Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's Out In The Open

At 8:00 AM today, this release hit the wire, unveiling our very ambitious project to a larger group.  The reaction has been great and I have been getting a bunch of press inquires.  

New York City’s First ‘Zero Energy Building’ Coming to the
Red Hook Section of Brooklyn

Innovative Facility To Be Completed by Summer 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New York, NY – December 03, 2009 Designs for New York’s first sustainable zero-energy, live/work building are nearing completion, with ground-breaking scheduled for February and completion planned for summer 2010.  This structure is expected to become a distinctive new addition to the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.

As defined by the US Department of Energy, “a net zero-energy building (ZEB) is a residential or commercial building with greatly reduced energy needs through efficiency gains such that the balance of energy needs can be supplied with renewable technologies.”  Basically the ZEB concept is the idea that buildings can meet all their energy needs from low-cost, locally available, nonpolluting, renewable sources such as solar or wind power.

This approximately 4,000 square foot facility will house a studio/workshop, offices for a digital business, garages and an apartment, as well as outdoor green space. The form of the house is inspired by the shipping containers stacked along the adjacent waterfront. Modular units, proportioned similarly to shipping containers are stacked and shifted to create a variety of terraces and overviews to take advantage of the areas amazing harbor views.

The project, called ‘Redhook Green’ is the brainchild of New York technology and media entrepreneur, Jay Amato. 

“I’m thrilled that Redhook Green will become a very visible symbol of the continuing reinvention of one of New York City’s oldest neighborhoods,” said Mr. Amato.  “But I’m even more excited that I could practically illustrate the movement towards zero-energy building to the world’s greatest city.  Bringing to bear exciting new building materials, improved wind and solar technologies and more energy-efficient HVAC and home appliances, as well as state of the art sustainability strategies, Redhook Green will be a powerful answer to the question of what urban centers can do to reduce our dependency on foreign oil via renewable resources and to significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

With a long history as a shipping port and industrial district, Red Hook – not quite two miles across from the Battery at the tip of Manhattan – is thoroughly urban. In the evenings, however, it is as quiet as a remote and leafy suburb, bounded by water on three sides and the elevated Gowanus Expressway on the remaining side.  While other Brooklyn waterfront neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Dumbo have developed an image of youthful urban chic, Red Hook remained a gritty industrial district until the recent addition of Fairway, IKEA and the New York Water Taxi. Now, Red Hook's eclectic mix of artists and industrial businesses has created a neighborhood dubbed "Residustrial" in 2008 by artist and resident John P. Missale.

Award winning New York firm, Garrison Architects, located in Dumbo, Brooklyn, is the chief designer overseeing Redhook Green. Garrison has assembled a unique group of designers, engineers, and manufacturers to innovate for this project.

"Jay Amato’s Red Hook project draws from several promising trajectories – abstract modernism, modular construction, and zero energy consumption.  By combining state of the art approaches to all three in one structure we have moved the potential for affordable, ecologically sound, urban dwellings several steps forward," said James Garrison, Principal in Charge of Garrison Architects.

Simple and cost effective sustainability strategies are used to conserve and produce energy, conserve resources, and create a healthful environment. This sustainability approach was developed though an extensive research project that included digital energy modeling, detailed life cycle cost analysis of construction components and their related maintenance and replacement costs. Here are a few of its features:

·       8kw annual photovoltaic generating capacity, grid connected.
·       8kw annual comprehensive household energy budget including heating and air conditioning.
·       High performance building envelope that eliminates thermal bridging and achieves an average thermal resistance of R50.
·       Wall and roof systems vented to eliminate moisture build up and use “smart” moisture barriers to allow air movement in warm months.
·       Integrated south facing thermal solar wall generates warm air that is fed to the building ventilation system.
·       Heating and cooling provided by high efficiency electric heat pumps.
·       Whole house heat exchange ventilation system insuring air quality and recovering energy from conditioned air.

“In my entire career building and leading businesses, nothing has given me more satisfaction than developing this project,” added Jay Amato. “We are transforming what is essentially an empty space into a structure that can serve as an example of how we can live and work responsibly. This is truly gratifying.”

To view a chronicle of Redhook Green, design plans, technology and project status, visit:

For more information, contact: 

Laura Landers
PersonalScreen Media LLC

Tamara Gruber
Garrison Architects

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