Ellen Honigstock Architect PC launches the Toeprint Project

30 01 2009


Welcome to the Toeprint Project.

Toeprint definition: a very tiny footprint; a small part of your larger footprint.
Project definition: a temporary collective endeavor involving research and design, carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.

The Toeprint Project will be a year-long process meant to bridge the gap between the desire to make our homes and businesses more sustainable and actually having the tools and capability to do so.

Each week for 52 weeks, we will publish a different strategy aimed towards making buildings more efficient, durable, healthier for the occupants or otherwise more sustainable. We will interview experts and bring you relevant up-to-date information about pricing, the pros, cons and trade-offs inherent in various strategies and even offer discounts and giveaways whenever we can make it happen.

We chose the period of a year because while reducing energy, water and material consumption, it is very difficult to chart progress on a daily or weekly or even monthly basis. Stick with us and we will provide metrics for you to measure your progress throughout the Project.

Who are we and why are we doing this?

We are a small architectural firm based in Brooklyn in New York City. Our residential and commercial projects are generally on the small side and it seems like no matter how green we make them, the resulting improvements to the environment are barely noticeable. We know that reducing consumption of resources is not an easy process. It takes work and commitment and plenty of tools and expertise.

Over the past 18 months, we have published various findings that interest us at Brooklyn Green but our reach was limited. We want to share our knowledge in order to have a more significant impact on the environment.

We often give talks teaching people how to make their homes and lifestyles more sustainable and the one response we almost always get is an appreciative thank you for “putting all that information in one place”.

We’re firm believers in well-roundedness so the Toeprint Project will touch on areas of Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, Community, Food, Health, Indoor Air Quality, Material & Resource Consumption, Water Conservation and Zero Waste.

As you will see, the strategies will range from minor lifestyle changes to fairly complex infrastructural analyses. We hope to make all the strategies interesting and accessible to anyone without previous expertise in these areas so as to “spread the sustainability” and reduce each of our carbon footprints to a mere toeprint.

You can subscribe to the feed here. Join us!

Ellen Honigstock, RA, LEED AP
Ellen Honigstock Architect PC


Shades of Green Benefit Concert

6 11 2008

shadesposterShades of Green {Benefit Concert}

The BAG Fund is a Brooklyn-based nonprofit whose mission is to help support the creative process by providing artists with studio space and technical support at critical points in their life cycle.

This Friday November 7th The BAG Fund hosts its inaugural fundraiser Shades of Green from 8pm to 12am. This will be a green benefit concert held at the LEED certified Center for the Urban Environment and represents the growing intersection between the green movement and the artist community. Proceeds from this fundraiser will make it possible to award high school and single parent artists with studio space to create a new body of work. The title Shades of Green refers to TBF’s role as a supportive agent of the creative ecosystem – promoting sustainability for art and artists.

Shades of Green

Date: Friday November 7

Place: Center for the Urban Environment | 168 Seventh Street BK, NYC 11215

Time: 8pm to 12am; VIP reception 6pm – 8pm

Sounds by :: DJ MISS MOCHA

Performances by :: MIKE GAMBLE, Chen Lo, BABA ISRAEL with YAKO 440

General Admission is $45 in advance and $50 at the door.

VIP tickets include a catered reception from 6pm to 8pm. VIP tickets are $125 each or $200 for two. VIP ticket holders also receive a Shades of Green bag and t-shirt, both made from 100% recycled material.

For tickets: http://www.nycharities.org/event/event.asp?CE_ID=3198

For information visit: http://thebagfund.org <http://thebagfund.org/&gt;


About the Artists

Trained at New England Conservatory, Mike Gamble performs regularly with his own groups including hip-hop/rock unit A.D.M., indie rockers Scrambler/Seequill, and his jazz trio The Inbetweens. He also tours throughout the States and Europe with Pete Robbins Centric, Gato Loco, the Brooklyn Qawwali Party, and Todd Sickafoose’s Blood Orange.

Chen Lo uses his skill as an emcee in the spirit of West African oral traditions adding a contemporary relevance. He has shared the stage with the likes of The Roots, Dead Prez, Common, Erykah Badu, KRS-ONE, Brand Nubian, Amanda Diva, A Tribe Called Quest, Xzibit and has done work with Abiodun Oyewole of the legendary Last Poets.

Dynamic duo Baba Israel and Yako 440 brings together two artists with a range of skills that combine to produce quality music and an exciting and high energy show. Baba Israel is known for his freestyle ability, powerful lyrics, and booming Beatbox beats. He has joined forces with Yako 440, a multi-instrumentalist/graffiti artist who plays the bass, triggers beats, cuts, and Beatboxes with the best of them.

This years Brooklyn Designs, 2008

13 05 2008

“Locally Grown, Internationally Known” read the headlines for this years 6th annual BKLYNDESIGNS in DUMBO, hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce this past weekend, Friday May 9, Saturday May 10th and Sunday May 11th. If you missed it this year, be sure to check it out next year!

Close to 70 Exhibitors displayed their work in 4 locations around DUMBO (all in very close proximity) at St. Anns Warehouse, DUMBO Arts Center (DAC), Smack Mellon, and BD+ Tobacco Warehouse. Below are just some of the images taken from each of the 4 display locations:

St. Anns Warehouse:

Written display at entry wall

Handmade furniture display by City Joinery

contemporary handblown glass

Sculptural led bug lighting designs by Site Specific Design


Some of the Images of exhibitors at the DUMBO Arts Center:

Loved the toy “you put it together” version of the real thing, Mini Bamba by EcoSystems

This mini model kit measures about 4″ assembled, and mimics the larger Bamba (seen behind) version that you can really sit in. The chair is made of bamboo with no hardware required.

From the Source, handcrafted furnishings


and at Smack Mellon

Industrial Art from reclaimed wood featured by, Eric Johnston

Lighting fixtures displayed within the record album dividers by Nicholas Furrow, featured conventional items such as a honey jar and strainer used in an unconventional way.

And if you’re looking for a skateboard made of scraps, you may find what you’re looking for at Funkinfunction Longboards


and last but not least, the Tobacco Warehouse:

At the entry

The Tobacco Warehouse building primarily featured jewelry and textiles

Growing our own clean air – seeds are planted

21 02 2008

Finally…we’re back after 2 weeks of being sick.

These are the seeds we received from Whatcom Seed Co. Of all the plants in the How to Grow Fresh Air book, these were the only ones we could find online. If you remember from our previous post, we’re trying to grow indoor plants that will contribute to clean air both in our homes and in the office.


Here is a picture of the seeds, the big ones are the palm seeds and the tiny flea-sized ones are the rubber plant seeds. They both came with very explicit planting instructions. I’m no gardener but we did the best we could.

For the Palm seeds, Whatcom’s instructions said to soak the seeds in warm water for a few days if they appear dry so we did.


For germination, the instructions said to use “peat, cocofibre or similar media”. We couldn’t find any at our local nursery so we used homemade compost (I take no responsibility for this – composting, including picking out the worms, is entirely my husband’s project) and mixed it with vermiculite. We added the seeds and put the whole mess into a ziploc bag. Now we wait. The instructions say that “seeds take anything from 2 weeks to 2 years (or more) to germinate, however most will sprout after 4-6 weeks”. So I guess it’s a race to see if these seeds will germinate before my unborn child finishes gestating in 10 weeks!


For the Rubber Tree seeds, the instructions were much simpler: “sow them on the surface of a peaty compost mix, keep it moist, cover the container with a piece of glass or clear plastic and leave in a temperature of approximately 70 degrees F in a location that receives diffused light”. Germination is expected in 15-90 days.


Stay tuned.

Seminar on Green Restoration and Renovation

9 11 2007

On Saturday, December 1, 1 to 5 pm, City Tech is conducting a Seminar on Green Restoration and Renovation, geared towards brownstone owners.

The cost is $35/person and there will be a very interesting slate of speakers, including architects, materials suppliers, contractors and developers to discuss various ways to green your home, including information about available tax incentives. Conservation representatives from Keyspan and Con Ed will be on hand to discuss issues of energy efficiency. As the Green Residential Building Advocate for the USGBC-NYC chapter, I will be speaking about the LEED for Homes rating system.

Click on the link for more information.


Rice restaurant – really great recycling efforts!

28 07 2007

I saw this flyer when I went for lunch at Rice in DUMBO last week. I emailed David, the owner, in support of all these efforts and we ended up having a great meeting about all things sustainable as related to our neighborhood.

He’s got 4 restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn, including their main kitchen, right here in DUMBO. He recently made an agreement with Added Value, a farm in Red Hook to take the kitchen scraps and compost them. The farm mulches the scraps so that they will compost more efficiently.

He also converted his van, with much difficulty, to bio-diesel to run off the restaurant’s own used and filtered frying oil. Here’s a picture of the containers they use to bring the kitchen waste over to the farm. It’s such a clean operation.