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New York City needs little intIMG_2724roduction! From the bright lights, sirens, yellow cabs, dramatic skyline, and a frantic pace of life, this megapolis doesn’t do anything by halves. But how does it approach sustainable design and construction in a city that is always “bigger, brighter, better, faster”?

I have been working remotely for Grigoriou Interiors from the Big Apple for the past 2 years, supporting the London office on sustainable commercial and retail projects. I thought it was high time to explore the local real estate scene and start learning what makes the sustainability movement in NYC tick.


Where did I go?

The first Urban Green Council’s members drinks “happy hour”; Urban Green are the New York Chapter affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

What is the Urban Green Council?

Established as a non-profit in 2002, Urban Green focuses on creating a more sustainable city. Specifically, working to make a difference in the New York City building world, and helping to transform the built environment in New York City with models that can be replicated in urban centers nationwide. With in-house technical staff and a network of expert members their work is based on core development in policy, research, and education.

Who attended?

50 old and new members were milling about breaking ice over drinks and nibbles. I met friendly faces representing all walks of industry professionals, including consulting engineers, LEED-qualified sustainability consultants, energy modelers, and a commercial recycled furniture producer, as well as many of the Urban Green council members. The majority of people were involved in large scale residential projects – New York is undergoing a luxury real estate boom – or tackling energy reduction in the remainder of New York’s ageing building stock. A lot of practices were involved in cross-US and international projects, too.

What were people talking about?

Educating employees and clients to LEED v.4, conquering the new local energy codes, and opinions on the WELL Building certification seemed to be the hot topics of the evening.

I certainly have my work cut out to get up to speed! Watch out for further updates in the next weeks and months and if you have any particular topics you would like me to approach or events I shouldn’t miss, please do let me know.