March 13, 2015

Washington Square Park House: A Model for Low Carbon Design


On February 27th, BKSK went before members of the New York City Council, at their invitation, to present design solutions that work toward a carbon-balanced future. The event, entitled the “Site Sourced and Stored Renewable Energy Conference,” was convened by the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, and featured leading voices from a wide cross-section of government agencies, building industries, and environmental advocates.

The primary objective of this day-long meeting was to explore pathways to achieving Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over 2005 levels by 2050, a bold imperative that requires meaningful cooperation. BKSK’s George Schieferdecker and Jennifer Preston, and joined by Michael McGough of BuroHappold, presented the recently completed Park House at Washington Square, a model for how civic buildings can support the city’s move toward carbon neutrality. Two energy-conscious approaches taken with the Park House—which is on track to achieve LEED Platinum certification—are ground source heat and a site-specific blend of passive design and active sustainable technologies.

Speaking directly to council members, Jennifer made it clear that technology alone is not the answer. Sustainable design must prioritize passive strategies, like maximizing daylight, strategic facade shading, building orientation, natural ventilation, and well-insulated walls. These cost-effective solutions, applicable to a certain degree to all buildings of all scales in the city, are the low-hanging fruit of achieving the goal of 80% reduction by 2050.

BKSK, a longtime leader in advancing sustainable design in the public realm, is proud to have contributed to this critical dialogue about the future of our city. We strongly hope it is the first of many more.


Learn more from our presentation to the Committee on Environmental Protection

If you prefer, click here to download the presentation directly.