2013 Winner: Verdant Brainiac

The most scalable green renovation project, particularly one that is innovative and overcame significant challenges.

Who led the charge

 

Team

Ashish Dua                   Co-Managing Member, Acumen Capital Partners

Ashish Dua is Co-Managing Member with Jeffrey Rosenblum at Acumen Capital Partners LLC. The company specializes in the reuse of existing urban commercial properties in New York City’s outer boroughs. Acumen currently holds a portfolio in excess of 1,000,000 square feet, primarily located in Williamsburg and Long Island City.

Standard Motor Products Building - Brooklyn Grange, Queens, NY
Rooftop Above Commercial Office Building     43,000 sq. ft.

Brooklyn Grange partnered with Acumen Capital Partners LLC, the owners of the Standard Motor Products Building, in 2010 to install a fully organic rooftop farm.

The building's roof structure was carefully analyzed to ensure that it was capable of supporting the additional 35-50 pounds per square foot of weight. Bundles of soil were hoisted to the roof via crane where Brooklyn Grange volunteers used small lightweight tools to distribute the soil across the entire one-acre roof.

A combination of the soil and plant life managed to keep nearly 3,000,000 gallons of rainwater out of the already burdened NYC sewer system since its completion in 2010, and has also led to a small reduction in the building’s energy usage (six percent). 

Jerry Caldari | President, Bromley Caldari Architects P.C.
Ben Flanner | President, Brooklyn Grange
Jeffrey Rosenblum | Co-Managing Member, Acumen Capital Partners

 
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In addition to its environmental contributions, the farm at the SMP Building has been visited by over 4,000 schoolchildren, developed an educational curriculum, started an internship program and has evolved into an international research and education hub attracting farmers, scientists, and academics from all over the world.

Brooklyn Grange has already replicated this project on a roof in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and is currently looking for other rooftops on which to implement urban farms.