Sunday, November 30, 2008

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

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