Thursday, April 12, 2007

Regulations Cause Green Developers to Fall Short of Energy Goals

Sure, the Durst Organization may be making headlines with its development of One Bryant Park, the first skyscraper in NYC set to gain the US Green Building Council's coveted LEED Platinum rating. But before there was One Bryant Park, there was the Helena, a 38-story, 580-unit apartment building on Manhattan's west side that opened its doors in 2005 to wide acclaim from urban treehuggers. The building is one of few residential high rise developments in the country to earn a LEED Gold rating [pdf] – or any LEED rating at all, for that matter.

Energy efficiency played an important role in helping the Helena reach its LEED goals. The building features an array of solar panels and an innovative combined heat and power "microturbine" that produces electricity from natural gas and uses the waste heat from the process to control the temperature inside the building (e.g., heating in winter). Unfortunately, a raft of new city regulations have kept the turbines at the Helena – and other green apartment buildings – from getting switched on.

Co-generation (the process of using waste heat from energy production to increase efficiency) will play an important role in conserving electricity in NYC in the years ahead. NYU is moving forward with plans for its own (controversial) co-gen plant, and with the new building at 65 5th Avenue still in the early design stages, there's a chance that microturbines may find their way onto the New School campus within the next decade.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

History of the GF

(Found this in the backwoods of the NSSR website... enjoy.)

On it's 35th Anniversary:
A Short History of the GF at 65 Fifth Avenue
~ Yannet Lathrop

Thanks to Librarian Carmen Hendershott at the Raymond Fogelman Library for her assistance with this article.

Thirty-five years ago, the Albert List Academic Center at 65 Fifth Avenue - better known by current students simply as "the GF building" - first opened its doors as the main site for the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. But before the building bustled with students, 65 Fifth Avenue had a life - or two - all its own.

65 Fifth Avenue is an historical address. As late as 1881, it was a four-story brownstone, under lease to house the headquarters of Thomas Edison's "new" electrical company. On April 4 of the same year, it had its fifteen minutes of fame when it became the first building to be lit exclusively by electricity.

Sometime after 1881, the brownstone was demolished and, in 1951, 65 Fifth Avenue was turned into the New York City home of Lanes department store, a Canadian enterprise famous during its heyday for women's hats.

Around 1967, 65 Fifth Avenue was acquired by the New School for Social Research, and its renovation for educational use began under the guidance of architects Frederick G. Frost, Jr. and associates. The acquisition and renovation of the building was partially funded by the U.S. Office of Education and the New York State Dormitory Authority.

The building originally was to be "devoted exclusively to the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, which was established in 1933, and has experienced a dramatic growth in enrollment since 1960," according to "A Home for the Graduate Faculty," an article printed in the New School Bulletin, Vol. 25, No. 3 (October 1967).

In 1968, 65 Fifth Avenue was officially named the Albert List Academic Center, in honor of University Trustee Albert List, whose funding and support for the renovation of the building for academic use were invaluable. Other important figures who made the renovation of the building possible were New York businessmen Meshulam Riklis and Arthur Cohen.

On February 3, 1969, the Graduate Faculty opened the 65 Fifth Avenue building for classes. Around the time of the building's inauguration, then GF Dean Joseph Greenbaum pledged, "We will make every effort during this period of expansion to preserve the character of the Graduate Faculty as an institution which places emphasis on an international academic community." This promise has been well kept.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ken Yeang @ Mixed Greens

Ken Yeang, a leading theorist and practitioner of environmentally enlightened building design, will deliver a lecture on his work at the New York Academy of Sciences on April 5. This will be the fourth lecture in the "Mixed Greens" series sponsored by the Academy and the NY Skyscraper Museum. The lectures are all hosted at the Academy's new home on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center, one of the newest LEED-certified buildings in New York.

This particular lecture promises to be informative and inspiring. I hope to see all of you there.

For more information or to purchase a reservation, visit Mixed Greens.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

GBSC Bulletin

The first Language of Leed session was so productive!

After the stellar (it was stellar, and I don't use the word often) presentation by Phil, we discussed the best way to frame any greening initiative regarding the new 65 Fifth Av. Obviously, a sparkly green and fantastically innovative building/statement/educational device is a no-brainer for those of us who have given the situation some thought. But there are indeed hurdles (both psychological and practical) to overcome if we want to see this building actually take a meaningful shape. We spent the bulk of the hour identifying these hurdles, then brainstormed (brain category five hurricaned!) on the best ways to circumvent them.

So kudos to Phil and kudos to all in attendance. Cant wait for the next one...

And yeah...
Monday, April 9, 3:00 p.m.

The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor.

A town hall meeting is scheduled to acquaint the university community with the work of the IDEO, a preeminent design and innovation firm that has been invited by The New School to advise in the design of a new building at 65 Fifth Avenue. A presentation and conversation with IDEO designer Fred Dust will take place, so the firm can get a better sense of The New School as a community and understand how we use our spaces, things that will factor into the design of the new building.

I don't want to sound incredulous but... I think it is appropriate that we attend this meeting.

Hot f**king balls, I think it is appropriate that we attend this meeting!

: )

Monday, February 26, 2007


To the NSSC's Green Buildings Sub-committee blog!

Remember: It’s not just the physical walls of the classroom that are at stake here, it’s the tenability of the values put forth inside - let’s put into practice what we preach.