Sunday, November 30, 2008

Brooklyn Lawmakers Evaluated On 'Green-Friendly’ Voting Record

Ever wonder how your local Assembly member or state Senator feels about the environment?

EPL/Environmental Advocates wants voters to know how green their candidates are. So they compile an annual environmental scorecard – the Voters’ Guide – based on how Assembly members or senators voted for bills that affect the environment.

EPL/Environmental Advocates recently released their guide. Brooklyn Assembly members consistently scored average or above (with a few exceptions), and Brooklyn Senators mostly scored near average or slightly below.

In the Assembly, the Democrats had an average score of 98, while the Republicans had an average of 79 points. In the Senate, the Democrats scored an average of 85, whereas the Republicans scored an average of 75.

All Brooklyn Assembly members scored above average, with five exceptions. ... read more

Back to Homepage

DUMBO Pet Care Sells Organic Animal Food, Donates To Local Pet Shelters

Cynthia Barnett is a self-proclaimed animal lover. As a DUMBO resident, she noticed that the neighborhood didn’t have many pet care options. “The only thing you could get was dog walking,” she said. “As a business savvy individual, I saw a need and an opportunity... I wanted to do something different.” So, with her boyfriend Dario Hernandez, she started DUMBO Pet Care two and a half years ago.

They do boarding, day care, dog walking, and cat visits — which is when an employee
spends a half hour one or two times a day with a cat at its home if an owner is away. The business was first based out of her home, but when the number of dogs outgrew the space, she moved to her current storefront at 25 Jay Street in DUMBO.

Barnett is passionate about animals — and has five of her own ... read more

Photo courtesy of DUMBO Pet Care

Back to Homepage

Green Foragers Market a 'Great Neighborhood Market,' Say Owners

When walking into the Foragers Market on Adams Street in DUMBO, customers are greeted with the sounds of old music and the sights of colorful, beautifully arranged food. The environment is calm, clean, and gives the appearance that whatever you buy will be good and healthy.

But when the market first opened, its reception was not as warm as its owners – Clifford Shikler, Richard Lamb, Alex Krivosheiw and Anna Castellani – had hoped.

“We were all loft dwellers, but for some reason [the customers] perceived us as being big fancy people who wanted to price gauge and bring [the neighborhood] up to a level that was out of line with their budget,” said Castellani, who wanted to open the shop because ... read more
Back to Homepage

Superfine Restaurant has Organic Food, Beer and Cleaning Products

Cara Lee Sparry, Tanya Rynd and Laura Tayor developed the idea for the restaurant they own together ten years ago, when they would have supper clubs and parties in their loft. “We transformed the house into a lounge” Sparry said, with a dining room and stage and dance floor. “One night when we were having one of these parties,” she explained, “we thought ‘This should be our job.’”

So the three friends started Superfine Restaurant in the back kitchen of a 90-year-old iron workers bar. They designed and built its current location at 126 Front Street in DUMBO eight years ago, when the community was mostly composed of artists.

“We knew we could serve our community organic, delicious, really simple, beautiful food... at affordable prices” said Sparry. So that’s what they did.

“Whenever possible, we work directly with farmers,” said Rynd. The trio gets their eggs and vegetables from ... read more

Back to Homepage

It’s ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ For One DUMBO Architect

Architect Roy Leone has always thought being environmentally conscious was important. When he went to school at the University of Arizona to get his Bachelors of Architecture, “there was a strong commitment to the environment and being sustainable.” So it makes sense that he would bring these values to DUMBO.

Leone started Leone Design Studio seven years ago and moved it to DUMBO a year later. His projects are usually residential, and are renovations, not rebuilds, which is better for the environment. “We try to make [every project] more green than it was before,” Leone said.

One way to make a project greener is to reuse parts of a building in new ways. For example, in a brownstone Leone is renovating on Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights (right), he is using wood already in the house to make new stairs. This townhouse will also have ... read more

Back to Homepage

Brooklyn's Hall Street Self Storage: First Green Storage Space In U.S

The first green self-storage space in the country has gotten even greener: in October, Hall Street Storage in Clinton Hill installed a solar water heater.

Hall Street Storage President Jeffrey Sitt took over the building (which was always a cold and dry storage facility) two years ago. He gutted and renovated the building to make it green.

The facility opened in the spring with Green-e certified energy for 100 percent of its electricity and green packing supplies. Green-e is a certification process for renewable energy.

When the facility was gutted, old wooden beams from the original building (built in the early 1900s) were taken out. Instead of being discarded, they were made into wood chips, which were then packed in bags and sold in the facility’s retail store as green packing materials.

Also sold in the store are bags of shredded paper to use instead of bubble wrap. According to self-storage manager Wanda Dash, these bags are made up of paper from the office that would have been thrown out.

Dash also said that if Hall Street Storage gets a delivery, the box is emptied and re-sold in their store for one dollar. These processes limit the waste the facility produces.

Since Hall Street Storage’s opening, Sitt has also started a “reuse” room, for clients who want to discard items. Instead of throwing them out, they can put them in this room and they will be donated to local charities.

“Our commitment to having the lowest impact on the environment is more than one of policy; it’s become our primary passion,” said Sitt.

The idea for Hall Street’s new solar water came about several months ago, Dash said. Since their electricity was already renewable, they decided to go for renewable water. Sitt approached Murray Sarway, owner of Solar Waterway, Inc. — a Brooklyn-based company that sells solar water heaters to businesses and apartment buildings — to supply the new water heater for the storage facility.

Installation on the new solar water heater at Hall Street Storage was completed in about a week, Sarway said. But the collaboration between Hall Stree Storage and Solar WaterWay won’t stop there.

Sarway’s company will also store its solar heaters at Hall Street Storage — as many as they can, at any rate, because “we keep selling out of them,” Sarway said.

Sitt has also decided to display a mockup of the solar water heater at the facility’s retail store. He explained that this will help people understand how to be eco-friendly. "We're excited about having the new solar hot-water heater, and hopefully being a model for others of how to be green, and creating community around that,” he said.

“When someone makes a decision to store, it's location, price, convenience and so on,” said Sitt. “We’re changing that. We’re saying, ‘We’re green.’ And we hope that grows.”

And Sitt does plan on expanding. Dash said that in in the future, his hope is to open more facilities that will be even greener than the current one. He wants everything to be green, “from the ground up,” she said. Instead of a green renovation, he will construct a green building, where the construction materials themselves will be eco-friendly.

Hall Street Storage is located at 12 Hall St., Clinton Hill.

Photo by Derek Koleba

Back to Homepage