Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cool Roofs Project - Paint it White!

Mayor Bloomberg and former Vice President Al Gore Friday launched a buildings service initiative called "NYC Cool Roofs." One Green Team member will volunteer with the effort on Friday and will be sure to report.

This project aims to mobilize volunteers to coat the rooftops of participating buildings with reflective, white coating to reduce cooling costs, energy usage and greenhouse emissions.
Bloomberg and Gore helped NYC Service volunteers coat the rooftop of the Long Island City YMCA in Queens to jumpstart a pilot program through October 9.

During the pilot, teams of volunteers are working to coat 100,000 square feet of rooftop in Long Island City, a neighborhood that endures higher temperatures than the citywide average due to the number of industrial rooftops in the area.

"It's such a simple concept - anyone who has ever gotten dressed in the summer knows it - light-colored surfaces absorb less heat than darker surfaces do," said Mayor Bloomberg.
"Coating rooftops with reflective, white paint can reduce roof temperatures by as much as 60 degrees and indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees," the mayor said. "That means substantial energy savings for the building owner and a big reduction in energy usage and greenhouse emissions."

Learn More at Environment News Service.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Free Art Activities with Green Minded Artists Saturday

Join Private Picassos for some FREE art activities for kids at Ft. Greene Park’s Artisan-Market on Saturday, September 26th from 10am-3pm. Budding artists, age:4+ can stop by the Private Picassos’ table to make collagraph printing plates using a variety of recycled materials.

Bridy Crawford has been a regular throughout Artisan-Market’s 2009 Season, exemplifying our goal of featuring Artists/Designers with an eco-friendly point of view. A master silver-smith, who generously shares her extensive technical knowledge with others, she is also a semi-abstract painter. Her latest creation is a miniaturized silver pendant version of her shadow art designs combining left over sterling with bamboo.

A new addition to Artisan-Market, rBags from EcoStreet –“reduce, reuse, rebag”. All rBags are cute and durable for any activity. Designed and produced locally, Nadia Miller’s bags make a fashion statement. Her bags can be used on their own for even the most formal occasions or stowed neatly in your favorite hadbag as an eco-viable alternative to disposable shopping bags. Buy two and store one inside the other as a back-up.

While you're there, check out the Fort Greene Greenmarket.

Learn More.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Energy Suckers: Game Systems and TVs

For inspiration as you tackle the Unplug Your Life Challenge (which you should join by emailing us)

"Electricity use from power-hungry gadgets is rising fast all over the world. The fancy new flat-panel televisions everyone has been buying in recent years have turned out to be bigger power hogs than some refrigerators.

The proliferation of personal computers, iPods, cellphones, game consoles and all the rest amounts to the fastest-growing source of power demand in the world. Americans now have about 25 consumer electronic products in every household, compared with just three in 1980. . .

The biggest offender is the flat-screen television. As liquid crystal displays and plasma technologies replace the old cathode ray tubes, and as screen sizes increase, the new televisions need more power than older models do. And with all those gorgeous new televisions in their living rooms, Americans are spending more time than ever watching TV, averaging five hours a day...

Noah Horowitz, at the Natural Resources Defense Council, calculated that the nation’s gaming consoles, like the Xbox 360 from Microsoft and theSony PlayStation 3, now use about the same amount of electricity each year as San Diego, the ninth-largest city in country. . ."

Read more at NYTimes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Unplug Your Living Eco-Challenge

Hope everyone is off to a good start, carefully ripping plugs from the wall, consolidating them into smart strips. One way to take the challenge a step further is to choose one night to go without TV or computer (if the room you picked is say your bedroom or living room). Not all phantom power is equal. Below are some of the biggest users according to Treehugger:

"Chargers for cell phones, digital cameras, power tools and other gadgets draw energy even when they're not in use. Appliances like televisions, computer monitors and DVD players can also draw power whenever they're plugged into an outlet. All together, "phantom energy" use account for about 5 percent of an individual's home's electricity use."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Prospect Heights Declared a Historic District

Prospect Heights, long seen as the ne’er-do-well sister of Park Slope, is about to become the city’s 97th historic district. The City Council’s land-use committee unanimously approved the designation last week, and the full legislature was poised to rubber-stamp the vote on Thursday, formally creating the fifth-largest landmark district in the city. [The designation] of Prospect Heights, an architecturally diverse and human-scaled neighborhood is much deserved, and needed now more than ever due to development pressures,” said Councilwoman Letitia James. The historic zone to the north of tonier Park Slope is roughly bounded by Atlantic Avenue, Eastern Parkway, Flatbush Avenue and Washington Avenue, and comprises 850 buildings, many constructed between the mid-19th century and early 20th. Good news for the trees and good news fending off tons of development.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Volunteer Opp This Saturday!

Join the Prospect Park Volunteer Corps as part of the the
International Coastal Clean-Up, Saturday, September 19 from 10am to 2pm.
Registration begins at 9:30 am.

The International Coastal Clean-Up is a world-wide effort to clean up our
shores. Teams of four will descend upon Prospect Park Lake with trash
grabbers and skimmers in an effort to remove and document all litter found
in and around the lake.

Projects may also include weeding, path edging/sweeping, etc.

Volunteers will gather at the Rustic Shelter at the southwest corner of
Prospect Park Lake near the Parkside/Ocean Avenues entrance.

Directions by subway: Take the Q train to the Parkside Avenue subway station.

To RSVP for this family friendly event or if you need additional
information, please call the Volunteer Corps Office at 718-965-8960.

Learn more about the Prospect Park Volunteer Corps

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Local is Green

When you support local vs. big box, money stays in your hood (68 cents on the dollar), sometimes it supports projects in your hood, and your neighborhoods attract other good businesses.

Here's how the 3/50 Project works:
3 - pick three stores you would be upset left your neighborhood.
50 - if half of the U.S. population spent $50 bucks in local businesses, it would generate $42.6 billion dollars. If 3/4 of the employed population did this, it would be significant

we think it's important because you also minimize the impact of shipping online AND you often have more control making suggestions for the kind of green products you want to see in stores when you get access to the owner and manager at a small independent store.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Green Brooklyn...Green City Workshops Announced!

Thursday, September 24, leave work early or go in late and smarten up...
Join CENYC at Green Brooklyn…Green City, a city-wide event attracting residents from all 5 boroughs to a full day fair and symposium, where attendees can learn first-hand from local experts about the many ways New York City is creating a more sustainable future.

The State of the Climate (12pm – 1pm) Featuring
Dr. Radley Horton, Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Hugh Hough, The Climate Project
Dr. William Solecki, Hunter College

Green Your Business (1:30pm-2:30pm) Featuring
Andrew Kimball, President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Representative from Green Depot
Vanessa Knight, Director of Sustainable Business Network of New York City

Local vs. Organic: And Why We Care (3pm-4pm) Featuring
Michael Hurwitz, Director of Greenmarket
Anna Lappe, bestselling author of Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet
Justone Bossert, Red Jacket Orchards.

Don’t forget to bring your textiles for recycling and reuse! They might even get turned into artwork during a day-long interactive art project by Derick Melander. The event is sponsored by National Grid, TD Bank, Waste Management and Village Voice, official media sponsor. Learn More.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

National Parks in Our Own Backyard

The National Parks Conservation Association is launching National Parks Week NYC running September 19 - 27. The week provides lots of fun and interesting adventures for the whole family, including an evening tour of grant's tomb and an evening tour of Liberty Island! A feature event is the "Feel Free: A National Parks Celebration in Central Park." This free concert has everyone from Carol King to Counting Crows to Gavin Degraw to Jose Feliciano.

As part of NPCA's efforts to protect national parks, one green team member got to go on a tour of 3 national parks right here in NYC! First stop was the birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt, which was an amazing house and museum on East 20th Street. The highlight of course was seeing his Rough Rider outfit in mint condition as well as his seal skin chaps. Next stop was the Hamilton Grange National Memorial, home of Alexander Hamilton (found on the $10 bill), whose home has been moved twice now. The beautiful house's final resting stop is in a Park located within the boundary of his original property and will be open to the public sometime in 2010. Last stop was the African Burial Ground which is a memorial to the many slaves buried in mass under what is now several office buildings near City Hall. All three are informative and fun for the explorer of all ages and a great way to get out and spend time in our urban environment rather than watching TV.

For a complete listing of NYC events, visit

Learn more about NPCA.

Picture was taken on the porch of Hamilton Grange.

You Won't Be Dissapointed. Starting tomorrow!

Electronic Waste Recycling This Saturday!

September 12, 2009
10:00am - 4:00pm
Tekserve, 119 West 23rd St New York, NY 10011
Bring your unwanted or broken electronics to this Lower East Side Ecology Center's organized collection event in front of Tekserve to have them recycled responsibly. Sponsored by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and ConEdison for sponsoring this event and Tekserve for hosting the event.

Learn More.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tip for the Day - Produce Bags

Next time you head to your local Greenmarket or grocer, remember to bring your produce bags from last time and take them for another spin. If they had tomatoes in them last time, chances are they're pretty clean. Fill them with mushrooms, or whatever.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Age of Stupid Premiere Coming...

Why didn’t we save ourselves when we had the chance?  This is the question the soon-to-be released film, Age of Stupid, poses to us.  The film takes place in a future where our world has been ravaged by climate change due to a business-as-usual approach to this growing global threat.

Brought to you by Fathom Events, The Age of Stupid will launch in America on September 21st, 2009 from a solar-powered cinema tent in New York LIVE to 115,000 people in 400 movie theatres right across the country.  This One Night Only live event is your only chance to see The Age of Stupid on the big screen and is timed for the day before the UN's climate meeting on September 22nd, when 80 Heads of State - and therefore the world's media - will gather in New York. (The event has also just been confirmed as being an official part of the UN's Climate Week NYC.)


Everyone is invited to go to their local theatre to watch the VIPs arrive in Manhattan by boat, bike, rickshaw, electric car or skateboard, before braving the paparazzi on the green carpet. Following the first US screening of The Age of Stupid, there will be a further 40 minute live event featuring Kofi Annan, Gillian Anderson, Mary Robinson, the film's director Franny Armstrong, the star of the film Pete Postlethwaite, and other leading thinkers, celebrities and political figures from around the world. 


For more information and a theater schedule visit:

The film starts at:  7:30 PM ET/ 6:30 PM CT / 5:30 PM MT / tape delayed 8PM PT

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Three Months, Fewer Plugs.

Take yourself back to the sweltering heat of two weeks ago. Picture the cement jungle that is New York City. Think about all those A/Cs going full blast and the little meters spinning round and round. Now picture power plants round the clock on overload to satisfy our energy guzzling desires. We all contribute to this scenario. Being the environmental saavy-ists that you are, you do a lot of things to save energy when you leave the house. Turn out the lights, turn off computers, and remove cell phones from their chargers. Take it one step further and unplug those items from the wall. Computers, cell-phone chargers, and other electronics continue to use power even when you turn them off. Nationally, this creates the annual emissions equivalent to 17 power plants.

For our next Challenge, The Brooklyn Green Team invites you to choose a room in your house, the room you feel utilizes the most energy, and Unplug all the appliances that are not in use.

Let us know you're committed by emailing us at and writing "(Insert Your Name) Unplugged" or something far wittier.

The average energy used in a home in the US is 920 kWh (granted that's an average, but still)

If you are convinced that leaving your computer on uses less energy than to turn it on or off and that by turning it on and off will kill your computer, know that's a myth. According to the United States Department of Energy, there are no computers on the market that actually last long enough for the negative effects of turning your computer off and on to affect anything.

According to Whole Living, The energy it takes to run your cable setup amounts to 410 pounds of carbon a year, whereas a satellite hook-up cuts that number almost in half.


To simplify, plug items into a power strip that you can use as a master switch to turn off when these appliances are not in use. here's where you can get one of those strips.

Get your gadget charger right in BK at 3rLiving in person or online.

This popular mechanics article has some good tips and uses words like trickle and leaking.

Test your knowledge and take this energy quiz.

Did you know? Google will soon have a device for the home that monitors your electricity use?

This educational and somewhat perverse video shows how you can play your part. Cat lovers may want to look away.

The entertaining clip offers excellent advice on unplugging common appliances.

Have friends who might like to participate? Pass this email along. Please send us stories, suggestions, inventions and discoveries you have found. We will post them on our blog or in future emails so you can see the many ways we can all contribute to the Challenge.

For High School Teachers (and your students)...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Post Office Greens Its Roof

Keeping in line with the U.S. Postal Service’s goal to turn over a new, green leaf, the largest green roof in New York City wasrecently completed.

Found atop the Morgan mail processing building, a 2.2 million-square-foot facility, the green roof spans nearly 2.5 acres and overlooks Midtown Manhattan.

Fourteen Ipe Brazilian wood benches made from Forest Stewardship Council sustainable certified lumber are found among native plants and trees, including Calamagrostis grass on the roof.

Photo: Flickr/Pro-Zak

Photo: Flickr/Pro-Zak

“The Morgan green roof is the largest in New York and one of the largest in the country,” said Sam Pulcrano, vice president of Sustainability with the Postal Service. “Not only does it provide employees with a beautiful, serene outdoor environment, the green roof will help us meet our goal to reduce energy usage 30 percent by 2015.”

Read More at Earth911.