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Sustainable Design

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Overview

Although New York City is perceived as a primarily “urban” place, DDC’s projects are located in a variety of settings, from parkland to dense urban neighborhoods. Respect for these neighborhoods is expressed in the design, orientation, and scale of the buildings, and through the creation of accessible outdoor space. New York City is an urban heat island, and DDC has emphasized strategies that mitigate heat absorption, such as light-colored, reflective roofs and paving, as well as tree-planting and green screens. Sustainable landscape practices have been used on all of these pilot projects, including selection of native, drought-resistant plants, use of structural soils, enlarged tree pits, and other sustainable planting techniques. Stormwater control has been achieved with increased site permeability, dry wells, detention tanks and constructed wetlands—important strategies because they help reduce the frequency of NYC’s combined storm-sanitary sewer overflows into the rivers and estuaries that surround the city.

 
Bronx County Hall of Justice
Design commenced 1995

Stormwater detained on site
Permeability increased
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Neighborhood
connectionsreinforced

Increased site
permeability,
stormwater detention
tanks
Light-colored, high-
reflectance and low-
emissivity roofing
Extensive green roof on
parking area
Plaza shaded with
trees; light-colored
paving used
Native, drought-
resistant plants
Located near subways
and commuter rail
Bicycle racks and
showers
Building’s height and
configuration designed
to minimize shadows
and enhance public
plaza

ACS Children's Center
Design commenced 1998

Neighborhood scale
and culture reinforced
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated

Adapted reuse of
historic McKim Mead
and White building
Urban setting near
public transportation
Light-colored paving
used in sidewalk and
vehicle drop-off

Queens Botanical Garden
Design commenced in 1999

100% of stormwater
retained and cleansed
on site
Landscape and building
integrated—open space
protected and restored
Grey water retained
and cleansed on site
Urban Heat Island
Effect reduced
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Brownfield redeveloped
Light pollution reduced

Rainwater cleansed in
cleansing biotope; grey
water cleansed in a
constructed wetland
Native, drought-
resistant plants
Extensive green roof,
light-colored where not
planted
Parking permeable,
varying with usage
Designated carpool
parking and charging
stations for electric
vehicles
Bicycle racks and
showers

George R Vierno Center Dormitory
Design commenced 1999

Alternate transportation
encouraged
Nighttime light
pollution reduced

Light-colored, reflective
roofing used
Light-colored paving
used
Shuttle bus to public
transportation provided
for staff
Bicycle racks and
showers available for
staff
Exterior luminaries with
cut-off

Williamsburg Daycare Center
Design commenced 1999

Neighborhood scale
and culture reinforced
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Nighttime light pollution
reduced
Street tree health and
longevity enhanced

Light-colored, reflective
roofing used
Light-colored paving
used
Shuttle bus to public
transportation provided
for staff
Bicycle racks and
showers available for
staff
Exterior luminaries with
cut-off

NY Hall of Science:
Design commenced 2000

Open space protected
and restored
Stormwater retained on
site
Alternate transportation
nearby
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Community outdoor
recreation and program
space provided

Existing paving
removed and replaced
with meadow
Native grasses,
wildflowers, and
drought-resistant plants
Light-colored roofing
Light-colored paving
used
Urban setting near
public transportation

Carl F Kauffeld House of Reptiles:
Design commenced 2000

Open space protected
and restored
Community space
provided
Education program
about different
environments
Alternate transportation
available

Adjacent trees and
planting protected from
construction
Bio-diverse exhibits
with educational
material
Erosion and
sedimentation control
plan
Urban setting near
public transportation

Kensington Branch Library:
Design commenced 2001

Stormwater run-off
reduced
Alternate transportation
nearby
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Nighttime light pollution
reduced

Native drought-
resistant plantings;
permeable paving
Light-colored, high-
reflectance, low-
emissivity roofing
Skylights and windows
screened to limit
bothersome light
escape at night
Urban setting near
public transportation

Lion House Conservation:
Design commenced 2002

Open space and
surrounding historic
structures protected
Cultural enhancement
of zoo experience
Stormwater run-off
reduced
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Nighttime light pollution
reduced

Restored historic
building revitalizes
central zoo
Site landscaping
designed to decrease
run-off
Native, drought-
resistant plants
Landscaping and trees
shade 30% of paved
areas
Designated carpool
parking and charging
stations for electric
vehicles
Urban setting near
public transportation;
designated carpool
parking
Bicycle racks and
showers

New Sunrise Yard:
Design commenced 2003

Brownfield redeveloped
Neighborhood scale
reinforced, disturbance
minimized
Stormwater run-off
reduced 75%
Increased open space
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Nighttime light pollution
reduced
Air pollution reduced
during construction

Site setbacks, activities
screened from street
Noisy cooling
equipment located
within roof, away from
neighbors
Security designed
without intrusive night
lighting
Light-colored, high-
reflectance, low-
emissivity roofing
Light-colored paving
used
Permeable parking,
drywells
Designated carpool
parking, bicycle racks
and showers
Urban setting near
public transportation
Ultra-low sulfur
fuel/clean technology
used in construction

Brooklyn Children’s Museum:
Design commenced 2004

Community space
provided
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Open space protected
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Nighttime light pollution
reduced
Air pollution reduced
during construction

Museum integrated into
Brower Park
Roof terrace and
landscaped areas used
for museum programs
Adjacent parkland
protected
Light-colored, high-
reflectance, low-
emissivity roofing
Light-colored paving
used
Urban setting near
public transportation
Bicycle racks and
showers
Ultra-low sulfur fuel and
clean technology used
in construction vehicles

Office of Emergency Management:
Design commenced 2004

Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Nighttime light pollution
reduced
Air pollution reduced
during construction

Light-colored (high-
albedo) roofing used –
reflectance of 66.6%,
emissivity of 0.93
Light-colored (high-
albedo) concrete
paving and sidewalks
Existing site trees
protect and shade
parking lot and the
front of the building
Native, drought-
resistant plants
Designated carpool
parking (5 spaces) and
charging stations for 7
electric vehicles
Urban setting near
public transportation
Bicycle racks and
showers
Exterior site lighting
shielded from night sky
pollution
Ultra-low sulfur fuel and
clean technology used
in construction vehicles

Glen Oaks Branch Library:
Design commenced 2005

Stormwater retained
and cleansed on site,
collected for reuse
Neighborhood scale
reinforced and outdoor
community space
provided
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Nighttime light pollution
reduced
Brownfield redeveloped
Air pollution reduced
during construction

Library has a
landscaped public
plaza, with integrated
planters
Below-grade space
keeps building massing
consistent with the
neighborhood
Stormwater detention
system, with cleansing
Energy Star® roofing,
with high emissivity
Exterior lighting by
shielded step lights, no
pole or wall-mounted
fixtures
Urban setting near
public transportation
Bicycle racks and
showers
Ultra-low sulfur fuel and
clean technology to be
used in construction
vehicles
Buried oil tanks
removed

Weeksville Heritage Center:
Design commenced 2005

Scale and character of
historic complex
enhanced
Open space protected,
maintaining a
community resource in
a dense urban area
Stormwater 100%
retained and cleansed
on site
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Nighttime light pollution
reduced
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Air pollution reduced
during construction

Open space developed
as an interpretive
landscape exhibit,
recalling 19th Century
setting
Bio-swale filters and
channels storm run-off
to constructed wetland.
Surplus water drained
to existing drywell
Permeable, open-grid
parking
Designated carpool
parking and bicycle
racks and showers
Urban setting near
public transportation
Ultra-low sulfur fuel and
clean technology to be
used in construction
vehicles

Remsen Yard:
Design commenced 2005

Stormwater 100%
retained on site
Stormwater from roof
areas collected/
cleansed for site reuse,
saving 1.4 million
gallons potable water
annually
Alternate transportation
encouraged
Urban Heat Island
Effect mitigated
Air pollution reduced
during construction

Roof rainwater
collected in 10,000
gallon tank for reuse.
Site rainwater collected
in a 72,000-gallon
retention tank
Oil separators improve
run-off quality
Bio-swale cleanses
rainwater and returns it
to aquifer
Plants such as gingko,
bald cypress,
serviceberry, switch
grass, and red twig
dogwood, which
tolerate both wet and
dry conditions
Light-colored, high-
reflectance, low-
emissivity roofing
Paved maintenance
yard is shaded by roof
(45,000 sf)
Preferred parking
locations for DEP hybrid
low-emission vehicles;
no employee parking
on site; near public
transportation
Bicycle racks and
showers



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