Gennaro Brooks-Church, the director of the green building firm Eco Brooklyn, is slowly turning his townhouse in a green and sustainable home. The renovations began back in 2008 and they are still ongoing. Just to remind, Brooks-Church is the man behind the recently completed Bright ’N Green complex in Brighton Beach, NY.
Brooks-Church strives to used mainly repurposed, salvaged and upcycled materials in his renovation and other projects, and he followed this same philosophy when retrofitting his own home. For example, all of the wood floors in his Brooklyn home are reclaimed. There are also glass panels set into the floor to allow sunlight to stream down into the lower levels of the home, and this glass was reclaimed from an advertising company. The railings and walkways are made from an old fire escape.
Brooks-Church finds most of the materials he uses by dumpster diving and visiting dumps. The trade-off with using recycled and repurposed materials stems primarily from having to adapt them to a new use, which can be time consuming and costly. Using such materials is also nearly impossible when working to a deadline, since the availability of the materials needed is nearly impossible to predict. This is one of the reasons why the renovation of Brooks-Church’s Brooklyn home is taking so long.
The backyard houses a children’s treehouse, which was built using repurposed materials from a Manhattan water tower and unused wood from a nearby construction site. There is also a natural pool located in the backyard, which is kept clean by fish, bacteria and plants, so that it is also possible to swim in it.
The home also features a green roof, with a stream that flows through it and waters the vegetation. All this is part of a rain catchment system, which effectively recycles this water instead of dumping it into the municipal water system.
The next step in the renovation will be the installation of solar panels, and further improving the rainwater collection and recycling system. This home is definitely a great example of a step-by-step green renovation of a home, which anyone can draw inspiration from.
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