Snapshot Column Archives
Realizing the Behavioral Wedge — Getting Tenants Involved in Saving Energy
Mirele B. Goldsmith, Ph.D., Jun. 4, 2012
Commercial PACE Financing: An Innovative Way To Scale Up The Building Retrofit Market In NYC
J. Cullen Howe, Apr. 2, 2012
From MUSH To The City of Tomorrow: Taking District Energy To Urban Neighborhoods
Christina Grace, Feb. 2, 2012
Inconvenient No Longer
John Tepper Marlin, Jan. 3, 2012
The Sad Story Of The National Infrastructure Bank
Joyce Miller, Dec. 1, 2011
Faster, Stronger, Smarter: The Smart Grid's Informational Efficiency
Dania Nasser, Sep. 19, 2011
Over Our Heads: What Will Design Students Need To Know About The Revolution In Sustainable Roof Design?
Lynn Phillips, Aug. 1, 2011
New York City's Benchmarking Law: Does It Go Far Enough and Is It Fair To Building Owners?
Larry Schnapf, Jun. 15, 2011
Climate Change In The Supreme Court: Will Winners Be Losers?
Simon Wynn, Apr. 1, 2011
Historic Preservation & Passive House Working Together In NYC
Ken Levenson, A.I.A., Feb. 1, 2011
2011 Green Priorities for Albany
Marcia Bystryn, Dec. 15, 2010
C40: Hammer In Hong Kong
Stephen A. Hammer, Ph. D, Nov. 8, 2010
Disclosure: A Powerful Motivational Tool
Adam Hinge, Oct. 1, 2010
Finding the Proof of Energy Retrofits
Michael Bobker, Aug. 2, 2010
Green Buildings & Perverse Incentives
Albert F. Appleton, Jun. 1, 2010
The Switch: A Green Reporter's New Beat
Alec Appelbaum, Apr. 1, 2010
Hiding In Plain Sight
Victoria Anstead, Mar. 2, 2010
Smart Building Technolgy: Not Smart Enough
Stephen Samouhos, Jan. 1, 2010
Advancing Energy Efficiency in Russia
Mark Izeman, Nov. 3, 2009
Blue/Green — Making It Work Takes Work
Ed Ott, Aug. 31, 2009
Transparency & Innovation: Open Data For Green Building
Bomee Jung, Jul. 1, 2009
Climate Change & Environmental Impact Statements
Michael B. Gerrard, Jun. 1, 2009
Another Berkeley FIRST
Mayor Tom Bates, Mar. 1, 2009
New Space, New Faces
John Tepper Marlin, Feb. 2, 2009
Taming the Concrete Dragon?
Stephen Hammer & Elizabeth Balkan, Dec. 1, 2008
Caroline G. Harris, Oct. 1, 2008
International Influences on City Sustainability Plans
Gail Karlsson, Aug. 1, 2008
Growing Green Collar Jobs in NYC
Joanne Derwin, Jul. 2, 2008
USGBC to Accredit Green-Building Certifiers
John Tepper Marlin, Jun. 5, 2008
Energy Efficiency in NYC: The Problem of Split Incentives
Kate Bashford, Apr. 7, 2008
Wendy Fleischer, Feb. 1, 2008
The Status of LEED in NYC, Positive Lessons
John Tepper Marlin, Dec. 3, 2007
The Healthy School and The Sustainable City
Stephen Boese, Oct. 1, 2007
The Green Manufacturing Scene
Sara Garretson, Jul. 31, 2007
Energy and Environmental Reality Check
Peter Fusaro, May. 30, 2007
Plant-Based Heat for Your Home
John S. Nettleton, Apr. 16, 2007
The Color of Money
Jon Lukomnik, Mar. 1, 2007
Saving Energy In Existing Residential Buildings
Richard Leigh, P.E. & Eduardo Guerra, Jan. 4, 2007
Birth of 21st Century Construction in Harlem
The Full Spectrum Team, Nov. 1, 2006
To Move Mountains, Fix Markets
Charles Komanoff, Sep. 27, 2006
Make Room for Green Work
Jenifer Becker, Aug. 29, 2006
What is DG and Why Should We Care?
Michael Bobker, Jun. 30, 2006
Beyond Pilot Projects
City of New York DDC, May. 24, 2006
David Bergman, Jan. 2, 2006
Re-Sus-Citate Resilience and Sustainability for the Health of our City
December 02, 2013
By: Michele Oberholtzer
Like a somber "talking-to" from a family doctor, Superstorm Sandy forced New Yorkers to face an uncomfortable reality: the irresponsible lifestyle we have lived for so long has put us at risk, and we must take significant measures to preserve our health going forward. It will take a dual approach of both sustainability and resilience to prevent and respond to the threats of climate change. These issues are as important as they are complex, so let's borrow some familiar concepts from medicine to understand what they mean for the health of our city.
In healthcare, we recognize a need for both preventative care — avoiding problems before they arise — and curative care — anticipating problems that will come about despite our best efforts to prevent them. The health of the urban environment is no different. When it comes to climate change, sustainability means "reducing it" whereas resilience means "reducing its impacts." In one case we are trying to prevent something from happening, in the other we are trying to mitigate the negative impact when it does. While the two issues are complementary, their differences are important. "Sustainability" and "resilience" are not synonyms, but rather complementary forces, a yin and yang, which must be tackled in equal measure.
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Buildings Tell The Truth
October 07, 2013
By: Chris Benedict, R.A.
Buildings always tell the truth and my passion for buildings is boundless, sometimes I feel my heart will explode as I walk through a construction site, a deep rush of joy. I started my Architecture office in 1995 never dreaming of the fulfillment I've had over a career of innovation, breakthroughs, setbacks and celebrations. Over those years my office has been responsible for leading the way in the critical area of what is now called building performance, but what I prefer to think of as an artful quest for refined elegance in the infrastructure of buildings. Always inventing, always implementing, always questioning, always learning and going where most Architecture firms fear to tread, my firm has changed the industry and taught the profession by showing what is possible.
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Building Efficiency and Blower Doors: Essential Responses to Sandy
August 01, 2013
By: Ken Levenson, A.I.A.
Superstorm Sandy has produced a torrent of meetings, plans, reports, announcements and actions by city, state, federal and non-governmental organizations. Today, before their terms expire, the New York City Council and Mayor are racing to pass important legislation based on these past months of herculean effort. While the action may be understandably focused on measures directly related to storm survival of our built environment from wind and flood damage, systemic failures of water, transportation, power and other services — legislative efforts thus far have focused on the symptoms of our problems and not the root causes.
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Language Matters, Or What Should I Do With My Banana Peel?
June 01, 2013
By: Kendall Christiansen
Let's talk about paradigm shifts and disruptive technologies — when and where they're least expected, in places usually out of sight/out of mind.
Today, big changes are underway in the nation's utilities that manage what used to be called sewage, or wastewater; changes with the potential for answering the question of how best to deal with your banana peel while forging the future of energy self-sufficiency.
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Getting Serious About Daylighting
April 01, 2013
By: Yetsuh Frank
In the aftermath of Sandy, the New York City environmental community has been consumed with questions of resiliency and reconstruction. While these subjects are of pressing importance, it's critical that we do not focus solely on adaption to climate change impacts, or grow lackadaisical in our efforts to curb the consumption of energy. It would be even more unforgivable if we ignore an area of action and study that might benefit the goals of both adaptation and mitigation. Resiliency is mostly concerned with how to ensure our buildings remain habitable in the absence of electricity. Efficiency is mostly concerned with designing systems that use as little electricity as possible to provide the same service. Taking advantage of daylight to brighten our interiors rather than electric lighting addresses both concerns.
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From Evolution to Revolution: Enabling Clean Energy at the Edge of the Electric Grid
February 14, 2013
By: Thomas Bourgeois & William Pentland
On October 29th, 2012, Superstorm Sandy slammed into New York City's shoreline. In the days and weeks that followed, the New York City Subway system and all but one of the road tunnels entering Manhattan experienced debilitating flooding, entire neighborhoods like Breezy Point, Queens were virtually eviscerated and several major hospitals, including Bellevue Hospital Center and NYU's Langone Center, were forced to evacuate. For the first time since 1888, the New York Stock Exchange was forced to close for two consecutive days due to weather. Millions of customers in New York City and on Long Island lost power — many for days and weeks — due to Sandy.
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Obama's First-Term Eco-Legacy and the Road Ahead
November 26, 2012
By: John Tepper Marlin
President Obama achieved a great deal in his first term to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy. But his objective of making significant progress to slow climate change was not achieved. It was beaten by the fossil-fuel lobby acting through the know-nothing opposition of Tea Party Republicans or their brow-beaten colleagues.
With his reelection, in the teeth of huge spending by his opponents, the President is in a good position to get through some of his original program that was left on the table. The lessons of Hurricane Sandy may help his case.
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Deficit Could Be X-Factor for Carbon Tax
October 10, 2012
By: Charles Komanoff
Is a carbon tax back in play in Washington? A flurry of articles in the past few months suggests so. Carbon tax resuscitators include not just professional advocates like myself or trade journalists looking to churn controversy but highly regarded pundits like Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank.
Yes, wonks like Klein and economists like Frank are hard-wired to love carbon taxes. Econ 101 teaches that the fastest and most efficient way to discourage an activity or commodity is to raise its price — and for good reason. A price signal touches just about every use and user, whereas more familiar routes like regulating the activity or subsidizing alternatives are too inherently indirect and slow unless joined to a clear and transparent rise in price. That's why taxes on cigarettes preceded smoking restrictions, and why we don't subsidize chewing gum and Life Savers. (And why a soda tax might have been a smarter policy for NYC than Mayor Bloomberg's super-cup ban.)
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Are Building Owners Leaving Money on the Energy Efficiency Table?
August 01, 2012
By: Elizabeth Brooke Stein
In the hot summer of 2012, why would it still be necessary to convince anyone that saving energy is a good idea? With energy security and climate change concerns converging on energy efficiency as a key adaptive opportunity, it seems entirely self-evident from many perspectives. New buildings are increasingly designed and constructed with energy in mind, as building codes have increasingly required new buildings to meet higher efficiency standards — and in some real estate market segments, such as high-end office properties, certifications that buildings exceed the standards imposed by code (e.g., EnergyStar or LEED) increasingly represent a market norm.
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