March 10, 2008

Energy- Benny Farm

1. NYPA Municipal CoOP Project
2. Local CoOP Programs that utilize hydo-electric/wind power to power communities

* Drastically reduces
water and electricity energy usage
* Cost reduction in monthly bills due to lower energy rates
* Facilitates community building amongst shareholders through shared responsibility over utility maintenance

This urban, landscape and architectural project proposes an unprecedented integration of buildings, infrastructure and community-driven housing development. This project guides the sustainable construction and renovation of 187 units on four properties, and links each with a shared green infrastructure. A non-profit, community-run utility company will oversee the ownership, management and continual re-investment in sustainable construction for this common energy, water and waste infrastructure. Designed to expand in phases, the project
provides a protocol for construction that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, potable water use, the production of waste water, and the production of solid waste through retrofitting, reuse and waste diversion.

This new model for collectively driven sustainable construction was developed by the many stakeholders who have moved the Benny Farm redevelopment forward for over a decade, private and public, from grassroots groups to the City of Montreal. Three non-profit housing organizations will benefit from the first phase (COOP CHEZ SOI, Project ZOO, and HCNDG). The Benny Farm property was developed in 1947 to provide housing for WWII veterans and

their families. The redevelopment plan is designed to support the socio-cultural heritage of the site and the proud legacy of the appropriation of buildings and common spaces by the original tenants. This infrastructure project will be directed by the new tenants of Benny Farm.

The project integrates a series of systems, existing and new, both between and within all buildings involved. Building and Facility protocols focus on reuse, heightened air quality, durable construction, and energy efficient envelopes. Energy systems involve geothermal heat exchange, hybrid glycol/electric solar power, radiant heating, and both air- and water-based heat recovery. Water systems involve grey-water and storm-water reuse, wetland treatment and percolation, and sub-grade water-table recharge. These systems are interconnected and mutually dependent. All systems contribute to the sustainable and continued development of Benny Farm, and all systems increase the quality of life for the users.

these are some good pics as well.

Although developed for affordable housing projects on Benny Farm, this model is designed to be copied. Most energy comes from renewable sources, so partners are significantly protected from increases in energy costs. Water use is reduced by more than half, so partners are shielded from increases to water taxes or meter rates. The economic, social and environmental dividends created by reduced energy and water use are balanced between the partners, system maintenance and monitoring, and future re-investment into new technologies and collective amenities.

what i find most interesting about this project is that the infrastructure is integrated right into an existing community. it is new construction but on a much higher level. it is very different from the isolated communities proposed by the EcoVillage project of the UK and other US projects. the benny farm idea is not a transitional one, but the end result. it is acting as a model for future development to be both environmentally sustainable and economical for its tenants. this project realizes the direct connection to those two concepts--exhibiting how they can work together to create a much better lifestyle. one does not have to pay large amounts to be environmentally conscious; on the contrary, one should be doing the exact opposite.

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