Green Building Race in Williamsburg

While Battery Park City hosts some of NYC's more well known Green Buildings, there is an hot race to construct the first Green Building in Williamsburg that the New York Post Real Estate section recently covered:

"We're competing with another architecture firm that's literally [working on a building] around the corner."

Are they competing over air rights? Sight lines? Customers? None of the above. Whoever finishes first will have erected the first environmentally friendly building of its size in Williamsburg.

Why? Well, aside from the whole environmental angle, there's that always important "money factor":

Come Jan. 1, 2007, New York City will require that all buildings that receive at least $2 million in city funds must have certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the U.S. Green Building Council's standard for an environmentally friendly building. Many environmental designers think that this will filter down to smaller buildings.

To those that haven't taken a tour of a green building, I highly recommend Chris Benedict's building at 228 East Third Street. I took a tour last fall and it was really impressive how simple good design and materials can reduce the energy demand to less than 20% of normal buildings.

NY Post was also impressed:

Last month Chris Benedict, a designer who specializes in building insulation, hosted a talk, slide show and tour of 227 E. Third St., the site of one of her most recent projects. Benedict put out three chairs for the slideshow - more than two dozen people showed up.

The crowd consisted of developers, architects, designers and environmentalists. When Benedict and her colleague Henry Gifford showed a slide showing how much energy her boilers save - it uses only 16 percent of the BTUs that a normal system uses - one member of the audience whistled as if a scantily clad Naomi Watts had just waltzed into the room.

And while being green isn't quite that sexy, the trend has attracted a fair number of fans.

It's really great to see stuff like this taking off. ANd it's even better when you see lines like this in the New York Post:

Within five years, I think this will be part of the building code," says Michael Deane, the director of operations for Sustainable Construction, an eco-friendly development company.

"We're really clearly at a tipping point when there are groups meeting all over the city focused on energy stability," says Leslie Hoffman, the executive director of the nonprofit Earth Pledge.

Sounds good to me.