with one another. Does anyone have any experience with solar installers who worked in concert with green roof experts? Any advice on this would be appreciated.
My reno project started out small. But it’s not looking so small anymore. …heard that story before? The plan’s not firm, but the project could potentially eventually include: replacing 90-yr old electic system throughout the house, replacing the ancient boiler, retrofitting radiant in the main floor, insulating like crazy, adding A/C of some sort, redoing one bathroom and adding another, replacing windows, rebuilding the front porch before it collapses, and other things that my brain is mercifully repressing. Okay, maybe it only started out small in a delusional part of my brain.
We have a contractor we like, who comes with great references and a lot of experience working on old buildings. But he’s never dealt with a landmark commission and he’s not got a big background in eco-renovation (the former is mandatory, the latter is a *huge* priority for us).
So is it crazy to imagine a team with a contractor, a deep green consultant, a landmarks consultant…and an architect thrown in there if/when need be? Am I signing myself up for months of coordinating and researching, in which case I should just keep searching for Mr. Contractor Right? Or is it reasonable to work with this plan?
Also, oddly, we had no problem locating a landmarks consultant, but I cannot seem to find a super-green consultant. Recommendations MUCH appreciated!!!
It was just installed outside a friend’s window. I thought it might be for environmental quality monitoring, but it looks like something from the “X Files.”
We have a 15 ft wide apartment on the bottom 2 floors of our house. We need someone who can coordinate and design the renovation, which is mostly going to be taking down a few walls, adding a bathroom and closets and redoing the lighting. Not sure if we need an architect, and have a budget of around 60k. Would consider a design/build firm or a recommendation for a good designer who can work with a contractor (we already have a few recommendations but would love some more!). Anyone who specializes in green/sustainable construction a plus. Thanks!
hi all, I am interested in a buying a house and upon inspection it was determined that there was a possibility of a buried oil tank. The owner has no knowledge of this but has agreed to allow testing to determine whether any large metal structures are buried in the lawn. Has anyone had experience with this? Any recommendations of companies that would do this type of testing?
I am evaluating HVAC options for a renovation of a 3 story plus basement frame house – looking at heat pump (air or geothermal) and high efficiency (energy star) boilers and also heat pump for hot water heater. Can anyone share experience on heat pump technology? Does it need to be supplemented with another heating source in coldest weather? Can it cool effectively in summer or does it need to be supplemented with AC?
Can someone recommend an asbestos inspector to come to a buiding to certify there is no friable asbestos in the basement? Also wondering what the cost of this inspection should be? Thanks.
We need to choose kitchen countertops for townhouse we are renovating. Budget is modest but we also want something durable/relatively easy to maintain. Aesthetically, we don’t really like speckled/shiny/super-veiny look (hence no polished granite), and we prefer a matte (honed) finish. We like Pietra de Cordoza but are worried it might stain. Soapstone is another surface we’re considering. Caesarstone may be beyond our budget. Honed granite looks very pretty and I know granite is durable but online reviews I found for honed (not polished) granite were very negative. We are using Carrera marble in rental unit (since it’s relatively affordable/durable) but don’t love it for owners kitchen. Hope someone out there has something they love that the can recommend (or warnings for things to definitely avoid!). Thanks!
I am in contract on a home in the Gowanus and I really love the nabe. It’s got great bars, coffee shops and restaurants and I’ve spotted a few art galleries. The neighbors are friendly and the park is nearby. So far, so good.
I have been hearing that the city is planning on cleaning up the Gowanus Canal (presently the dirtiest body of water in the U.S) but I don’t know any details about it.
If anyone has the inside scoop, please keep me informed.