Wednesday, January 14, 2009

NYC Christmas Tree Goes Green

Even though Christmas is over, one Brooklyn family was granted (part of) their Christmas wish this week. On Jan. 10, the Rockerfeller Center Christmas Tree was taken down and milled into lumber that will be incorporated as shelving in Habitat-NYC’s new affordable condominium complex in Brooklyn.

Esther Huambo, a future homeowner at the Brooklyn complex, was at Rockefeller Center as the 72-foot trunk of the Norway spruce was cut into lumber in preparation for its new role. Her children, Dalila Santiago, 12, and Jose Santiago, 4, looked on as a large saw slicked the trunk into planks (family is pictured above).

“Now, every day will be Christmas at my house,” Dalila laughed.

A single mom, Esther works full time as a Student Accounts Assistant at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan, raises her children, is active in her church and has already completed 300 hours of sweat equity, helping to build her Habitat home.

The Habitat-NYC home at Atlantic Avenue, Eastern Parkway and Sherlock Place is the organization’s first large-scale building. When finished, it will house 41 New York families in need — double the number of homes Habitat produces in a typical year.

The residence includes a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units in three four-story buildings. Eleven ground-floor residences will be handicapped-adaptable.

Including wood recycled from the Rockerfeller Center tree will not be the only green feature of the complex. The project is being constructed with healthy and environmentally friendly materials and will strive to meet strict LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. Energy-efficient building methods will enable future Habitat homeowners to save up to 30 percent on their energy bills.

And the tree was green on its own. It was lit with 30,000 energy-efficient LEDs, powered in part by energy generated by a solar roof.

Photo by Anthony Collins

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