Dwell Tour of Energy Star Homes in Brooklyn

As part of BKLYN Designs 2009, a fabulous green design event that happens every May in Brooklyn, NY, Dwell Magazine toured five homes in the area to showcase innovative, contemporary and thoughtful design. Of the 5 homes we were so impressed with two of them because of their energy efficiency and use of sustainable materials. Sadly, we weren’t there first hand to tour the houses ourselves, but we may just have to make a trip to Brooklyn next spring to be there so we too can tour gorgeous homes like these.

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The Dwell Homes Tour in Brooklyn was a chance for local designers to showcase their remodels and new construction as well as to inspire design enthusiasts who were on hand for the BKLYN Designs show, which ran May 8-10th. Our two favorite homes were designed by the same firm, Coggan + Crawford Architecture Design and built by Giancola Contracting. Each residence is ENERGY STAR rated and is a remodel rather than new construction. The Clarke Residence is part of the Star Complex, a two-unit building, while the Barr Residence is part of the Cobble Hill Lofts, a condo development in Cobble Hill.

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Clarke Residence

The Clarkes and Andrew Giancola, the contractor for the project, reside in the two-unitStar Complex. It received its name after it became the first Energy Star rated building in Brooklyn. The beautiful remodel sits next to a church and even has views of the Statue of Liberty from its rooftop deck. When the new owners took possession of the building they wanted to retain as much of the original infrastructure as possible, but also update it and add on to create two residences. The original home structure was retained, refaced with stucco and given a number of new windows. Meanwhile, the addition was constructed from more modern materials like steel, concrete and metal siding.

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With an Energy Star rating, this means the building uses 30% less energy than required by code. Along with the significant energy savings, the southern facade in the rear boasts many windows that let the sun in during winter months to heat the concrete floors, which provide thermal mass to help heat the interior. In the summer, the metal balconies for the fire escape provide shade to keep out the summer sun. All of the windows are Low E and Argon filled. The roof has been slanted towards the south for photovoltaic panels. Lighting is provided by energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs and the air conditioner is non ozone depleting. Flooring for the rest of the house is either renewable bamboo or carpeting from Interface, which has a Cradle to Cradle™ certification.

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Barr Residence

One of the duplex lofts in the Cobble Hill Lofts, the Barr Residence is also Energy Star rated and a remodeled building. Originally it was two story, long, dark industrial building, which was transformed into a beautiful residential complex. In order to let more light and air into the individual units, Coggan + Crawford designed an open courtyard into the middle to give each unit more windows and natural daylight. Each unit has a very open loft-like floor plan with remnants of its electrical warehouse past present everywhere.

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During the remodel the original masonry shell, wood floor and roof joists were kept, minimizing demolition material that was sent to the landfill. Original concrete floors were also retained and refinished. And all appliances are Energy Star rated, and water saving devices like low flow toilets and faucets, and recirculation lines were used.

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Both houses were constructed from existing structures with the expert knowledge from Coggan + Crawford are shining examples of sustainable urban construction. As homes and buildings in our urban centers start to fail, we can only hope that their reconstruction is done as well and as sustainably as these two structures have been.

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